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Opinion

Register, research, volunteer

BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon - The Freeman

The country’s political cauldron is brewing. What are we to do?

The period for filing of certificates of candidacy for all elective positions is still 80 days from today, that’s from October 1 to 8. Yet it’s never too early at this stage for potential candidates to make their important moves. Because Cebu is a vote-rich island, we are sure to have a front-seat view of the political movements at the national level.

Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and her party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, were in Cebu recently to “scan the environment” and talk to the people here, according to state-run Philippine News Agency. Other potential candidates will surely follow, like Senator Manny Pacquiao and the tandem of senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III.

I am somewhat privy to some movements in Cebu by supporters of at least two political camps. They have definitely started organizing both at the grassroots level and at the level of party coalition-building.

One reason I know is that one camp’s organizer has asked if I could front the campaign’s legal division in Cebu. Though we lawyers are taught not to choose clients based on our political beliefs, when it comes to electing our leaders, I believe I have the right to carefully choose whom I associate myself with.

Thus, I politely declined the proposal, citing with candor that my vote is already reserved for Vice President Leni Robredo. To be clear, anyone associated with Robredo’s camp is not a client and will not be a client. But I already vowed to myself that I won’t be involved in the campaign of any other presidential contender whom I won’t be voting for.

There is that little chance that I might change my mind over the course of the campaign, of course. It will depend on how the candidates perform in the campaign and their stance on most issues that I care about.

But let me go back to my question earlier. What are we to do amid these political developments?

I say that you should register at the nearest Comelec office of your place of residence if you have not registered yet. This advice goes especially to young people, aged 18 to 30, who are estimated to comprise over 30% of the vote.

The next thing you can do is research. It is too early to surrender and join the bandwagon based on who leads in the surveys. Don’t be easily swayed by surveys and those hard-sell, giant posters of politicians you see on the road. History tells us that those who shine so brightly at this stage may yet quickly burn out at the penultimate stage.

Once you’ve done your research, volunteer if you can. Your chosen candidates don’t owe you anything during the campaign. It is you who owe them your support, in whatever form you can give. So that if they win, they owe you their utmost, honest, and most competent service.

We stand at a critical crossroads in this 2022 elections. One road is dotted with large potholes of kakistocracy, abuse of power, and corruption. Another one promises something different but is actually more of the same. Yet another one is probably what I could settle for.

It is the one that promises to bring back the momentum of the PNoy presidency – a robust economy, investor confidence, decency in governance, and a top-level commitment in the fight against corruption – hopefully, with a twist; that is, with a heart and genuine connection for the people in the grassroots.

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