Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Philippines in Slashdot

samzenpus submitted to Slashdot the COMELEC's challenge to hackers to test the proposed internet voting system.

among the comments from the slashdot crowd, I want to quote this from goldcd responding to a post by circletimessquare (444983) that said:
"the philippines is famous for handing out wads of cash to the poor to get them to vote a certain way come elections 200 peso notes famously become scarce before elections no need to hack the system to alter the vote, just keep buying the votes the philippines is a beautiful land, with beautiful people... and a corrupt political establishment, it's a sad commentary on corruption the philippines, the vote buying"
goldcd responded:
"But surely all elections are bought to some degree as people vote in their own self-interest.

Whether that self-interest is 200 Pesos thrust into their hand as they walk into the booth, or 200 Pesos less tax paid due to new tax system voted in doesn't make much difference.

Actually the more I think about it - In the Phillippines the cash seems to be given to you by the politician if you promise to vote for them. In the 'democratic West',we get nothing for our vote apart from the promise from the politician. Personally I'd prefer to see the cash in my hand, rather than a promise."
I can see goldcd's point, and actually agree with him in theory. But as a Filipino, I have seen what actual vote buying can lead to:
  1. Dehumanization, because you are literally bought by the politician
  2. Violence, because of the competition for votes by different faction leads to friction
  3. Apathy, because as politicians buy votes, people get the feeling that they cannot change society as they can never win
  4. Blaming the victims, where middle class Filipinos blame the "masa" or poor Filipinos who sell their votes. This also let the middle class Filipinos feel superior to the masa
  5. Entitlement, the politicians who buy votes get the feeling that they are entitled to do anything they want while in office
  6. Sloth, the politicians, because they actually know that they did not deserve the position they got does not exert any effort to actually do their jobs
All elections may be "bought" but buying into promises is better than buying into cash.

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