Chaos and confusion marked the first day of the filing of certificates of candidacy at the Intramuros office of the Commission on Elections.
Comelec officials attributed these to changes they introduced to the process. Now there are separate rooms for the filing proper, and yet another room for the interview.
When the first two high-profile candidates filed their certificates at eight in the morning, and media representatives tried to take photos and videos and interview the candidates, no less than the Comelec chairman tried to come between the media and the candidates. The commission spokesperson said media did not follow instructions.
But the circus was not just because of missed cues. On the first day of the filing, 22 individuals of disparate backgrounds and temperament declared their intention to seek the highest post in the land. Some were dead serious; others were plain nuisances. And this was just the first day.
In other Comelec offices, candidates for other posts also started filing their certificates, ensuring that they got attention and mileage. Noticeable were the family members of incumbent officials about to max out their terms, offering themselves up selflessly to the demands of public service, much to the detriment of their personal and family lives.
Down south, a town mayor from Zamboanga Sibugay was gunned down by still-unidentified suspects on the first day of the filing, reminding that elections in the Philippines are not only a circus; they are also bloodsport.
“Chaotic” is the opposite of orderly, which is what we are all aiming for. An election can only be credible if it is orderly, and the results believable if the people who exercised their right to vote are sober and deliberate, not swayed by fanfare.
There’s a few days left, and then, heavens, the campaign, which will highlight more things about why we vote whom we vote for. It’s a noisy season that will be upon us, but if we despise so much where our governments, past and present, have led us, and then perhaps we should rethink the way we respond to their gimmickry, their violence, and their Messianic claims.