THE Commission on Elections has described Philippine democracy as “vibrant” following the big number of persons who want to run for president. For the Comelec, the vibrancy of democracy is measured by the number of would-be candidates for the highest office of the land.
But days after heaping praise on our “vibrant” democracy, the Comelec has started to weed out the candidates it considers “nuisance” or who would make a mockery of the elections. If there’ll be fewer candidates, then Philippine democracy will be less vibrant. I say, let all those who are at least 40 years of age, natural born Filipinos, resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years and able to read and write run for president.
Who is the Comelec to decide who could run? Let the people decide, as the pro-democracy people would say. But what if the person to be elected is of questionable sanity (again)? I say, the mental state of the candidate should be a non-issue in an electoral contest. Who knows, majority of the voters might not even be of sound mind so in all probability, they’ll vote for a kindred soul. After all, in a democracy, the majority rules, right?
In 2010, an alleged adverse psychiatric evaluation report on then presidential candidate BS Aquino went the rounds. He and his minions merely shrugged off the report and he never acceded to demands that he undergo another psychiatric evaluation. So, why should the Comelec now change the rules of the game and evaluate the sanity of presidential candidates?
Years before martial law, there was a perennial presidential candidate named Pascual Racuyal. His sanity had been questioned time and again but the Comelec still allowed him to run. To counter such questions, Racuyal got a certification from the National Mental Hospital declaring him to be completely sane. He touted this certification everywhere he want during the campaign period but alas, it didn’t help him any in the polls.
We may have presidential candidates for 2016 who are completely sane, brilliant even, but of questionable integrity. Shouldn’t the Comelec disqualify such candidates also because they might bring the country to ruin? Are these candidates any worse than those whose sanity is being questioned?
Ah, but if the Comelec does this, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago might be the only one left, so there goes our “vibrant” democracy. But her health remains questionable despite her claims that she no longer has cancer. What if she wins and then, heaven forbid, she’ll die after her proclamation? So, those voting for her should do well in choosing their vice president.
While we are on candidates, there’s a big number of independent-minded and visionary senatorial aspirants who are most deserving of votes: reelectionists Ralph Recto and Ping Lacson, OFW champion Toots Ople, Green Warrior Migz Zubiri, Rafael Alunan who’s one of the best-ever DILG heads, and Ramon Montano whose leadership is one of the shining moments of the Philippine National Police.
One of my favorite senators, two-termer Pia Cayetano, is running in the second district of Taguig. She’s one of the hardest-working senators and I know she’ll keep her work ethics in the House should she win against her reelectionist rival.
Oh yes, among the returning politicians are former Sen. Tessie Aquino Oreta who’s seeking to represent Malabon in the House. She held this post from 1987 to 1998, highlighted by her becoming the first female assistant majority leader of the chamber. Another come-backing politician is Roilo Golez who wants to regain his old post in Paranaque.
‘Lando’ sidelines politics
For the past several days, devastation wrought by Typhoon Lando has kept politics by the wayside. Among the most devastated is my home province, Nueva Ecija. Novo Ecijanos should thank President Aquino for taking the time to visit Cabanatuan City and distribute relief goods. We hope government efforts to provide relief and rehabilitation service in the province would be sustained.
My hometown, Lupao, wasn’t flooded, unlike other towns in the province, including Gapan, the hometown of Times Senior Reporter Joel Egco. However, unlike Gapan which is one of the most prosperous in Nueva Ecija, Lupao is one of the poorest so it would take a |longer time for farmers, including me, to recover. Our harvest of palay will definitely go down and coupled with the low price of our produce, we don’t expect to keep our heads above \water.
Many places will be declared in a state of calamity. Oh, if we could only declare some officials as a national calamity!