Judgment Day: Eleksyon 2013

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May 13, 2013. At exactly 7 am, registered voters will troop to their voting precincts to elect their next legislators and local government officials. The day that the tables are turned, when the power shifts – to the people. Every candidate is at the mercy of the voters, whether they would sit for another term or not, or serve for the next 3 years or not. May 13, 2013. Election day. A day in every 3 years that we are given the chance to forge our lives, and the lives of our fellow Filipinos as we elect the leaders of this country.

Politics, experience, The Senate and Nancy

The past few days numerous tweets, posts and news articles were circulating over the web about Nancy Binay. I’ll get to the point: people are contesting her candidacy because of her inexperience in the field of politics. To be fair, she has served in different non-government organizations and was her father’s and her mother’s personal assistant. To those who are attacking her, let me tell you that as a personal assistant of a mayor or a high ranking official, you are immersed, if not even involved with the affairs and decision making process of the particular person you are serving. It’s not fair to compare a PA of an actor/actress to a PA of a government official – those have two very different job descriptions, duties and responsibilities. But still,as her detractors may say, such experience is really not enough to warrant a position in the Senate. As a Congressman or even a Councilor, it may be enough, but as a Senator? I am one of those who think that you need more than that to be a Senator of this Republic.

Having said that, I also do not want to see Nancy Binay win. But I also believe that attacking her below the belt, is not fair and not just. Particularly the satirical articles in websites masquerading as news websites that directed against her. It seems poor taste for the authors of the website to that particularly that elections is tomorrow and surely, many readers will take the article as cold, hard truth. Some will surely misinterpret the intentions of such article. and instead of giving a breather to serious news, it would look like a political attack against the candidate. And to tell you the truth? In my opinion, the article is not ridiculing the person anymore, but discrediting and degrading her instead.

The best solution? Don’t vote for her if you don’t want her. Period.

Thrilla in Manila: Asiong vs. Dirty Harry

Tale of the Tape of "The Battle for Manila"

Tale of the Tape of “The Battle for Manila”

Meanwhile in the City of Manila, many are anticipating the finale of the battle between Former Pres. Erap “Asiong Salonga” Estrada and incumbent Mayor Alfredo “Dirty Harry” Lim, for the position of Mayor of the City. It’s quite fun and irritating to see two old men arguing, trading barbs and throwing mud at each other, instead of discussing issues and problems that is straddling the City now. Have you seen Estrada’s political ad? I think is stupid to accuse the present administration of corruption and inefficient management considering that his running mate, Isko Moreno, is part of that administration for so long. So how will solve the problem if he is part of the problem? Weird right?

Tomorrow, the people of Manila will decide who will lead them for another 3 years: Estrada or Lim? The decision will be known after the counting and canvassing of the votes.

Cash or check? Vote buying in the PH

Because of the COMELEC’s claim that the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) Machines is not vulnerable to hacking thus not susceptible to cheating (unlike what some computer experts claim) candidates are resorting to vote buying. Appealing to the Filipino’s sense of utang na loob, vote buying is one of the “effective way’ to ensure a win. I agree. And at the same time, disagree.

Perhaps in some families, this will happen. Since they (the candidates) gave them money to provide for the family, they will vote for that candidate thinking that they owe him or her for the ‘help’ they gave to the voter. But, some ‘entrepreneurial’ Filipinos, or wais ika-nga sa Tagalog, will accept and use the money, but still voting for their preferred candidates. Both are bad, but the latter is the lesser evil.

COMELEC tried to implement a resolution to curtail vote buying, by putting a ‘money ban’ or a restriction in withdrawing and carrying large amounts of money. While the intention is good, the consequences might be disastrous if implemented because it would harm businesses and the economy. Immediately the SC stepped in and implemented a status-quo ante order.

Can we stop vote buying? Not today I think. Until our voters are educated, vote buying will continue. Until there are still those people who are poor and cannot provide for their families, vote buying will still continue. And until there are politicians and candidates who take advantage of these people? There will still be vote buying.

Voting preferences: Who should you vote?

Charismatic. Handsome. Beautiful. Has ‘Sex Appeal.’ Are these the qualifications voters use to choose who they will vote? Apparently, yes, some does include these characteristics in their checklist. Sorry, but I can only say to you these words: Please, wag ka na lang bumoto. Masasayang lang ang boto mo sigurado.

Why not vote for someone who has ideals? Someone who has integrity, who is honest and trustworthy. Someone who has a vision, a dream for this country, and not for himself. Someone who is independent and has their own stand. Someone who has conviction to stand in what they believe in. Someone who is not a lackey that will follow the orders of those more powerful than them. Someone who is firm in their beliefs. Someone who stand behind the Filipino people.

Vote for those who fight for what is right, what is just and what is proper. Vote those who fight in strengthening the Filipino family and not ‘advocating’ policies to destroy it. Vote a candidate who believes in the strength, abilities, talents and capabilities of the Filipino.

Photo courtesy of GMA News' Dapat Tama advocacy.

Photo courtesy of GMA News’ Dapat Tama advocacy.

Bumoto ng kandidato na may nagawa, may ginagawa, at may gagawin pa. Suportahan yung kandidato na naniniwala na may pag-asa pa ang Pilipinas, at naniniwala na may pag-asa pa ang mga Pilipino. Bumoto ng TAMA. Dapat Tama!

It does not necessarily mean that you have to vote 12-0 or whatever crap that they are suggesting, just because THEY believe that those people will help their ‘tuwid na daan.‘ NO. Use your mind, think and analyze whether or not those you are voting will really help our country. Use your conscience. Vote not because someone dictated you to do so, but do it in your own will and conviction.

But most importantly, VOTE. Because your one vote can help make the changes we need. It will dictate the future of this country and its people.

Big 3 Networks’ election coverage

ABS-CBN News' Halalan 2013 coverage logo

ABS-CBN News’ Halalan 2013 coverage logo

On a personal note, I’m very excited to watch the election coverage of the news organizations of the three networks: GMA-7’s GMA News and Public Affairs, ABS-CBN’s ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs and TV5’s News5.

GMA News' Eleksyon 2013 coverage logo

GMA News’ Eleksyon 2013 coverage logo

I do hope they do a good job, presenting election news and information to the people truthfully, in a fair and balanced manner.  In the Service of the Filipino Worldwide, Walang Kinikilingan, Walang Pinoprotektahan, Walang Kasinungalingan, Walang Bahid Pulitika, Serbisyong Totoo Lang. 🙂

Truth, Lies and Flattery: Campaign ads

We are now on the middle of the campaign circus… I mean, period for the national candidates, senators and party-lists. We are on the verge of the local campaign period which will start on Black Saturday, March 30. But the reality is, the campaign period already started last 2012. In guise of “infomercials” and anniversary ads. And I quote, “Hanep na ang buhay!”

Delicadeza is a common word used before, during and after elections, but ironically,  seldom practiced. Is it not showing delicadeza by not releasing what they like to call infomercials but are really campaign ads? Is it not showing delicadeza not to run again if you are accused, been accused, and worse, convicted of criminal, civil, even election-related crimes committed against the people, pardoned or not? (I’m not going to include being accused of corruption because well, half or maybe more than half should not run if they have delicadeza. Sad truth.) Is it not showing delicadeza by respecting the vote of the people, instead of complaining, whining and crying out that you’ve been cheated? Well, I say, Filipinos are really familiar with the word. Many Filipino politicians meanwhile are also familiar with the word, but do not practice it.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) have reminded candidates that campaigning is prohibited tomorrow, Maundy Thursday and on Good Friday, to show respect and deference to the observance of Holy Week and as stated in Section 5 of Republic Act 7166. The Commission (@COMELEC) asks us netizens to report to them those who are illegally campaigning by using the hashtag #HuliWeek and #SumbongMo on Twitter. We should especially keep an eye on local candidates, which I’ve noticed as their campaign period looms, the number of illegal posters, streamers and leaflets are cropping everywhere, especially in Quezon City. And considering that their campaign period hasn’t even started yet.

Truth and Lies. Is what you really see, is what you get? Do what they say, what they do really reflect what kind of person, what kind of leader, what kind of public servant they are? Not always, especially not on their campaign ads.  We can’t deny that political names like Binay, Aquino, Estrada, Arroyo, Magasaysay, Enrile, and others still has a pull on the masses. Names of showbiz personalities like Revilla, Sotto and Estrada (again) are also very easy to be recalled in the minds of the people. But, I believe that a true leader and public servant is not measured by his family name and lineage, but by his achievements, accomplishments and actions. Continuing your parents advocacy and goals when they were in position is really an admirable and good goal, especially if these projects, laws and accomplishments really help the people. But, you can’t really continue anything, or something not when they haven’t started anything at all. Di ba Poe? On a different point, on the topic of eyesore TV ads, it is especially ridiculous to see the President and Risa Hontiveros in the ad where they “sing”  her supposed advocacies. And by all things holey, she even has the gall to appear as a guest in an entertainment show like Gandang Gabi Vice!! Is that really the right forum to share platforms and advocacy? Or she wants to be discovered and be an entertainer? One word: TRAPO. Do they really think that voters are stupid enough to fall for that?  Well, recent SWS survey results (which gladly she’s not in the top 12) say that perhaps, our voters are starting to be wise and educated.  (The “formula on political ads on this Rappler.com report.) To add, an ABS-CBN News report says that she and her fellow candidates in the administration and their allies are the top poster violators. If they are already violating laws and rules blatantly and they are not even elected, what more if they get elected? Quoting GMA News’ election advocacy, DAPAT TAMA, sa isip at sa salita, DAPAT TAMA lalung lalu na sa gawa.

A candidate must be measured by qualifications, by what he has done and what he will do when elected. That is why we can’t rely on ads to define who a candidate is, what his/her platforms are. Thankfully, television networks and their news departments set up senatorial forums and interviews where we voters can measure, gauge, and asses the candidates if they are  qualified in the post they are running for. It is up to us voters to be alert, wise and educated on who we vote for. We cannot always rely on others to act for us, we ourselves must act. Even in the simplest way, by watching forums, participating in discussions will help you be an educated voter. Stop complaining, and start acting. Let us not be apathetic to the state of the politics in the country.  Because as ABS-CBN’s BMPM says, “It takes a nation, to build a nation.”

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This post is part of News and Opinions’ participation in Eleksyon 2013

Next on News and Opinions’ Eleksyon 2013: Political Dynasties