Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Abnormally peaceful"

It's interesting how yesterday's election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao baffled many people. One Comelec official said it was "abnormally peaceful", hence it was an aberration. Despite the inevitable incident here and there, the election was unlike any other before simply because of the absence of bloodshed.

The answer to this conundrum, of course, lies in this fact: the unpeace in the ARMM during elections is usually the handiwork of political kingpins and warlords identified with whoever sits in Malacanang. And, if I were the president, I'd make sure that the ARMM election -- this showcase of what is so wrong with Philippine democracy -- held at a time when she is so embattled would be a showcase instead of what ordinary folks should expect from a democracy: peaceful (never mind honest) elections.

We might scoff sometimes at the words "peaceful" and "honest" elections so often mouthed by politicians but the two, indeed, go together. In the ARMM, as in anywhere else in this benighted land, a state of unpeace is a prerequisite for dishonesty during elections. It is no accident that the ARMM elections are the most violent -- because it is also the most dishonest. As the Garci tapes have indicated, it is in the ARMM areas that cheating -- massive, decisive cheating -- takes place every election time.

So, when you think about it, yesterday's election could be the most honest in the ARMM ever.

The thing is, the powers that be had always held the trigger that is the cause of so much violence in the ARMM. Nothing proves this more than the "abnormally peaceful" elections there yesterday.

Mark my word: the recent ARMM election is something the Comelec and President Arroyo would declare proudly as a "triumph of democracy and autonomy." Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, I can almost see it, would declare that the ARMM election disproves the notion that the Comelec is corrupt and incompetent.

It's a fucking setup, that's what this election is.


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