Fears over election rigging are not unfounded
Once again, teachers — whom former senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. described as “the collective conscience of the nation” — are called upon to serve in the elections.
On May 9, they will serve as guardians of the ballots as the Commission on Elections deputizes them as either chairpersons or poll clerks in the board of election inspectors.
Keen observers of political goings-on noted the closeness of the electoral fight that some quarters are apprehensive that there might be attempts of some candidates and their cohorts to rig the polls.
It is feared that there will be a repeat of what happened in the snap presidential election of February 1986 when the party in power tried to buy off the teachers in an effort to ensure its victory.
Is the fear unfounded? Not really. Talks have been circulating that moneyed and well-connected candidates are now trying to influence the election results through the distribution of grease money.
News reports have it that in two vote-rich provinces, one in Central Luzon and the other in the Southern Tagalog region, well-off candidates through their field campaigners are already active in doling out money that will make certain candidates win, thereby making a mockery of the electoral process.
Since teachers are the ones manning the poll precincts, it is not far-fetched that poll manipulators will bribe them to commit hocus-pocus at the precinct level.
But these manipulators are mistaken. If the 1986 presidential fight be a gauge, the teachers will fight off attempts of such nature. In that 1986 election, the teachers nipped the bribery in the bud by timely exposing the evil deed, thereby proving that they are indeed the collective conscience of the nation.
That heroic act of the teachers was a banner story in two daily newspapers. Will not history repeat itself? Or to stretch our imagination, will there be another people power?
As the saying goes, only the event can teach in its hour.
EUSEBIO S. SAN DIEGO
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