The common problems that characterize our elections (only in the Philippines)

Last January 23 (almost three Sundays ago as of this writing), I was the featured host of our weekly AFP Radio afternoon show Voice of the Teachers Radio. Just to tell you all, my suggestion that I take over the host for the week (who was not available at that time due to an emergency) was a last-minute decision which forced me to think hard about the topic I wanted to share with viewers here and abroad.
What is the topic, then? Is it something hot nowadays?
Yes, Virginia, voter’s education it is!
Here is the link to the full episode in case you want to watch our special practical voter education episode:
Elections in the Philippines are generally rigmaroles. The forthcoming election has been considered a virtual circus due to the antics of a very combative, choleric clown by the name of Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who has retired as of February 2 (as of this writing, the feisty Joan of Arc wannabe has just retired from the Commission on Elections [COMELEC]). To add insult to injury, what gets the goat of many of us is this: Atty. Guanzon’s loose-lipped biases against a particular candidate, which she was not supposed to trumpet in the first place. No wonder that many people (including this author) have been happy for she has beat it from the COMELEC. Honestly, if spokesperson James Jimenez were to proceed with his resignation immediately, I would jump for joy and declare victory for Jimenez has not done his job well.
We cannot fathom why many of our candidates and most of our election officials tend to act like rapacious coyotes out to pounce on their respective preys: candidates’ prey are their rivals and other naysayers; officials’ victims, the candidates whom they deplore with much deep-seated vitriol and overt aspersion.
Muckraking, logical fallacies, grandstanding, and political whoring have been the orders of the day during every election period especially during the time when internet and social media came about. To rub salt on a festering wound, these are also prevalent even during non-election periods. Gone are the days when politicians were not called traditional politicians- pejoratively dubbed as trapo- but public servants who work for the common good and nip their grandstanding in the bud as to prevent gossip and further mayhem. Also gone are the days when debates were battles of the brains and not battles of the bullies or of the social big shots.
If we wonder why our elections in the Philippines are characterized by popularity and hilarity, let us all think again.
What are the common problems that characterize our current election period, then? These are the ten common problems:
1.ONLINE (AND OFFLINE) CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. Such a problem has been long-standing for as long as one can remember. Character assassination comes in many forms: rumor-mongering, washing of others’ dirty linens in public, accusing others (falsely or otherwise) of crimes and other dastardly and immoral acts, bashing candidates and their supporters, and imputing that certain candidates are incompetent or unfit. Character assassination is not only immature but also insipid and ignoramus and it can render one guilty of libel or cyber-libel in case one is not too careful. For character assassins, calumny is the name and propaganda is the game.
2.CLAIMING OF CREDIT THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR OTHERS. This is a mortal sin especially among many traditional politicians who tend to be elitist in creed and in deed. I can only grimace and surmise that their values are found right under their crotches. Credit grabbing not only erodes others’ confidence but also gainsays others’ efforts at truly building rapport, trust, and honesty with the people whom they serve.
3.BROADCAST JOURNALISTS’ DELIBERATE INSULTING OF CANDIDATES’ INTELLIGENCE. I can only think of so many and many of these broadcast journalists (except for a few who remain composed, impartial, and courteous) have the gall to tweak their questions and their questioning styles depending on the candidates with whom they interact. These broadcasters’ tone of voice, body language, diction, and hosting styles reek of bias, vituperation, and maleficence.
4.MAINSTREAM MEDIA FAVORING CANDIDATES WHILE PINNING OTHERS DOWN. Related to number three, biased media practitioners and media outfits raise hell whenever they treat some candidates with contempt and act as if they are casting malediction upon them. Media outfits are supposed to be disinterested and research-oriented in writing and reporting about events of public interest. No one would be amazed if there would be more and more biased media practitioners would be in Dutch, especially on social media.
5.GRANDSTANDING AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR SUFFERING COMPATRIOTS. Yes, there are many of them. Particularly guilty of this are those candidates, especially the trapos, on the other side of the fence. There are some candidates who boast of their projects and some of these candidates tend to humble brag while others are more vocal.
6.FILING DISQUALIFICATION CASES AGAINST A CANDIDATE OUT OF HATE. One particular example is the situation involving our lakay Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., also known widely and affectionately as Bongbong. Those who have filed disqualification cases have nothing but spite and vituperation in their hearts and minds.
7.RIDICULING OR OSTRACIZING PEOPLE WHOSE POLITICAL BELIEFS ARE RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE STATUS QUO. This happens both online and offline. Especially online. Those who unfriend and unfollow their friends on social media due to differences in political beliefs are utterly impish and immature. The same applies to others who ostracize people who choose candidates who are “less than ideal”.
8.OPENLY CAMPAIGNING FOR A SET OF CANDIDATES EVEN IF ONE IS PROHIBITED FROM DOING SO. Oh yes, this applies to people sworn to impartiality, such as media practitioners, civil servants, and others. There is nothing wrong with rooting for a candidate of one’s choice. Openly promoting a candidate then being unwittingly (or wittingly) biased is a different story altogether.
9.CRITICIZING FELLOW CANDIDATES OPENLY AND INTENTIONALLY. Many candidates are guilty of this. One of these candidates is a holier-than-thou aspirant who has turned out to be an expert on subtle political malediction. Another candidate is one who is after the head of the current chief executive even if this candidate is widely known for his transgressions against the state. Other candidates tend to unravel their latent crab mentality not just through their words but also through their actions.
10.5G: GUNS, GOONS, GOLD, GUILT TRIPPING, AND GLORIFYING GREED. Such have been worse, post-People Power. Elitists may have come and go but whenever they run for political positions, they wreak havoc and reek of redolent avarice, not to mention possessing unbridled discrimination against the masses (while purporting to be their savior, and a false one at that, to be blunt about it).
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the common election-related problems! These will remain for long unless we citizens get off our high horses and fight for what is right, just, and beneficial to all.
It’s time that we think of our country’s future because doing so will redound to our success as Filipinos and liberation from the shackles of divisiveness and vindictiveness!

GUESS WHAT: Raking one over the coals, throwing hissy fits, and hurling invectives are the little-known trademarks of this filmmaker. Our subject would insult bit players whenever the hapless extras would not get their scenes right (the extras in question felt eerie around the filmmaker). My source, a production crew member, revealed that in one of the filmmaker’s productions, our subject gave several bit players a dressing down. The auteur even had the temerity to slap one of them for not executing a given scene. Despite having much success during his/her lifetime, the director had some people holding a grudge against him/her for being more ornery than a fishwife. One reason that could be attributed to our subject’s less-than-desirable deportment is the chronic condition that our subject suffered from.
What are the lessons of this story? Never let anger overshadow talent. Treat the cast and crew with equal respect and compassion. Talent is nothing without values. Criticize privately but praise publicly.
GUESS WHO: This highly regarded educator seems to be suffering from a split personality. Our subject, who is also known in other industries, is also a public speaker and would go places pre-pandemic. According to my source, who is also a public speaker, the educationalist was in a speaking engagement when several members of the audience- who happened to be students- were caught chatting with one another. Lo and behold, our subject lashed out at the unruly audience members. As a result, my source and some others who witnessed the mini fracas were repelled by our subject’s unprofessional act. Years later, karma set in when our subject suffered from several life upheavals. Despite what have happened, our subject still remains as hubristic as ever.
What are the lessons from this story? Never ever berate people for not listening to you; instead, remind them gently. Extreme egotism is a silent killer when you forget that boasting of your credentials at the expense of others’ sensitivities causes mayhem. Make your audiences inspired and happy, not bored to death. Remember that people have feelings, too, and thus do not deserve to be intimidated by your achievements.

If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to or to and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email.