Election to me is just another theatrical presentation where actors and actresses, regardless how tight their friendships were, had to choose a role. Whether a villain or the protagonist. The artistic director gives the queue and everything gave their best to lure their audience into believing every character they portrayed. The curtain closes and everyone either gives a standing ovation or shrugged it off.
In an election however, it’s the actors and actresses that pays the audience not the other way around.

It was in 2002 when I first experience how a leading-lady on the stage bribed her audience to bear witness into this dramatic and theatrical conundrum called Sangguniang Kabataan. As part of the cast, I saw how they manipulated their audience into believing they can act. The artistic director being their family and the rest of the ensemble are young people who were brainwashed about public service, dedication and trust. I am no stranger to this ensemble.

When I was offered to join the team, I never bat an eyelash. I know that the leadership seminars I gained at school was good enough to prepare me for public service.

And then, the show time.

An hors de oeuvres was prepared hours before the primetime show. Audiences were collected in private vehicles to the grand chapiteau. They lined up like true gentleman in an opera house, sign the guest list and take the 500 peso bill. There are still a lot of seats to fill. The artistic director handed me with names near my place and was ordered I take them to the chapiteau. I was immovable. At that point, I already knew what’s going on. The show ended and my theatrical inclination died the same day.

I never looked back since. Not even during the elections that followed. Not even this year's grand showdown. For 14 years, I keep that finger free from indelible ink.

I am part of the 2.5 million Filipinos who will not vote this May 9 elections. Some due to technical and procedural reasons while mine was due to a very personal reason. I lost my trust in the system.

I love this country. But it would probably take time before I trust and build faith again on this russian roulette.

I look forward to meeting a cast whose real talent is world class and worth my audience.

Until then, I shall be closely watching every rehearsals and read every review from audiences who either pay or was paid to watch the grandest show on Philippine stage called Election.

photo credit: Rappler

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