Tomorrow’s national election may be the country’s most controversial, jampacked, and very personal election since the Snap Elections in the 80’s. On top of the so many issues hurled to almost all candidates: death squad, rape, bank accounts, citizenship, corruption, cancer, incapacity to perform to several national issues such as Yolanda and MRT/traffic, what struck to me the most is the polarizing effect of each candidate to families, friends, officemates, and even significant ones. Ultimately, this has become a real test of friendship and relationship especially when almost all candidates resort to social media to raise their own issues.
I, myself, had experienced this the past few months. To the point of unfollowing several friends and colleagues that can be so egotistical, elitist, and just pain in the eyes to read. Though I must admit that during the last stretch of the campaign period I was also guilty of flooding my own timeline just to raise a point. I guess it also tested my maturity, or the lack thereof. This election, in fact, may have brought the best and the worse in most passionate supporters of all candidates.
I had the chance to discuss several issues with several friends regarding my choice of president. Yes, since the start, I was leaning towards Rodrigo Duterte even during the time when the hype of the Duterteserye was in an all time high. But after watching him go from bad to worse during his speeches, I’ve had second thoughts. Just like what others were thinking, I thought: is he the one who can best represent the Philippines internationally? Maybe not. Actually a resounding NO!
Then there’s Grace Poe who I thought was the most sincere candidate this election. Yes she might lack experience (but PNoy also did way back in 2010). But I always think of the presidency as a learning process. Depending on how real your intentions are, you cannot be 100% ready for this. My only concerns are her citizenship, residency, and her choice of affiliations. Yes the Supreme Court had decided on her citizenship issue, but I also know for a fact that here in our country, any decision can be easily overturned so long as you have the numbers. And I don’t want to take the risk of giving the position to the Vice-President. Not another PGMA please.
I hate to admit this, but Mar Roxas is one of the best candidates this year when it comes to qualifications. His strength is him being a good strategist when it comes to the economy. But he’s really lacking in the implementation department. Strategies are only as good as any idea there is but will be useless if you can’t implement. And this shows on how he handles several issues: Yolanda, MRT, traffic, and even his questionable alliances (insert Butch Abad and Jun Abaya). In my opinion he can be a good president in an ideal world. But the Philippines is far from being ideal, at least we’re still far from it. And he needs to understand that not all ideal solutions are applicable at the grassroots level. He needs to be flexible with his proposed actions and need to consider all stakeholders.
And then there’s Miriam Santiago. I still believe she would have been the best president the Philippines never had. The classic example of the one that got away… thank you Fidel Ramos. My only concern, yes this would be really unfair, is her cancer. I really don’t buy her press release that the cancer is gone. My nanay died from pancreatic cancer and my dad may be suffering from lung cancer. Based on our experience, it’s not really that simple. Or I maybe wrong. But same as my concern with Poe, I don’t want to take the risk and getting disappointed after. I don’t blame those who would vote for her. I actually admire their passion towards her. I just wish I have that same passion now. In 2004, I voted for Raul Roco even after knowing of his illness. I was thinking, at least I voted for whom I think is right. He eventually lost the presidency and to prostate cancer the following year. And as history sees it, PGMA won. A double heartbreak. And I don’t want a deja vu this year. I cannot take a Binay government. I just can’t!
And then there’s Jejomar Binay. End of story.
So after contemplating between Duterte and Poe, two candidates who I think have the best chances of beating Binay, I am choosing Digong. As mentioned above, he’s not exactly the ideal mold of a president. He has a very sharp tongue, expletives-fanatic, and unconventional manner of running his government. But what I am really looking for in a president is someone who can actually implement rules and laws. Not just draft one or two. But can actually put these laws in place so that everyone can feel it. I still think that the main problem with our country now is the lack of discipline. Anyone can just escape persecutions and prosecutions so long as you have the money or knows of anyone in the government. Not to mention the massive corruption in the government. And I would like to think that Digong (and Miriam actually) has the balls to combat these issues. I don’t want anyone who can put a great face for the Philippines internationally but actually rots inside. I don’t want to have a booming economy only felt by the minority. I don’t want to continue the status quo in the government. I can’t. And I believe Digong can start the change in the political landscape in the Philippines. I may not be in agreement with some of his platforms, but I’m hoping that everything will be put in their right places. That’s all we have now…hope…in any of the 5 candidates actually.
As for the Vice-Presidency, well there’s just one. It was, is, and will only be Leni Robredo. I want my vice-president to be complimentary to my president. Digong is strong. I want my vice-president to have the heart. To serve as the conscience in the government. To be a good adviser also to my president. A far cry from what VP Binay has been doing the past 6 years.
As for my senators, my sure choices are (in no particular order): Villanueva, Romulo, Osmena, Pangilinan, Bello, Colmenares, Belgica, Alunan, Hontiveros, Gatchalian, Gordon. The last slot will still depend on my mood come election day but is a toss-up among Zubiri, Domagoso, Ople, Lacson, Guingona.
As for my party-list, I do encourage everyone to give this slot to the real marginalized sectors. I am, since 2013, voting for Disabled/PWD Partylist (Pilipinos With Disabilities). Let’s give them better representation in the government.
My only prayer for tomorrow is that the true winners be elected. If it won’t be Digong, Leni, or any of my senators, I just HOPE that we have an Honest, Orderly, and Peaceful Elections. And eventually, everyone will unite to make it a BETTER PHILIPPINES.