>> Tuesday, May 29, 2007
All over but the sourgraping
As the Commission on Elections is proclaiming left and right winning candidates, some if not most of the losers are whining. They are complaining if being cheated. It’s nearly two weeks after the elections but in many places, the electoral body has yet to proclaim the winners. But this is not confined only to rural areas. Even in Muntinlupa, the Comelec hasn’t yet proclaimed the winners in the mayoral race as of presstime. And to think the area is within the coujntry’s capital.
But then, in many parts of the country, local elections are finally drawing to a close. Proclamations are delayed for three reasons: violence, poll frauds, and the refusal of certain candidates to accept defeat. In some cases, there are valid reasons for the protesting candidates to cry fraud and refuse to concede. But other losers simply want to make life miserable for their political rivals.
This refusal to accept defeat, often lasting long after the election season is over and the winner has assumed office, has been a major hindrance to effective governance. The delivery of basic services suffers when local executives are distracted by the extension of election battles.
By this time there are enough indications of where the vote has been rigged and the real winners have been robbed of their mandate, and which candidates simply can’t take defeat. The country has enough problems without sore losers derailing the proclamations of their rivals. Local officials have a term of only three years, and those whose victories are not tainted by cheating should be allowed to serve their constituents in peace.
If these losers do not have the grace to accept defeat, the Comelec and the courts can prevent them from creating trouble for the winners. This can be done by resolving pre-proclamation protests quickly and throwing out frivolous requests for temporary retraining orders. In every race, there is a winner and a loser. All candidates should accept this fact before entering an electoral contest.
The losers should take the example set by two candidates for the town council in Bontoc, Mountain Province who tossed a coin to determine the winner since they had a tie. This is legal under Comelec rules and the sore losers should be more sportsmanlike and accept defeat graciously unless they were indeed cheated.