Guns, goons, and gold” is a catchphrase often used to describe the use of violence and vote-buying in elections. Not surprisingly, the phrase appears to have originated in the Philippines, most notably during the 1969 national elections and was quickly picked up and popularized by local and foreign media and even show business. National Artist Nick Joaquin, in an article in the now-defunct Philippines Free Press, writes that Ferdinand Marcos Sr., then gunning for unprecedented re-election, decided to “leave nothing to chance” and embarked on a campaign, despite his excess of advantages over his opponents, marked by the “Three Gs.” Significantly, it was alleged that Marcos Sr. used the military and the government bureaucracy in his pursuit of a second term which would be followed, in turn, by the declaration of martial law in 1972. Are the three Gs back in commission?
Aside from the Tallano gold of dubious provenance being promised to voters by some campaign leaders, netizens have posted pictures and video clips showing the distribution of meal stubs, food packages, and even cash to rally-goers in certain campaign groups while hundreds of rented buses are on standby to ferry them to and from the rally sites. While concerned citizens have raised howls of protest over the return of dirty tactics and outright vote-buying in elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the body most concerned with ensuring free, orderly, and honest elections, seems to be looking the other way, issuing denials or gentle remonstrations against violators. Similarly, the police even prematurely dis- missed as “not election-related” violent incidents on the campaign trail, like the recent shooting that targeted a meeting between presidential candidate/labour leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman and leaders and members of the Manobo-Pulangihon tribe. The indigenous people were trying to occupy a portion of a plantation in Quezon town in Bukidnon that, they claim, had been part of their ancestral domain. According to a police report, shortly after noon, gunmen fired on the group which included De Guzman, two of his party’s senatorial candidates, and the tribe members. The first volley of gunfire hit farmer organizer Nannie Abela who was standing a foot away from De Guzman. Also wounded were four tribal members who were brought to a local hospital for treatment. By the time the police arrived, the gunmen had fled, although police now say they have identified several suspects but have yet to make arrests. Both De Guz- man and his running mate, Walden Bello, have accused Quezon Mayor Pablo Lorenzo III, the general manager of the development corporation that occupies the lot, of fielding the armed bodyguards. Lorenzo denied this.