My sister was nagging me on whom to vote for on May 10 for the Malacañang post. I haven’t really convinced myself yet, even for VP and senators. There should be something I need to do in order to counter asymmetric information so that I’ll be properly informed given that I am not in the Philippines to actually observe the campaign. The only thing I heard of are the muds that are being thrown left and right against various candidates and how the Comelec and Smart(?)matic are going to "manage" the election, with the news reports about the ballot testing, I wish them luck.
Unfortunately for me and hundreds of thousands who cannot go to Riyadh, Jeddah or Al-Khobar to cast our votes personally, we will be unheard of this May 10 (not only on May 10, mind you). The Comelec and DFA didn’t make any arrangements to enable us to vote even by mail here; one of the many efficiencies of the bureaucracy. We have to visit the embassy or consular office in order to do so. Considering the expenses and danger we will incur and meet if we travel, some of us are settling to voice out our stand either by convincing our families to vote in our behalf or to campaign for a candidate back home.
I am an Overseas Filipino Worker, and I do not feel anything more than that. Basically I am still a proletariat. I am not even elated on the label Bagong Bayani because I can't hardly feel it or is it only lip service to entice thousands more to leave the country every day for the dollars? What do these dollars do for the poor anyway? Yes it floats our economy’s dollar reserves and saves us from BOP deficit and interest repayment for the nation’s debt, other than that, wala naman talagang nararamdaman na ang mahihirap. Ramdam ng Pinoy ang paghihirap yun ang klaro. In 2009 alone, despite the dismal US economic recovery and poor influx of foreign direct investments in the country, it is OFW dollars that has kept the Philippines almost immune from financial crisis with their whooping $15.78 Billion remittances, and not La Gloria's macroeconomics and social welfare programs as what her administration has been falsely trumpeting.
I haven’t heard any candidate, except for Toots Ople, who has a solution and plan for OFWs. The problem of us OFWs having to leave our families is a deeply-profound one, the dynamics are numerous if you gets to dissect it. The benefits might really outweigh the costs in terms of financial gains, on the one hand, but the social cost is something unbearable at times, on the other. Manny Villar may have repatriated hundred of OFWs (is it on his own account or charged to PDAF?) but still a comprehensive program for OFWs is wanting and POEA and OWWA are just raking in billions from us. Hey where’s our take on the cake?
Of the several candidates running for president, I have considered looking only to those who were serious enough to wage a campaign and is serious enough to take the steering wheel from La Gloria. My take on Gibo Teodoro, Dick Gordon, Manny Villar, Noy Aquino and Erap Estrada (the rest I consider to be waging a lonely battle, if not nuisance enough to end up in that kilometric automated ballot) follows in the order of how I prefer them. Ultimately though, like microeconomic choices, the logical option doesn’t necessarily mean the best choice, it is after all a decision the individual should make given specific constraints.
I think therefore I am for G1BO. I heard of Gibo’s feat as congressman and defense chief way back. I admire his remarkable and impressive credentials and in what he has done for Tarlac. His clarity and articulateness on issues during debates makes him a favorite. Aside from having a model as a wife, he can fly planes. I am a plane lover and hearing about him flying one of those C-130s really amaze me. “Gibo is a licensed commercial pilot and a reserve colonel of the Philippine Air Force. His commercial pilot's license has a Learjet 31 rating, and he can fly C-130 military planes.” He really is hands on in steering the wheel. However the message didn’t get to be embraced by the masa, Class C, D, E who didn’t feel any connection with Gibo. The Harvard scholar could really attract investors and confidence with his Galing and Talino and all the intrinsic values he possesses. I am turning a blind eye on his decision to ditch NPC in favor of the Partido Lakas-Kampi (PALAKA) (whose members are one-by-one doing the dumping of Gibo) obviously for political survival chiefly because it seems that Uncle Danding has not given him the anointment. He could have been Top One in May and in all aspects in the political sense (track record, machinery, finance, positioning on issues) except for one external factor he willingly carries. The fingerprint of La Gloria smudges all the positive points and trumps his capabilities to govern. Her kiss of death is more than enough to end Gibo’s chances this election. I remember Conrado de Quiros saying that the best president we have are those who didn’t made it to the ballot. So I guess Gibo’s campaign ends there even if the God of Quiboloy has anointed him to succeed Gloria.
Dick Gordon’s hard stance on Subic and how he managed to straighten the people of Olongapo is something that I have been admiring for in years. The way he handled Olongapo as Mayor and later as Administrator of SBMA has really highlighted how the Filipinos can be disciplined and straightforward. His track record as a local executive is truly outstanding one that can really help the Philippines towards development. His stint as Tourism secretary, Red Cross chair and senator has led to successful feats in their respective areas. Reading from an observation would make one WOW on the achievement of this candidate. For me he is the president that this country needs to put an end to scrupulous corruption, pagsasamantala and poverty. He is more than qualified to be the president. However, there are pretty differences in the dynamics of the local and national politics. Although all politics are local, the Filipino electorate is not yet ready for Dick to be president. The electorates see all the bragging and he being a literal dick-head. One observer notes that “People ignore the side of Dick Gordon who is passionate and genuinely cares for the well being of his fellow Filipino” the problem is not Gordon but in what manner he delivers his message to the people. Well with a big attitude I really do not see how the common voter will be able to grasp the message wrapped in kayabangan, ironic as it may seem, voters still look for some degree of humility from public servants. The recent howl of Patricia Evangelista's Method to Madness says of one observation on Dick Gordon as he is labeled chickens*it by one interviewer who happens to be a friend to Evangelista. Tweeters left and right, and this one guy in Facebook, have liked, refuted, hated and even cursed Evangelista’s observation even to the extent that of blaming her that if Gordon didn’t make it to Malacañang they will all rain it all on Evangelista as if she has the capability to do so. She may have some readers and clout (you can count me in) but I doubt that she can wreck that damage to Gordon’s campaign. I do not always agree with Evangelista’s treatises in Inquirer, it is her opinion and she’s very much entitled to it, but to curse her to the ends of the Earth is absurd and foolish. I will leave the analysis to you. The thing is some of us may like abrasive, harsh, arrogant and what-call-you leaders, others just do not and the capability to accept that adobe fact is a sign of maturity. Filipinos are not dump, however it is sad to say that political maturity is nowhere in the vocabulary of voters.
Housing magnate and businessman Manny Villar has used his being once in poverty to push through with his presidential campaign. His Sipag and Tiyaga slogan has been here with us for some time since he ran for Senator. The phrase is almost synonymous with Villar and with the story of how he managed to get out of poverty, or was it really poverty? This election season gave another definition to his claim of being mahirap. Though Erap had almost lord it over the domain of the Mahirap, Villar now comes with a claim of his being from Tondo and being also a Mahirap, even telling voters that because of their poverty they were unable to save his brother from death. His campaign jingle si Villar ang Tunay na Mahirap utilizes kids and singing absurd situations he claimed to have experience has become an object of spoof and fame for him. And I just like to ask sino naman ang may sabi na bawal ang mangarap ang mahirap, eh yun na nga lang ang ilan sa mga natitirang libre sa komersyalisadong mundong ito? Claims that are widely refuted not by words of chimosos and chismosas or the barberos, but by hard evidence presented in an article by no less than an intellectual elite in the person of Prof Solita Monsod of the UP School of Economics, Inquirer and the GMA7 Network. She was NEDA chief during Cory Aquino’s administration. The article on the Inquirer wasn’t the only piece of her clarification on Villar’s claim to poverty, Prof Monsod has already made her analysis on the allegation on C5 extension road project. A project, she said was “unnecessary, financially disadvantageous to the government, and would only yield Villar enormous financial benefits.” As the ethics case was being heard in the Senate, all Villar and his allies have been doing is to dodge the issue instead of facing them head-on. Not to be forgotten is his supposed links with the Arroyo government giving birth to the Villarroyo tag, his unusual presence in a Philippine Stock Exchange meeting where he “follow-up” on his company’s request to unlock a certain part of his company’s shares of stock for market selling and just recently the complaints about unfinished housing projects where it was alleged that he illegally enriched himself and his company.
Erap Estrada had his chance but blew it altogether. The jueteng payola, the undeclared assets and the work ethic has not all been helpful. The poorly concluded impeachment trial could have been hi saving grace, but his allies all the way let him down by not opening the second envelope. The plunder trial at Sandiganbayan and his conviction and subsequent pardon all the more made his credibility and his objective to return to Malacañang all the more suspect.
Which brings me to Noynoy Aquino, heir apparent to martyr Ninoy Aquino and democracy icon Cory Aquino. The dismal legislative performance in the House and Senate makes him a least achiever in this respect judging by his sponsorship to which was passed into law. In the over-all he is banking on the legacy left by his parents and the torrents of support of the masses for a credible change. He campaigns on the issues of corruption, accountability and honesty. Walang bahid as his supporters would say. I am not saying that 100% Noynoy deserves the votes of the people. I am not also calling out for you to join the Aquino bandwagon just because the surveys say that he leads the pack of presidentiables or that because the 7 million strong Iglesia ni Cristo, known to be voting as a bloc (sabi ni Kabo llamadista daw kse sila, dun daw nataya sa siguradong panalo), would throw their hat for Noynoy, no please do not make that as one of the reasons to choose your president. I say that these extraordinary times call for a extraordinary solution. Noynoy is no extraordinary, he is not the savior this country needs. But for the love of the country we are better off with him. Another Aquino presidency would put an end to an Arroyo, a reboot is all that the Filipinos need. The contenders to Noynoy have no issues to throw against him that's why one after the other they always insert his question his psychiatric health. Boo-boo for those black props, if they think they are pretty much the victims of these black propaganda it would be better if they answer them directly and please do not use your mother to solicit sympathy for your undoings. Do not blame them for knowing that you have illegal transactions, or that you used your position in order to get a favorable contract, do not blame them if they caught you lying because not all Filipinos are stupid. You cannot have us all hook, line and sinker.
Election is a divisive exercise though a democratic one. It sends a positive signal that democracy breathes in this country in spite of the Ampatuan Massacre and the tyranny of Gloria and her manipulation of political institutions (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary). We may have difference in opinions and varied preferences for president. At the end of day, it is important that we stand behind the elected president after the ballots have been casted, counted and canvassed it is all our duty to protect it and to stand by the decision of the majority of our countrymen, that is, after all, the essence of democracy.#
*My apologies for the inaccurate grammar, language and logic. Please feel free to point out any of my errors. My stay in Saudi Arabia has not progressed my using of the English language.