Early, eager candidates

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

This September, candidates for next year’s elections will be officially known.

There have been a number, however, who have already publicly expressed their intention to be the next president or vice-president.

Soon, we will all know whether these early eager candidates will finally, officially file their candidacy or not. Time will also let us know if their intention for their early announcement was genuine or some political ploy to further their own personal agenda, or the interest of their parties or allies.

From among those who have announced their intent, it’s interesting to observe three patterns.

One trend, for example, represents those who feel entitled to take over their family member’s political position. Their ace card is their family name. With or without any worthy track record of public service, there’s no hesitation at all to even launch and start their political machinery this early, pandemic or not.

Beyond family affiliation, the public deserves to carefully know about each candidate’s credentials.

For example, can the candidates show actual, genuine sterling public service performance in their previous political arena?

Specifically, have their constituents received adequate support and services for even just their basic needs?

How have these candidates performed in terms of pandemic response? And budget transparency and accountability? What about human rights? Have their constituents improved their lives, their rights respected and protected, and the environment sustainably managed as well?

The public needs to discern who among the candidates are running for the Filipino people or for their own personal or family agenda.

Are the candidates running to take care of the people or to take care of themselves, for example, from future lawsuits and charges that may be brought up against them once they step down from their present political positions?

What criteria should the voters base their choices on?

A second type of candidate claims to be following his God’s prompting to be president. Winning big in previous local and senatorial elections, this type of candidate forgets that once elected, there are tasks and responsibilities that come with the office.

Since this candidate wants to lift Filipinos from poverty, voters want to know, for example, if people in his former province are beyond poverty, have their housing, employment, health, education needs, among others, adequately and sustainably provided for? If yes, that past exemplary record will make him very credible with voters all throughout the country.

What about his record as senator? Has he been diligently attending sessions, passing legislation for the benefit of the Filipino people? Has he been paying his taxes due his salaries and earnings, for example?

The Filipino voters deserve leaders who have proven credentials related to genuine and transparent, honest public service. Family name, popularity per se are not enough to qualify anyone for the highest positions of the land.

Proven genuine performance and hard/diligent/responsible work for their constituents’ welfare and service are essential. Transparency about their assets, liabilities, including tax payments should also be required of all candidates who want to lead this nation.

Can fiscalizers and those who expose anomalies qualify for the highest positions of the land? Or shouldn’t the public be more discerning about past and present records of political affiliations and decisions of this third type of candidates?

Are they truly independent or have they been or do they remain beholden to previous or present political leaders? Are they truly running to genuinely serve the Filipino people or the powers they are beholden to?

Are these three types of candidates the only ones Filipinos can vote for?

Dear God, please send your chosen, tested, genuine public servant-leaders.

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