Making the right choice
Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2015 - 9:00am

The record number of aspirants for the presidency who filed their certificates of candidacy as of the deadline for filing last Oct.16, continues to bewilder and bother a lot of us who still look up to the said office with reverence, admiration and awe. The presidency is undoubtedly the highest and most powerful position in the country that requires a lot of experience, expertise and innate talents and abilities rather than just being a “natural-born citizen, a registered voter, able to read and write and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding the election” (Section 1, Article VII, Constitution).

In fact, even if he/she is more powerful under our laws, the Philippine President has been equated to that of an American President described by Clinton Rossiter as “the ceremonial head of the government” who “must take part with real or apparent enthusiasm in a range of activities that would keep him running and posing from sunrise to bedtime if he were not protected by cold-blooded stuff. Some of these activities are solemn or even priestly in nature; others, through no fault of his own, are flirtatious with vulgarity. The long catalogue of public duties that the Queen discharges in England, the President of the Republic in France and the Governor-General in Canada is even longer because he is not a king, or even the agent of one, and is therefore expected to go through some rather undignified paces by a people who think of him as a combination of scoutmaster, Delphic oracle, hero of the silver screen, and father of the multitudes.”

Undoubtedly, most of these presidential aspirants are just joking or are plainly deranged and demented, and/or are merely “nuisance candidates” or those “who do not really have the bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed, his sole purpose being the reduction of the votes of the strong candidate, upon expectation that ballots with only the surname of such candidate will be considered stray and not counted for either of them” (Martinez III vs. House Electoral Tribunal 610 SCRA 53).

And under our election laws, the Commission on Election (COMELEC) really has the power and is now actually in the process of weeding out and removing from the official list, this kind of candidates. So, by Dec. 10, 2015, we will know for sure the final slate where we can make our choice.

To be sure, many in the list may not be among the frontrunners or “seeded” as possible winners. Some of them may even appear to be quite injudicious or indiscreet for deciding and persisting to run, knowing full well that their chances of winning are almost nil because they lack the where-withal and logistics to conduct a campaign as expensive as a presidential election.

Indeed under our present electoral system and practices, the “serious contenders” for the presidency are only those who have billions of pesos to spend for the campaign and who have been campaigning long before the start of the campaign period in February 2016. In fact these are the candidates who have been barnstorming all over the country and appearing in lots of campaign ads in various forms of media so many times a day. They are currently the “favorites” because they are leading in the poll surveys.

These favorites lead the periodic poll surveys apparently because they are the only ones remembered by the respondents to such polls because of their constant exposure in media. It does not mean at all that they are really the most qualified and best fitted for the position; that they are the ones who can achieve the good governance we have been longing for during all these years. In fact they all appear to be the symbols of the status quo, who will continue the past and present regimes characterized by graft and corruption, political dynasties, political accommodations and monopoly or oligarchy in business and landownership. If any of them wins, we will have more of the same kind of government now in our midst.

And as of now, they appear to be the candidates most likely to win.  This is obviously due to our electorate’s prevailing mentality in selecting their candidate. They ignore and/or completely disregard the other presidential candidates who have no chances of winning. They believe that “masasayang lang ang boto ko” if they choose any of these other candidates who have no chances of winning according to poll surveys.

It is about time we start getting rid of this kind of mentality among us voters. Let us choose candidates especially for president not only because of “win-ability” or name recall. There are other candidates in the final list we can consider in making our choice. We should be guided by considerations other than the yardsticks presently being used.

Even if candidates in the list have no chances of winning, we should not hesitate to vote for them if they can meet the following criteria formulated by the Pilipino Movement for Transformation Leadership” (PMTL) more specifically:

A. Character and Reputation:

1. Consults and seeks the advice of the citizenry and has a clear view of what is right and wrong;

2. Clean public record with no involvement in any crime or anomaly;

3. No vices like drugs, alcoholism, gambling, marital infidelity and others. No connection with people involved in shady deals;

4. A good example to others, maintains a clean and good life, well respected and with good relations in the community;

5. Not involved in election cheating or other violations of the election laws;

6. Not involved in stealing and plundering public funds and has no unexplained wealth.

B. Competence and Ability

1. With knowledge and education for the position he is aiming for;

2. With the experience and track record  to prove  that he can fulfill or achieve the programs he is planning to accomplish;

3. With  the proper skills and the ability to perform his tasks and duties which might be assigned to him;

4. With the political will to fulfill and follow the law.

C. Devotion to God and Society

1. Does not disobey the teachings of God; diligent and live according to the will of God;

2. Respect for his parents, elders, those in authority; respect power, the Church and society;

3. Give utmost importance to life and family, must have respect for dignity and rights of others who are created in the image and likeness of God;

4. Have genuine interest for the welfare of the poor and those in need. 

D. Truth in Leadership and Their Leaders

1. Sincere and loyal towards the Constitution, and tries his best to follow the law;

2. Fair, impartial, unbiased and does not side with anyone, brave and courageous in fighting  for what is right;

3. Have clear and concrete program and platform of leadership; able to act and move for programs or laws, fighting and solving poverty, fighting drugs and smuggling;

4. Vigilant in the use of our country’s funds and not to be used therefore for personal gain, like the use of DAP and Pork Barrel;

5. Take care, maintain and continue to find ways to develop the natural resources of our country;

6. Act like a leader of a family and with the belief that leadership must not be controlled by political dynasties.  

If we choose our candidates guided by these criteria dubbed as “Gabay Kristo,” we will start the movement towards the transformation in governance we have been longing for.

Email at: attyjosesison@gmail.com

ACIRC AMERICAN PRESIDENT CANDIDATES CHARACTER AND REPUTATION CLINTON ROSSITER COMPETENCE AND ABILITY FRANCE AND THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL GABAY KRISTO GOD AND SOCIETY HOUSE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL NBSP
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