Countdown to Election Day
FIGHTING WORDS - Kay Malilong-Isberto (The Freeman) - April 3, 2013 - 12:00am

The smiling face of a candidate for senator on a box of buko pie reminded me that Election Day is just a few weeks away. Beside his face is a drawing of a bag with the phrases “Buy Pinoy” and “Build Pinoy.” In fairness to the candidate, he looks like a movie star endorsing a product in the picture. If I did not know that he was running for public office, I would think he was.

I've insulated myself from news about Sabah and the coming elections. With Sabah, I am amazed at how some people suddenly became experts in defining Philippine territory, the history of Sulu and the claim of the Kirams, treason, and how to run the country in general. I noticed that the same people who called President Noynoy Aquino “abnoy” and other derogatory names before he won were the same people who call him nasty names now because of Sabah. I shrugged and thought that we are all entitled to have opinions about the best way to govern our country.

With the elections, I am happily surprised that it is easy to tune it out, too. Unlike in past elections, my neighborhood has been spared the ugliness of posters strung on every available wire that could be reached while atop a truck. Walls in my barangay remain devoid of campaign posters. Trees lining our streets have not been nailed with campaign tarpaulins. Unless I watch TV, it does not feel like Election Day is just a few weeks away.

That does not mean that I have not been thinking about who to vote for. I came across an e-poster supposedly made by Catholics listing down three issues and the stand of senatorial candidates on each of them. These issues were the Reproductive Health Law, divorce, and gay marriage.  Candidates were described as for or against each or silent on the matter.

I appreciate the effort that went into preparing the list. I do wonder if Catholics would reduce their decision to vote for a particular candidate to just the three issues. What if a candidate was against the Reproductive Health Law, divorce and gay marriage but is a known womanizer? Someone convicted of plunder? Has a reputation for keeping a private army and of using violence against enemies? Beats up wife or girlfriend or children? Facing corruption charges? Supports or owns projects that destroy the environment? Will a candidate be okay with Catholics simply because he or she is anti-Reproductive Health Law, anti-divorce, and anti-gay marriage?

I continue to imagine a Philippines where local government units work the way they were envisioned to work, with citizens enjoying clean air and water, free quality public school education, and access to basic health services. Maybe the exercise is akin to daydreaming but I still do it anyway. I am looking for information on the stand of candidates on mining and funding for state universities.

I continue to mull about who to vote for in May and my list of people I will vote for as senator remains very short (I'd prefer to just abolish the Senate). I am aware that even if the best candidates are elected to public office, flaws in our laws and government system will hinder our best dreams to make our country a better place. Just the same, it would be better if we had good people in public office instead of the known bad ones.

***

Email: lkemalilong@yahoo.com

BUILD PINOY BUY PINOY ELECTION DAY IF I KIRAMS PRESIDENT NOYNOY AQUINO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH LAW SABAH UNLESS I WITH SABAH
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