The winner on May 9
My candidate this Election Day is the Filipino people.
And I am pretty sure they will be the runaway winner—notwithstanding the alarm hyped by some personalities including high government officials and leaders of the Catholic Church peddling the canard that democracy is gravely at stake in this electoral exercise, and the fact that the people are being taken for a ride by a presidential frontrunner.
Indeed, the presidential election has become one of the most, if not the most, divisive, corrosive and polarizing poll exercises this country has ever seen. It does not help that some media behemoths seem to be fanning this unease. This smacks of patronizing at best.
Even then, I believe that whatever the result of this election, our people will eventually emerge the better for it. And depending on who is elected and how he or she will eventually turn out, the Filipino people will either experience a catharsis, collective relief, or liberation from the shackles of the status quo.
The Filipino people will prevail because whatever happens, it will be the result of their democratic right to choose who will lead us. We will get the candidate we choose and deserve. Our deepest longings or worst fears will come to pass. But we will not stop there. We will embrace positive change and reject any betrayal.
All five presidential and six vice presidential candidates have been sufficiently exposed to the electorate—their halos or horns, smooth or uncouth tongues, hollow or brilliant minds, plastic, condescending or candid emotions, numb or bleeding hearts, their warts and all. Their conduct during the campaign period has showed us who they are. Their respective platforms—or avowed lack of it—have been laid bare for
all of us to consider or decipher. Certainly, the presidential and vice presidential debates organized by the Commission on Elections produced a certain level playing field of sorts.
We know by now who among them inspired or disappointed, who are more of the same and who has tapped into our aspirations. We know who were just pandering to our hopes and those who genuinely want to serve. We know who are merely ambitious and who are out to wield power for the greater good. We know who are for authentic and systemic change, for peace in our land, and who will not
paper over but address the roots of our country’s blight. We now know who are the “trapos,” elitists, clowns, tacticians, strategists, or potential Machiavellis. We know who has instilled fear or vision among our quizzical and desperate citizens. We know who will be beholden to powerful individuals and interest groups, and who has political will.
Filipino voters are not dumb. Filipino voters are not reckless. They know if some vote-counting machines will mysteriously work magic on Election Day. They know if there is an attempt to prime them for an incredible election result. They know by now who is running for office to genuinely lead and serve them selflessly to progress, and who has all or nothing to lose. They know who is running for selfish and shadowy interests. They know if one is truly deserving of our sacred vote.
The choice of Filipino voters may turn out to be not the “proper” choice, but it is still their choice. And I trust that if they discover their choice to be a dud or will go awry, they will know what to do.
Whoever wins the presidency—Binay, Duterte, Poe, Roxas or Santiago—the Filipino people will have a new leader. And if this president turns his or her back on those who voted him or her into
office, or will turn out to be the same as those who had promised almost everything under the sun and came out wanting, or presided over the disemboweling of our society, the Filipino people will eventually remedy the situation. I am sure they will not allow themselves or their rights to be trampled upon by anyone, even if she or he is the leader of the land, even if they were the ones who chose their leader, whatever righteous or bold intentions this leader may have had. The Filipino people will know what to do, the way they did at Edsa I and Edsa II. They will not need anyone who fancies him/herself to be their knight in shining armor to egg them on what to do.
The Filipino people will also ensure that there will be fiscalizers to whoever wins the presidency. My hope is to see a Walden Bello, a Neri Colmenares, a Risa Hontiveros, and a reelected TG Guingona in the Senate to balance and neutralize the comedians, boxers and dynasts in that diminished institution.
There is no cause to fret. Election Day will unleash the genius of the Filipino. It will be a high-water mark in the continuing evolution of our young nation. It will show the world—and ourselves—that we are capable of rising above the din, the fray, the discord, the pain, and the circus that we’ve been through in this vicious campaign.
Today will show that we can indeed rise, yes, above ourselves.
Mabuhay ang Filipino!
Gus Miclat is the executive director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue and a convener of the All-Out Peace movement.
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