The big news in the Philippines is that, contrary to predictions, the united Genuine opposition seems to be winning a lot of Congressional seats.

Out of the top twelve, eight are from the GO, and two are independent (including one politician under indictment for last year’s attempted coup). Only two are from the Government’s party. Right now, everyone is waiting for someone to find “lost” boxes of ballots full of pro government votes, and that some politicians will fund tens of thousands of votes “lost” between the local count and the certified count.
Due to local violence, a lot of police chiefs here in Central Luzon were replaced, and we had soldiers monitoring the polls.

According to one poll most people still trust the military to be neutral, and most people do trust those counting the ballots, who are mainly teachers.
But there are problems, and everyone is a bit distrustful of the results. Two years ago we saw farmer’s money used to fund elections, politicians discussing ballot box stuffing (“hello garci”), burning down buildings full of ballots., So this year we are wondering if last minute ballot boxes full of pro government votes that will turn up.

But this does not mean democracy is dead. Indeed, despite pot shots and irregularities, it is alive and well.

The bad news is that most of the clans continue to rule. Oh well.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines.

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