How many?

Published May 9, 2019, 12:23 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Jullie Y. Daza
Jullie Y. Daza

Tell me, dear reader, without consulting your notes or your newspaper, how many names can you recite off the top of your head as the ones you will shade on your ballot come election day?

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has 14 names on her team. There are also 14 on the list of El Shaddai’s Mike Velarde. Just being curious: Are those 28 names or the same 14?

I tried the name game and came up with only eight of my own, which was as far as I could go sans a memory guide. Two of the names belong to my idol and my friend, the remaining six being what I call educated choices because I tried to use my head in guessing how they might fare in the next Congress.

A younger member of the family will choose his candidates “not according to whom I like but whom I don’t like” and won’t be voting for. His older sister keeps reminding other people to “bring your codigo” to the polling precincts. Memory can play tricks on the best and brightest  of us, not to mention the oldest and fussiest.

With 98,000 soldiers and 149,000 cops, battalions of teachers and Comelec personnel and watchdogs deployed for election duty, is the colossal May 13 production going to be worth the sweat, blood and tears, the tension and suspicions? With 946 hotspots and countless election-related incidents of assassinations, ambushes, and attempted homicides writing the headlines and staring us in the face, will this show of shows that has been months in the making make us proud or hang our heads in shame?

The most opinionated observers are divided in their opinions. It’s an unexciting election or it’s a bitterly contested race. At the rate a new “survey” group is popping up every day, commissioned by nameless individuals and faceless entities, we might as well let all of them do the election count based on their usual universe of 1,200 to 1,800 respondents. With more than  20 such groups doing the work, they’d be able to produce 40,000 voter-respondents, give or take a few hundred, to decide the winners. Nice, neat, cheap, and bloodless!