THIS column would have talked about HOPE or honest, orderly, peaceful elections but that is trite and we know it ain’t, so what can we expect in the next 90 days? First and foremost, surveys will frame the timelines. Pulse Asia picks more urban spots while SWS has relatively proportionate spots in urban and rural areas. The manner the questions are asked, the news cycle that acts as a multiplier to a candidate and the spots determine the differences in readings.
Second, the Supreme Court has to speed up its oral arguments or else candidate Poe will have a decided advantage and that has been the strategy of her campaign: a free ride in media via the foundling and residency issues, and now we have the specter that the SC oral arguments are riding the news cycle. It has been said time and time again, that no presidential candidate has used, milked and pulped such lack of requirements to her advantage.
Why should voters and the country suffer from misleading representations by Poe? Why are we wasting taxpayers money to get her over the hump? Yes, it is her right, but the bigger interest will have to take shape—we have a candidate who is not honest. A presidential candidate who comes to offer herself needs to comply with the requirements. Basic. Why are we making an exception? And not being honest in thinking of God and country?
Third, the contents of the 17 month offensive in 25 Senate hearings against the Vice President is now part and parcel of the campaign flavors, a narrative written to erode a lead and to further melt the gain by starting line. The alleged becomes convicted. Not answering becomes a judgment that further paints a dodger. This despite a personal storyline that only “bobotantes” can appreciate. Sad.
Fourth, we have the candidate of the Administration, Roxas. Mar’s biggest rival is not running. They are the voters themselves. The people’s frustrations over Tuwid na Daan. Just the 3–million backlog of LTO on plates alone makes people mad. This does not take into consideration delayed licenses for over a year. Someone said that it takes that long to add yellow to the licenses! And worse, Filipinos pay for delayed service. In fact, they will have to continue paying even if they don’t get the license or the plates. That’s how bad it is.
And those of you who have been following the pre-campaign activities with laser sharp eyes, would know that Tuwid na Daan or Straight Path, is now Daang Matuwid or Right Path. Play of words? Or a conscious effort to, as Roxas said, “Kung may mali, itatama. Kung may kulang, pupunuan”? Set aside is the other twin mantra, “Kung walang korap, walang mahirap.” Why? Basic. There is corruption and there is poverty. In fact, the level of corruption per Transparency International, averages out but poverty has been compounded. At 26 percent poverty threshold, the highest among Asean countries, that is scandalous as Dr. Bernie Villegas often said. The other side of the proverbial coin is what another economist said in 2011, on the “inequality” of growth. Former NEDA Chief Ciel Habito said, “the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.”
Fifth, we have the kissing bandit in Duterte, who seems to have captured Metro Manila and got applauded much at the start. Today, he says the right things that need to be done in a shocking way so voters tend to twitch the jagged edges when he drops his plans. Let us see if the plans will pan out as it is placed under the microscope by experts. May 2016 will be a test whether we can have a women’s vote or not. And observers are saying that can be because of Digong.
Sixth, the fire and brimstone has not been felt with Sen. Mirriam Defensor-Santago being sidelined for health reasons. Would the warrior in her rise and do a last battle? Would she withdraw? Would she endorse?
At the starting line we will see who is a sprinter and who is a distance runner. Who can cleanly cross the hurdles and who has fortitude to bristle off the opponent. Playing by the rules won’t be the order of things. It has never been since Day 1. But some candidates are forgetting the most important player onstage: the voters.
Psychographic studies have shown that Filipino voters are very personal (not individualistic) and thus regionalistic. They listen to family and peers when it comes to endorsements. They want to see, touch and feel a candidate. They give importance to national candidates who visit their area. Know your voters, they are definitely not “bobotantes.”
Why do we vote? So we can tell people we voted, as Freakonomics would say. Seriously, voting is a right and a duty of every citizen. By voting, one can criticize, question, suggest, recommend and the like. Voting also allows the selection of a representative who would theoretically fight for the voter’s concerns and issues. “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
Why do we vote? We vote because what is at stake is our next six years. It is our future. So go out and vote. Engage with candidates. Learn their platforms. Vote for the candidate who least promises the moon and the stars.
Now, it is another thing to get your votes counted, right PCOS? Let’s get those four security features up and running, Comelec, and let not the voters without biometrics remain in the pool for operations.