It is exactly one week to election day but many voters, believe it or not, are still not certain whom to vote for, judging from the many queries I and fellow journalists get. It is really difficult to choose the right candidates for next Monday’s elections because of the general lack of qualifications and the abundance of factors that disqualify many of them, or at least make them not worthy of our votes.
The first advice I can give to voters is not to vote for members of political dynasties. Our political system, government, and society have sunk so low because of political dynasties. Families now control the life of most cities, towns, provinces and Congress—so much like medieval Europe when it was ruled by warlords with their own fiefdoms. That is the reason Europe declined during the Middle Ages, with warlords fighting one another and squeezing their own people for more and more taxes and labor. Robin Hood is just a legendary figure, but he was the role model for many leaders who rose in revolt against the warlords.
The Philippines had its share of local revolts against the Spanish colonial government (Dagohoy, Diego and Gabriela Silang, etc.) before Andres Bonifacio launched the nationwide 1896 revolution. We should all launch a new revolution, not with violence but with our votes, by voting down the political dynasties that have run amuck for next week’s elections, no doubt to beat the constitutional ban on dynasties, for which an implementing law is surely to come from future congresses.
Almost all the senatorial candidates of the two main political coalitions are members of political dynasties. The only nondynasty candidate in the Team PNoy senatorial slate are Loren Legarda, Risa Hontiveros, Jamby Madrigal and Antonio Trillanes—only four out of 12 candidates. In the United Nationalist Alliance ticket there are only Greg Honasan and Migz Zubiri, two out of nine. All the rest are members of political dynasties.
Grace Poe and Mitos Magsaysay belong to a gray area. While Grace has no relative already in or running for public office, the way she unabashedly uses her father’s name (the great Fernando Poe Jr.) and her mother Susan Roces in her campaign speeches, commercials, advertisements, tarpaulin and posters, and flyers is tantamount to using a Poe dynasty.
As for Mitos, while she carries the name Magsaysay, she is not one by blood but only by marriage. And she is not pushing the Magsaysay dynasty of Zambales, she is actually fighting it. She is running against Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, son and namesake of The Guy.
So whom should we vote for? Choose from among the independent candidates. They are reform-minded and have fresh ideas. While the opinion polls give them poor chances of winning, they can really win if enough voters switch their votes from the dynasties to some of the independents.
So who am I endorsing to the voters? I am urging the voters to vote for the following and why:
1. Loren Legarda. (Don’t believe the black propaganda against her.) She does not have any relative already in or running for public office. What’s more, she is an environmentalist.
2. Risa Hontiveros. Not a dynasty member, she is also against the pork barrel and Charter change.
3. Teddy Casiño. Reform-minded, he is sincere in his advocacy of measures that would improve the lives of the masses. Hounded by the “Red tag,” he admits to being a leftist but insists he is not a communist and does not take orders from Joma Sison. He is also against the pork barrel and Cha-cha.
4. JC de los Reyes. While he admits to being a relative of former senator Richard Gordon (his mother is a sister of Gordon), he insists he is against political dynasties. What’s more, he is a candidate of Ang Kapatiran Party whose platform is against dynasties, the pork barrel, Cha-cha; and he is for gun control, a measure we sorely need if we have to defeat the culture of violence now engulfing the land.
5. Bro. Eddie Villanueva. While he is still hazy on the issue of pork barrel and Cha-cha, perhaps we need a man of God in the Senate, although I don’t understand why the Catholic Church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo and Bro. Mike Velarde are not endorsing him.
Not a long list, I admit, but you don’t have to fill up all 12 slots in the ballot. The other names will only reduce the vote advantage of your candidates. But if you want to add more, choose from the ranks of nondynasty members.
* * *
Political dynasties are infinitely worse in the provinces. Almost all provinces, cities and municipalities have political dynasties, some with two or more, leaving voters with very little choice. If such is the case, don’t vote for any of them even if they have shaken your hand or have posed for pictures with you. They may still win, but the dearth of votes will tell them that the people do not want them.
By all means do not vote for members of the Jalosjos clan in the provinces, cities and municipalities of the Zamboanga peninsula. Not content with controlling their own bailiwick, the clan, headed by convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos, is spreading its dirty tentacles all over the peninsula. Don’t let a child rapist rule you.
Do not vote for the budding Pacquiao dynasty in Saranggani. Manny Pacquiao, banking on his popularity and money, is fielding his wife Jinkee and brother for local positions. Their only qualification is that they belong to Manny’s family circle. If you don’t stop them now, you will soon have Mommy Dionisia as the Dancing Queen-Governor of Saranggani.
Manny may be a boxing champion, but as a congressman, he is definitely a disappointment. Congress is not a boxing arena; it is a legislature that needs ideas.
There are many more political dynasties all over our poor land. Vote them all out of existence.