Saturday, April 21, 2007

who deserves the evil eye?

HARD TO FACE a problem, indeed, when the problem is a politician's face in a prohibited campaign poster. In Cebu, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) might as well be seeing ghosts while rolling its eyeballs at the election litter all over.

Hair-raising, thus groans my recent column in the opinion page of Sun.Star Cebu (17 April 2007 issue) :

Zooming in on zombies

Horror wears a happy face. Worse, it’s sticking its tongue out at the Commission on Elections, leaving it dazed in the dark and in dire need of a sixth sense.

“There’s evidence all over, but no suspects in sight.” Thus declares the headline in one of this paper’s reports last Sunday.

About the abomination of campaign posters placed illegally, the report would have been more terrific (if not terrifying) to the tune of spine-crunching sound effects worthy of a whodunit.

Who’s giving Comelec a black eye? Who’s winking at the voters now besieged with photogenic attempts at peek-a-boo?

How to determine who really placed the posters is Comelec’s nightmare. “It’s difficult because a rival camp can paste the other’s posters illegally,” explains a Comelec officer.

Would there be a ghost of a chance for Comelec to exorcise the omnipresence of prohibited posters stuck on trees, along the streets and main thoroughfares, on bridges, public structures or buildings, electric posts or wires, schools, and shrines?

Are graveyards not included? There might be campaign posters stuck somewhere there, too. Not on someone else’s tombstone, hopefully.

Meanwhile, some candidates smile.

It’s a wonderful world, indeed, where the Comelec is facing a blank wall while searching for witnesses who’d dare look the devil in the eye.

Unless somebody complains and comes out in open “against those who place posters outside designated areas,” Comelec might as well be blind, deaf, and mute. No way it can prosecute, unless it gets lucky and catches someone flouting its regulations red-handed.

Mean and whiling away the leeway of the law, some candidates can only flaunt a prelude to their proclivity for sidestepping the line between right and wrong soon after they’re voted into power.

Dead malice, anyone?

In the face of these delinquent candidates with their helter-skelter hunger to be the apple of the electorate’s eyes, any voter worth his jaundice is pretty justified to see skulls and crossed bones instead.

Or, better yet, be imaginative enough to behold the errant posters as if Oscar Wilde were back from the graves with updated variations on The Picture of Dorian Gray. (In that novel, darkness was made visible in the image of the protagonist whose corruption left its hideous marks in his portrait.)

As much as we yearn to see politicians in a new light, sorry, there’s just no blinking away the enduring ubiquity of blight.

Bless, therefore, some vandals that voters ought to shake hands with. There’s beauty and grace in graffiti, yes, when these designers of disfigure would render an animated mural of clowns and circus freaks out of the faces from those posters. The more offensive, the better. Enough, yes, for Dracula’s laughter.

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