One of the difficulties I have for this coming May 2007 elections is whether I should force myself to vote for a complete 12-man senatorial slate. Originally, I said I would vote for only three or four, but I’ve reevaluated the candidates, and did some homework, so here’s my current list:
- Joker Arroyo (TU) – One of the few Senators I continue to respect, for his values and his intelligence. Although I’m a bit worried about his age (he’s 80), I think he deserves a second stint in the Senate, and continue the work he’s done.
- Sonia Roco (GO) – The widow of the late Senator Raul Roco impresses me with her focus on education. While a political neophyte, she seems to work hard in the campaign, to make herself more well-known to the voting public. My vote goes to her.
- Jamalul Kiram (TU) – The Sultan of Sulu is a guest candidate of the Partido Democratikong Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), and the only Muslim in the Senate race. I recently had a talk with one of the founders of the PDSP, former Jesuit Provincial Fr. Romeo Intengan, SJ. He told me that Kiram was apparently integral in wooing away the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from communist influence; he was also responsible for aiding Fr. Intengan’s escape from the Marcos regime. As the Muslims are marginalized as it is, it is important that they be given a voice in the legislative body, and Kiram is it. Admittedly, it’s an uphill battle for Kiram, but I’ll vote for him, as I think that he will help craft laws that will benefit the Filipino Muslims.
Those are the ones I’m more or less sure of. I’m still weighing my options on the following:
- Francis Pangilinan (Ind.) – While the reelectionist senator earned a lot of brownie points for his courage in going at it alone, I’m not sure what he accomplished during his term as Senator. While I admire his show of principle, I need more concrete evidence that he will be an asset to the country in the Senate.
- Ralph Recto (TU) – It was Recto who authored the E-VAT bill, and while that tax has been a bit of a bitter pill to swallow for the Filipino populace, I believe it has helped balance our financial books, and so has helped set the country on the right path to fiscal health. Even though it was unpopular, Recto stuck to his guns and got the bill passed. The con in voting for him is that I think he relies too much on his popular wife, Batangas gubernatorial candidate and actress Vilma Santos in order to gain votes.
- Martin Bautista, Adrian Sison, and Zosimo Paredes (Kapatiran) – the three senatorial candidates of the part Kapatiran have tried to espouse a more ideological style of politics, a plea for politicians to act more honorably. They have no chance of winning, but I think that they have their hearts in the right place. If I’m totally fed up with the administration and the opposition, I may vote for them, if only to protest the lack of values both major camps are exhibiting.
- Vic Magsaysay (TU) – One of the reasons in the Zambales governor’s favor, which I think I mentioned before, is that he hasn’t seemed to be embroiled in any major corruption case, and from the looks of it, Zambales has prospered under his watch. On the popular side, name recall will be strong; having an uncle who was a popular President will be a great help to Governor Magsaysay.
- Edgardo Angara (TU) – I know, I know, he’s a turncoat and all, but, admittedly, from an objective point of view,
Angarais one of the few Senators who has actually done any substantial legislative work. Still, his ideology rings false to me, as he has changed sides too many times. I might simply throw him into my list, if I’m feeling generous, but I’m currently leaning towards excluding him.
So there you have it: my sure(more or less)-vote list, and my considered list. However, it’s still pretty early, as there’s more than a month to go. How I’ll actually vote come May will be determined by what the candidates do, or don’t do in the coming weeks. That, and my continued research into the candidates’ activities and accomplishments.