And the countdown begins- less than a month remains before we see a new pool (or the same pool) of senators take their seat of power. We see the mudslinging increase as well as skeletons in the closet being dug up deeper as the finish line looms closer. All the excitement is abuzz, and it ought to be true that the Philippines probably has the most interesting line of senatoriables every time, whether they are new or old timers.
Exercise Your Right
Yes, we can’t help but cringe or criticize, or poke fun at our politicians, but as cliché as it sounds, every vote counts. For the more intelligent and privileged voters out there, it is not an excuse not to know about the candidates. We live in an era where information is readily available at the click of a button, and there are all kinds of tools to educate ourselves. There is already that economic advantage to aid in our discernment, so why not use it? Then there are also eligible voters who choose to completely abstain, either because they have given up on Philippine politics, or simply do not bother to care. Nobody can force anyone to vote, but keep in mind that one can’t complain should they dislike the outcome of the elections. Total abstinence equates to zero action or any stand at all.
Process of Elimination
If only voting were as easy as simply listening to a candidate’s platform, looking into their credentials, and accomplishments to come up with a magic list of 12. But reality is, as we have limited options, we thus have to vote wisely, and when I mean wisely, I also mean strategically. If the Philippines can’t produce the “best” candidates per se, then it is still our moral obligation to weigh the odds and choose the “least worse” among the “worst” – to give your vote to the lesser evil.
We can at least begin by NOT voting for certain NON-NEGOTIABLES. Be it our Catholic or Christian values, but we Filipinos are too quick to forgive and forget past faults, or we are highly gullible or shallow when the one at fault is able to somehow compensate through other means. Indeed people deserve second chances on certain occasions, but for those who have committed tremendous crimes, or have consistently shown themselves to be of wicked character, it is a huge gamble to simply turn the other cheek and allow them another chance.
NON-NEGOTIABLES - Who NOT to vote for
Lest we not forget, Honason is responsible for several coup attempts during the Aquino administration in 1986-1992. For Harry Potter fans, If we were to characterize Honasan, he can be compared to Peter Pettigrew “Wormtail”, a treacherous man with little or no real power of his own, but piggybacks on the big boys only when the tide favors them, in order to achieve anything.
Prior to his involvement in the Cory coup attempts, then a disgruntled DND Chief of Security during the Marcos regime, teamed up with Defense Secretary JPE to overthrow Marcos. Of course their plan was discovered and foiled, but to their luck, Marcos power was already waning and the people sought to protect these men who had abandoned ship. Together with FVR, they were foreseen as the catalysts to the 1986 People Power Revolution and went down in history as heroes. Cory had even awarded Honasan the Distinguished Conduct Star and the Presidential Government Medal. However, Honasan tainted his short-lived heroism. Little did Cory know that the same man she awarded, who attempted to overthrow her dictator predecessor, also plotted to overthrow herself as well. Fortunately, he was captured and imprisoned for some time. He is the typical balimbing, opportunist politician.
Years later, we see Honason still a survivor in the political scene committing the same questionable actions, to name a few: 1) During the 2001 Impeachment Trial of former President Erap Estrada, Honasan was 1 out of 11 senators who voted against opening the 2nd envelope which contained damaging evidence against Estrada; 2) This year 2013, Honasan again was among the senators who voted against ratifying the sin-tax bill.
What do we know most about Cynthia Villar aside from she being the wife of Manny Villar? Electing Mrs. Villar is tantamount to electing her better half, and the same reason for which Manny lost the 2010 Presidential elections are the same reasons we do not want his Missus in power. To rehash events of the 2010 Presidential elections, we thought it was to be a neck-and-neck presidential race between Aquino and Villar. It came as quite a surprise when Erap suddenly came from out of nowhere as the apparent 1st runner-up to Aquino. He trailed so closely behind throughout the whole ballot-counting that people thought he’d actually succeed winning his 2nd presidency.
Initially Manny Villar seemed the most formidable nemesis to Aquino, and his campaign seemed indestructible, but as fate would have it, his credibility was shot down only months before election day. Before he and his team could control the fast spreading wild fire of allegations, the damage had already been done. One after the other, allegations surfaced regarding real estate fraud, close ties and illegal deals with then President GMA, but what probably hammered the last nail down on his campaign coffin were accusations on the authenticity of his TV commercial. The unforgettable, catchy jingle: “Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura..” was sung by children from slum areas where the lyrics depicted a once poor Villar who could relate to these singing children, and could alleviate them from poverty as he had done through hard work supposedly. The facts unravelled quickly that he did not come from such poor conditions, and even the masa caught on.
Manny Villar got what was coming to him, and with regards to Cynthia, we know she is just her husband’s puppet. Her winning the elections will resurrect Manny’s close-to-defunct political career, and will again give him access to continue his past “projects.”
Another example of a Buy One-Take One (or Take Three) candidate is of course Nancy Binay. It is a well-known fact that Nancy does not have much government experience of her own, but mostly experience adjacent to her father’s, the infamous current Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Jojo Binay is not discreet in his plans to run for President in 2016. Including Nancy’s brother, current Makati mayor Jun-Jun Binay and younger sister Abigail Binay, a current Makati representative- putting another Binay in office, especially in the Senate is adding the cherry on top of a web of precursors to their father’s possible presidency. Another Binay win will indeed set the stage for the Binays to get a tighter grip on the country. If that should happen, we can kiss our hard-earned reputation of clean and honest governance goodbye, and everything else that goes with it.
Joseph Victor, better known as JV, carries the first name of our disgraced and convicted plunderer, former President Joseph Estrada, and certainly proves himself to be a chip of the old block. Like his namesake, JV has nothing substantial to actually contribute to the Senate, or to the country in general, except to be a nuisance and a joke. Again, we have enough Estrada hoodlums lurking around our political circus ring, including his mother, and one of Erap’s many mistresses, current San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, half-brother Senator Jinggoy Estrada, son to Erap’s Presidential first lady, also in politics, former Senator Loi Ejercito.
It is very disappointing to note though that the Catholic Church has chosen to endorse JV because he denounces the RH Bill, and instead has turned a blind eye to all his alleged corrupt ways.
In short, the best description for Chiz is a man of many inner demons. These days, talking about Chiz without mentioning the spat between him and his girlfriend’s parents, actress Heart Evangelista is unlikely. Though we’d like to make a distinct separation between showbiz and politics, reality is that these two industries always intertwine heavily in the Philippines. To not base all logic on the much-publicized feud, there seems to be at least some gnawing truth in their deep dislike of him. To say whether he is using Heart financially or to further his career, is another question and open to many opinions. However what we can pick out from their sea of anecdotes of Chiz as an arrogant drunkard, paints us a picture of a carefully disguised deceitful personality.
In his earlier years as senator, Chiz gained popularity among the younger voters. He was eloquent and intelligent, and able to answer any question thrown at him whether in English or Tagalog. He was seen as an idealistic leader and rising star who could possibly champion honesty and competence for a change.Years later however, nothing can be highlighted in his quite lackluster stint in the Senate, and for a while, Chiz faded away from the public’s radar. Perhaps Chiz too felt his career become dismal, and eventually transformed into a more calculating politician.
Today Chiz finds himself in the spotlight again, as though it seemed to have dawned on him that naive idealism has no place in Philippine politics. For me personally, he strikes me as an all-talk two-faced politician and can be likened to Marcos in the sense that he is charismatic, shrewd and overly ambitious- a deadly combination, and a tougher corrupt fish to fry.
To put emphasis on political-related issues, Chiz’s actions in the following arouses suspicion on his true character and agenda, among the most recent: 1) He voted against ratifying the sin-tax bill together with more questionable figures: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators Bong-Bong Marcos, Ralph Recto, Jinggoy Estrada, Gringo Honasan, Joker Arroyo, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Tito Sotto, and 2) Most importantly, his alleged political backer is said to be businessman and former Marcos Trade secretary Bobby Ongpin, who was recently involved in the shady DBP loans deal. The Office of the Ombudsman, AMLC and BSP have been investigating, and Ongpin, and certain responsible DBP officials have been in deep water.
As stated earlier, the next process would then be to choose the top choices among the weeded out selection. There may not be very many outstanding things to highlight, or we may have to overlook some lesser shortcomings, but we can only hope for the best that we’ve chosen the “best” out of what is there.