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Elections not a popularity contest

05:02 AM March 11, 2019

This is regarding the article, “Popularity should not be enough,” by Dindo Manhit (Opinion, 3/6/19).

Indeed, the selection of candidates for political positions is not and should not be based on the popularity of entertainment and sports personalities who lack adequate educational background and experience in governance.

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But the reality is, many candidates, especially those running for national positions, are being chosen by party stalwarts based on their popularity in the fields mentioned above, despite their obvious lack of ability to perform the job they are
aspiring for.

These candidates are chosen for the simple reason that if they win, they will serve as warm bodies who would supply the much-needed “yes” votes and do their masters’ will.

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I miss the days of my youth when I would religiously read the leaflets of senatorial candidates stating their exceptional educational attainments and expertise in their fields, both in private and in public service. I would then ask my parents to vote for the candidates with the most salient qualifications.

The likes of former senators Jovito Salonga, Raul Manglapus, Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Sumulong, Gaudencio Antonino, Ambrosio Padilla, Estanislao Fernandez, Benigno Aquino Jr., to name just a few of the many illustrious men and women who walked the august halls of the old Philippine Senate, are being sorely missed today.

In abundant supply nowadays are candidates who speak loudly of empty sloganeering and motherhood statements, but deep inside them lack honesty, compassion and trustworthiness.

We are flabbergasted by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s statement that “honesty should not be made an issue in this election season.” She probably knows that most of the candidates she supports do not meet that criterion, especially that one woman who even has the gall to fake her educational attainments. Some senatorial candidates are even facing plunder allegations.

Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution states that “Public office is a public trust.” How can we expect accountability if the persons we elect into office are not honest?

It behooves the Filipino electorate to be politically mature and critically discerning in choosing the leaders this country badly needs.

RAMON MAYUGA, [email protected]

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Inquirer letters, Ramon Mayuga
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