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Philippines 2010 Election - It Worked!

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In retrospect, I have to say I was quite impressed with the Philippine election. There had been a lot of hand wringing and nay saying going on. Projections of massive failure, probable fraud, GMA instituting martial law, and everything going to heck in a hand basket.

Instead, it was pretty quiet, the new machines worked fairly well, Ninoy won by a pretty substantial majority, GMA has not instituted martial law and everything may end up going to heck in a hand basket anyway, but not due to the election process.

There was some violence, but I think it was tied to local politics, not national. Mayors, Barangay Captains, and so forth are hotly contested positions. Money changes hands, much like Chicago or New York City politics in the old days. What I found refreshing was that usually, the poorer folks happily take money from either candidate for whatever local position and then vote for whomever they want. Nice. It is trickle down economics at work, so if you were from the USA and had a Republican tilt, you'd be well pleased.

I only heard of one family member that changed their vote due to a bribe. Everyone else voted their conscience and/or preference. The money was just one of those all-too-rare windfalls that arrives in time to buy school clothes or help with tuition.

So, as an outsider, not particularly involved or rooting for one side or the other, I thought it went pretty darn well. The only thing that kind of surprised me was how many folks voted for Erap again. People, and I mean the masses, often complain about corruption. But then to re-elect a convicted politician a second time, would have been a sad message. Actually bad enough he came in second.

Let's see, we now have an Aquino (son) in the palace and Marcos (son) in the Senate. How the worm turns. Even Imelda is in office again. Marikina City must be celebrating big time!

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Yes, in Cebu it was very quiet, many shops closed. No problems at all.

One coming, one be in a political good position, you must be Christian orientated, a person who fits American values, and you must be very rich...

Arroyo was the daughter of a former president, Ninoy Aquino is the son of a former president, who became only the president, because her husband, deeply into politics, was killed.

The election result is therefore the same, with or without vote buying, with or without defective counting machines...

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Yohan, I can follow the part about being "Christian oriented" here. I think that is true enough. But the part about fits "American values" leaves me more than a little puzzled. Do you mean American values in the sense of capitalism? While the USA is a prime supporter of that economic model, the British and Europeans were its early developers.

If you mean the effect of American culture on the Philippines or the world in general, I guess I could agree, though the effect of Spain and the peculiar Spanish Catholic church had a much longer and deeper effect than the fifty years that the USA purportedly ran the place. It might be worthwhile to recall that the Filipinos were electing representatives from 1907 and really took over much of the government from 1916 onward. Yes, the US had oversight, but it was mostly a Filipino ran place.

Even with the military bases here, the US had only so much influence. Yeah, Marcos. And after him, they tossed us out. Interestingly, we almost left prior to WWII due to demands for higher payment. The US military considered the Philippines problematic to defend. (Well, most of the US military except for Douglas MacArthur.)

And poor men or women rarely win elections anywhere. That is the nature of the beast. I don't know the machines were all that defective once they got the kinks worked out. A last minute dash to get good memory cards in them and it went pretty well. Yeah, some wanted a parallel count, but I can see little reason for it. All that would do is allow the same sort of "count buying" that occurred previously and then they could claim the machines were "wrong" and throw the whole thing into a recount that could be bought by the highest bidder.

If they were going to do anything to reassure the public or the international community as to the validity of the count, it would be selected recounts and inspections of ballots and counting machines to see if there were any real discrepancies. But not a whole "parallel count". To me that is ludicrous.

The Philippines gets the sort of the government the people want or are at least willing to tolerate. For all the comments I've heard from Filipinos about corruption here and how it needs to end, Erap got second place after being convicted of corruption. What message is that? If Ninoy's mother hadn't died recently, Erap might have got back in power. Which would have been the perfect answer to any reformer.

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