Random Election Thoughts, ver. 2

So after the holidays, the election fever is back.

On hindsight I don’t think it ever died though.

Over the holidays, we were bombarded with ads of Manny Villar, Gibo Teodoro and the Gordon-Bayani tandem. It evokes mixed feelings, I would say.

Manny Villar‘s self-promotion, clearly with the intent of discrediting Erap’s long-held claim of being “the people for the masses”, now highlights the fact that he’s the true champion of the poor, owing to the fact that he himself, was poor and worked himself out of poverty to become the person he is today. “Manny Villar…ang magtatapos ng ating kahirapan.” What a noble thought. One wonders – can he really pull this off? Changing the landscape of the Philippines today seriously needs a miracle. At least, it’s not something that  one administration and one term can achieve. Just take a look at history to see that it takes decades to turn the tide of a country riddled with problems.

As another thought, his ads of late are starting to feel a little bit like political brainwashing. As an advertising practitioner myself, I must admit that his campaign is gradually becoming more and more convincing… if you didn’t know any better, you could actually believe that this lone man can change the course of our history.

Now, on the side of Gibo Teodoro, unconfirmed rumors have reached me that his latest TV ad that uses a popular song composed and written by one of the country’s famous musicians – did not receive the proper licenses. Hmmm. I have no thoughts about this.

Needless to say though, over the past few weeks, I know he has been rising on the polls. From his position as a faltering number 4 or 5, he’s now climbed up in various polls and is battling head-on with Noynoy and Villar for the number one position.

And then, now there’s the country’s supposed Transforming Duo, Dick Gordon and Bayani Fernando. Incidentally, I got to watch an ABS show hosted by Boy Abunda. In this episode, he interviews Bayani Fernando.

This duo… especially Bayani Fernando, is one who inspires either extreme like, or extreme dislike. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Watching that Boy Abunda special, I realized why. Bayani Fernando is a man of action. He spends little time in puffing up his image with the press, the media and the Filipino population as a whole. I think to some extent, Dick Gordon is the same way. Yet if you think about it, this tandem represents action and results. Sure, their decisions and actions sometimes veer towards the unpopular choices.. but sometimes, admit it. Someone has to make and enforce the unpopular decisions.

Part of me actually wishes they had decided not to run for the President and Vice President positions. We all know that though they are extremely qualified, they won’t win. Which is truthfully, a loss for the country. People like these are people we need to become a part of the decision-making body that dictates how this country progresses. I wish they had just run for Congress or Senate instead.

Frankly, I think the same goes for other equally qualified Presidentiables.

Many good things are being said about people like Nicanor Perlas and JC delos Reyes. But come on, these guys are not gonna win. Lacking the machinery they need to mount a big campaign; lacking the reputation and the big, solid fan base – it’s a huge contest enough as it is with 4 powerful names in the election roster.

The truth is, just as we need a good, competent and trustworthy President, we need equally good, intelligent and competent legislators. Many of those competent people are currently running for the top 2 positions in the country. But voters can only choose one. Therein lies the dilemma of discerning people.

On the other hand, this year’s elections feels somewhat different than the other Elections I’ve voted in. In the past, somehow we always somehow knew who would win.

In the 1998 elections, we all knew (even if we fought tooth and nail against it), we knew Erap would win.

In 2004, we also somehow knew that it would only be either GMA or FPJ.

This year’s elections is a wide open field. The polls today could drastically change tomorrow. The great thing about this is that maybe a hopeful part of me believes that the voting population of the country is indeed becoming more intelligent and discerning. I think it began in the 2004 elections, when showbiz personalities were no longer a sure-win. It’s very heartening, and it fills me with a more hopeful spirit.

Catch up on the Presidentiables’ plans, platforms and paraphernalia. Their websites are live!

Noynoy Aquino, Dick Gordon, Gibo Teodoro, Nicanor PerlasManny Villar, JC delos Reyes

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