Clowns in the king’s court

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“The Filipino has been gifted with a funny bone which he conveniently tickles to tide the stresses and bitterness of life.

You saw it on television news, an unknown filer taking the long queue of the aspirants, signing all the spaces in the forms and after being stamped by Commission on Elections (Comelec), dramatically tears to pieces the certificate of candidacy (CoC) when given a chance at the media platform.

Imposing a P50,000 fine may discourage would-be filers from rendering the elections a mockery or of the processes insulted or even humored.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian in re-filing Senate Bill 911 which he filed in 2016 is serious with the electoral process that begins with the filing of CoC and fumes over such disrespect and wants to put into the election laws a heavy fine on the culprits. I guess the bill should see the light of day in the Omnibus Election Code.

The bill also penalizes those who wilfully cause confusion among voters by enlisting similar names of the registered candidates, or use the filing to obtain money or profit, or to commit any other acts that clearly shows that the candidate has no bona fide (in good faith) intention to run for office.

Of course, the Constitution provides for the equal opportunity for all qualified citizens to run for elected positions. But such right should be regulated and curbed if necessary as obviously we can see in this case.

Can the Comelec, for instance, not put a prima facie strainer to sift those who are ab initio incapable of sustaining a rational and sensible campaign. There is no discrimination here as one commissioner avers.

Otherwise, time and effort, resources including paper and ink of the Comelec or taxpayers’ money wouldn’t go down the drain.

A candidate whose mission to make every Filipino a Catholic, or constitute the Philippines as the 51st state of the United States, or a guy by the name and features of Archangel Lucifer, or a namesake of Alan Peter Cayetano or somebody who would connect to the extra-terrestrial beings when elected, or somebody who claims Jesus Christ as his mentor and financier or that guy dressed in bundeswehr (Hitler’s uniform) complete with the swastika — why allow such personalities to even make a first step on the door of the Comelec, much less to allow them to file.

“He simply cannot ingest such a mockery of the highest democratic process in our society.

In my column last Sunday, I painted a picture of how flawed our electoral processes have been for the past years, where non-traditional politics only has changed coatings but remains the same rotten peanut.

Of course, it begins with how flawed and rotten the filing of CoC is. It is a total disgrace for those politicians and other aspirants who are serious and committed to their political trek in public service. I couldn’t imagine the likes of reelectionist Sonny Angara or comebacking Sen. Jinggoy Estrada queueing next to Archangel Lucifer or Eli Pamatong!
Gatchalian is serious with his political career and his service to the public as his accomplishments in the Senate would prove. He simply cannot ingest such a mockery of the highest democratic process in our society.

With a heavy fine, these nuisances would think twice before taking the Comelec forms or the stage and humor their audience like stand up comedians making a mockery of our elections.

Yes, of course, the Filipino has been gifted with a funny bone which he conveniently tickles to tide the stresses and bitterness of life; but spare politics please, for it is a serious business.

For Gatchalian, it is time to disentangle Philippine political culture from the tag of fun, levity and entertainment.
Clowns or jesters belong to the king’s court, but we cannot allow clowns to be kings!

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