Piss on the Covenant - CT

Last Sunday, after hearing Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, most local candidates (Congressman Joseph Santiago sent his chief of staff joined the signing of their covenant at Plaza Rizal in Virac.

The covenant is intended to assure constituents that Catanduanes will have honest and peaceful automated elections in May.

By signing the covenant under the eyes of the Commission on Elections, the Roman Catholic Church, the PNP and voters who took time to linger at the plaza, the candidates vowed neither to bribe the voters with money, directly or indirectly, nor intimidate them through violence or threat.

To their fellow candidates, they also pledged to conduct the campaign by law and in the spirit of friendly rivalry, address issues and avoid character assassination. Apart from their promise not to maintain private armed groups, those present pledged not to pay for permit-to-campaign cards of the enemies of the state.

In contrast to a similar covenant in Pasay City, the Plaza Rizal document did not contain the proviso that held the candidate to legally disqualify themselves to continue their candidacies under the principle "the act of the subordinate is the act of the principal" should any of their supporters or security personnel be found violating Comelec rules. The organizers perhaps thought it was too much to ask this of our candidates.

By and large, Sunday’s exercise hopes to put the fear of God into and at the same time shame local candidates into conducting really clean elections. But the likelihood of majority of our aspiring public servants following the rules in May would be as rare as heavy rain in this El NiƱo summer.

Our candidates are of two types: those who will follow the rules, either because their conscience says so or they don’t have the resources, and those whose desire to win allows their conscience to succumb to what the voters want. Our voters are mostly of one type: the one who knows his vote is valuable and intends to get something, anything, for it.

To them, the candidates’ covenant would be a ‘promising’ document, good enough to be reproduced by the thousands for posting in public places all over the island. But it won’t be so in the last few days leading to May 10, 2010, when, by their very act of selling and buying votes to the tacit consent of the authorities, majority of voters and candidates collectively urinate on this fine piece of paper.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 03 March 2010

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