Mar 07
A PRIMER ON HOW TO VOTE WISELY by Butch Macaro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, Mar 7, 2007

In less than three months, qualified voters will troop to the precincts to cast their votes for the candidates in this year’s senatorial andlocal elections. I hope and pray that we all make the right choices to ensure a renewed and service-oriented political atmosphere in the country. I doubly hope and pray that all the elected officials are all ready to shoulder the responsibilities of carrying out their promises of serving the people to the best of their abilities. So God help them …and us!

By now, we have already been bombared by campaign ads on tv and radio, the print media and in every conceivable posters and streamers. I can only every voter to be careful in choosing their bets for the much coveted offices. CBCP President ArchbishopAngel Lagdameo urged the voters not to allow themselves to be influenced by their friends or even barangay heads in choosing the deserving candidates.

Just remember we have minds of our own and we should not depend on the dictates of people who pretend to be all-knowing. It is predicted that money will once more overflow when election time comes around the corner. It is not a sin and I think there is nothing wrong if we get the money from the vote-buyers but still stick to the candidates we want in the first place. Our integrity is not for sale… therefore our votes should not be given out in exchange for small amounts. The candidates of our choice may initiate changes that will benefit the future of our children and their childrens’ children. So be wary in giving out our votes and trust to politicians.

The root of all political problems and security during elections results from cheating and fraud. In almost all our former elections, candidates resorted (and will again resort) to dirty tactics, hurling intrigues and malicious issues, creating black propaganda, specially those well-kept little black secrets that can really blackened their opponents. Though these eventually turned out to be untrue.

But the worst scenario is to unleash the worst tactic of all—virtually snuffing out opposition by finishing off their opponets. Dirty politicians really prefer to face dead politicians. In many past elections, both local and national, private armies loomed in the political arenas. Specially in the South, political killings became a natural phenomenon that even innocent civilians were not spared by these guns for hire. We really don’t want our country to degenrate into a virtual killing fields every election period. Will our respectable politicians put an end to this? If these politicians can’t change and settle for a peaceful election, then we the voting public must create the atmosphere of change.

Politicians cannot change the voters, but we can change the politicians of questionable integrity. If you wish, you can try this formula. This early, try reading the daily newspapers and read the items of every reputable columnists taking extra care on comments and reports about public figures now in our midst. Take note of the comments and critiques on particular candidates by writing their names on a special ledger with both the good and the bad side of each. Come election time, return to your list and find out who among them are running for a government position and immediately cross out the names with more unsatisfactory remarks. Never mind if only a few names remain in your list. At least you are confident the person you will vote for is a man of integrity, honesty and service oriented people. We may make a few mistakes but it is better than voting for mistakes. Keep this in mind and you will never habor the guilty feeling od having voted for the wrong candidates.

I have noticed lately that most Pilipinos have learned to be careful in choosing something or someone, including the kind of movies they would want to see. If there are no good movies to watch, keep your money in the safe. If there are no worthwhile candidates to vote for, choose the lesser evil or do not vote at all. You will feel guilty of blunder if you favor the wrong candidates.

In so doing, we can let these politicians know that we know our obligations to our country. If they fail to realize their obligations and duties, at least we know what to do to these “traditional politicians’—we all throw them into the estero by not voting for them!

The Commission on Elections, the ‘guardians’ of our sacred votes have their own Election Code which should strictly be followed. The code is a law. What is banned is banned! Forget consideration and friendship if only during election time Everybody should be treated equally and fair. No favorite, no friends, no favor granted, no shifting of votes and no CHEATING. But can we really rely on these privileged few to man the commission without question? Remember you are there to carry out your duties which include safeguarding our votes. Remember too that the salary you receive are the money of the people of the Republic of the Philippines!

Here is (finally!) the 11-man official lists of senatorial candidates of the opposition led by ex-senator Loren Legarda, then Senate President Manuel Villar, Ping Lacson, Reps. Francis Escudero, Noynoy Aquino, Aquilino Pimentel III and Allan Peter Cayetano, ex-Sen. John Osmeña, Sonia Roco (Raul’s widow), ex-Sen. Nikki Coseteng and Magdalo leader Trillanes. The 12th man, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan chose to run as an independent like ex-Sen Gringo Honasan.

The administration senatorial line-up includes re-electionists Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto, Mike Defensor, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Prospero Pichay, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, actor Cesar Montano, ex-Sens.Tessie Aquino-Oreta and Tito Sotto, Govs. Chavit Singson and Vicente Magsaysay,

But remember, people will judge these candidates in the coming election based on how they performed in their capacity and behavior as public figures. Some of these candidates ironically worked hard to abolish the senate since to them it is useless and unnecessary. Now they are running for the same post.

Each senatorial candidate must post P450 million budget to run, if they win, how will they recoup the expenditure? I will leave the burden of explaining to voters. The amount of P150 million for a few seconds appearance on TV and for reporters and columnists to carry their names in the newspapers. My countrymen, yours is the decision but when you decide it should be for the good a great number of Pilipinos. Good luck for thinking clearly and carefully!