Which Presidentiable Gets My Vote?

The National Elections is less than 15 days away, and I still haven’t decided on which Presidentiable I’m supporting.

According to the latest surveys, Noy leads the race with a close to 10-point gap to the 2nd placer, Manny Villar. Erap (not included in the photo for fairly obvious reasons) is a far number 3; Gibo not far behind Erap at #4; and Dick Gordon a far far number 5. Statistically, Gordon is tied with Nick Perlas and (I think) Jamby Madrigal at only 2% each.

Over the past few months, I’ve come across people who like me, think that the best Presidential candidate is actually Dick Gordon. Track record alone speaks about the capabilities of this man – from Subic, Red Cross and the DOT – he has undoubtedly shown results. However, most of us choose not to vote for him only because we all believe he has no chance of winning. In many ways, it feels like voting for Dick would be a wasted vote – if only we could reallocate that vote for the lesser evil of the top 2 candidates. I remember remarking on this in one of my past blogs early on in the Presidential campaigning period too.

It’s a bit sad though how collective minds think this way. Consider the alternative. If everyone who actually thinks and believes that Dick Gordon is the best Presidential candidate… actually went ahead and rallied for him – then maybe he could actually win. Or at least have a fighting chance.

So the question remains to many ‘undecideds’ like me:

Will I vote according to the dictates of my conscience, in which case that would be Dick?

Or should I just vote pragmatically, and help the “lesser evil” have a better fighting chance (in which case, I am still undecided who is actually the ‘lesser evil’)?

This year’s Election period started out with a very positive and hopeful collective spirit.

Except for the few apathetic, indifferent citizens of this country who don’t really care one way or the other about the Elections or anything related to governing this country — most others I spoke to about this year’s elections really seemed to genuinely care. People have actually gone out of their way to educate themselves and go through lengths to really understand the issues, get to know the candidates and scrutinize the situation from every angle. It has made for a lot of interesting discussions and friendly-but-somewhat-heated debates over coffee and alcohol here and there.

But it was genuinely nice seeing people rise up and have their say on how they think this country should be run. Whether or not we were all of a shared belief didn’t matter. What mattered was that people started to care. And that everyone seemed hell-bent on making the right and the best decisions for the country. (For the first time ever, it’s no longer a guarantee that a celebrity wins in the Elections! A huge leap for the Filipino voting population.)

While it’s still true today, what is frustrating is how now, at the 11th hour, most of us are left with no choice but to somehow make yet another compromise on something that should be worth keeping our conviction for. Why is it that we’re ultimately always left with the question of who is the lesser evil?

We actually have a very well qualified Presidentiable who unfortunately lacks machinery and funding support, hence he lags far, far behind in the polls.

Instead, the top candidates we have are found wanting on many levels.

Noynoy

I’ve made my thoughts about Noynoy clear in a previous blog entry. Earlier today I read an article written by a Gordon-believer-but-Noynoy-supporter (again because of the assumption that Dick won’t win), and in it, she says that she will just vote for Noynoy because he is the only one who can be trusted. That his “quietness” as a Senator is because he doesn’t seek the limelight. Personally, that feels like a stretch at rationalizing and excusing inaction.

‘Not seeking the limelight’ is a description that doesn’t apply to a Senator. By default, and by simple job description alone – a public official will always be in the limelight. What’s glaring under ‘this limelight of his’ is that the years he’s spent in the Senate hasn’t amounted to anything significant in his list of accomplishments. And really now, what does exactly does ‘proper enforcement of the law’ mean? If this was his thrust all these years, laws today are still not properly enforced.

And what exactly does he also mean when he says ‘we have more than enough laws’? We don’t even have laws yet that protect the general public from medical malpractices. Here’s something I picked up recently: no doctor in the Philippines has ever been disbarred nor had his/her medical license revoked in spite of proven medical malpractices. At most, they only get suspended. That’s because there are no governing laws that mandate juridical actions by the country’s governing bodies for the medical community.

See…. Trustworthiness is an admirable quality. But we don’t need just an administration whose strengths are solely hinged on their trustwortiness. We need an administration who can act, rise out of complacency and not be content with just ‘what we already have’.

Villar

Now this guy, his rags-to-riches story and how today he is one of the richest men in the country… for someone like me, stubbornly self-driven to achieve all my goals all on my own regardless of what it takes…it is an admirable, inspiring story.

I can turn a blind eye on the misleading details of his past and how everyone now questions whether his claims in his commercials are anywhere near true. He is dishonest and untrustworthy, many will say and have said. The exact opposite of Noynoy.

But man, can he act and make a tangible difference. His platform and policies are a tad bit more aggressive. Controversial too, if you push the thinking even more.

He has a strong propensity for tolerating corruption. Not just tolerating it, but actually being one of the forerunners of a corrupt administration.

Yes. These are our Top 2 Presidentiables. Who is the lesser evil? Beyond personality alone, will you choose an administration who will champion the fight against corruption? Or the administration who is launching an all-out war against poverty? Both are noble aspirations. But which one… which one will really make a difference for the Filipino people?

And also, at the end of it all, will you vote according to the dictates of your conscience? Or vote while turning a blind eye and only half a heart?

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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 Perlas,  Manny Villar, JC delos Reyes