EDITORIAL - Sore losers

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In record time, the Commission on Elections proclaimed the other day nine of the 12 candidates who have won Senate seats. The nine, whose votes were tallied from precincts all over the country, are from different political parties. Neither the candidates nor their parties are complaining about electronic cheating, missing flash cards, disenfranchisement of their supporters, and human or mechanical errors.

Comelec officials have also proclaimed most of the winners in the local races. In the presidential race, the two candidates who were rumored before the elections to become the beneficiaries of an administration-engineered “automated Garci” - Sen. Manuel Villar and former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro - were the first to concede to Sen. Benigno Aquino III, whose wide winning margin was announced by Comelec Chairman Jose Melo. Aquino also emerged the winner in exit polls conducted by both Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay coming out as the likely winner, although by a narrower margin, in the vice-presidential race.
A day after the elections, the verdict was out: poll automation, despite glitches, was a success. Several foreign governments and international observers congratulated the country and the Comelec. The equally unprecedented gracious concession of Villar and Teodoro, together with the rapid proclamation of local candidates, contributed to post-election stability.

But old habits die hard, and certain quarters - mainly losing camps - are threatening to create trouble by using the smallest glitch to stop their rivals from assuming office. As the long wait to vote showed, the country’s experiment with poll automation was not perfect. The Comelec admitted human error and mechanical glitches in tallying. Violence and vote buying marred the process in some areas. The congressional calendar for canvassing is also out of sync with the digital age.
Every problem must be examined to prevent a repeat in the next elections. Candidates who are losing by narrow margins also have a right to keep the vote tally under close scrutiny. But accusations of cheating and questions about the credibility of the vote must be backed by evidence. Speaker Prospero Nograles, who has lost to his political nemesis in Davao, is threatening to conduct a House audit of the vote. The congressional canvassing cannot be prolonged for personal motives.
Without evidence, complaints of cheating are nothing but sour grapes. Sore losers are showing why they didn’t deserve to win in the first place.



source: (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)

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