With elections just a few days away, the campaigning has reached a fever pitch, at least for those running for the Senate. Candidates are doing everything humanly possible to squeeze out whatever support they can get from their constituents. In some cases, such as in Abra and in Nueva Ecija, this also means trying to permanently take out the opponent, this, of course, despite the peace covenant signed by Abra candidates earlier in this election season.
The opposition, of course, is using the 2004 “Hello, Garci” tapes scandal as evidence that there will be massive cheating in this year’s elections. However, it’s not as if the opposition is trying hard to win in the first place, having only 144 candidates vying for the House (with 220 district seats up for grabs), with a similar absent presence in a number of the local races. Furthermore, within the opposition ranks, there are charges of junking opposition candidates who aren’t doing too well in the surveys, in favor of administration candidates who are.
Columnists (and bloggers) are having a field day in commenting excessively about the chances each side has, sometimes focusing on specific races to make their point. Some, have argued that voting for any of the administration candidates means agreeing with all the bad things the Arroyo government has done. My problem with this argument is that the opposition isn’t pristine when it comes to values and morals. So, by voting for members of the opposition, we’re supporting whatever former President Joseph Estrada had done during his term? All of the corruption and plunder, by voting for the opposition, we’re saying we’re okay with that?
For me, in voting for senatorial candidates, which side they’re on doesn’t really matter, because, once they enter the Senate, the game changes, and sometimes, the winning Senator will go against the party he or she ran under. It’s a basic reality of Philippine politics that most of our politicians will side with where the power is. I’d rather choose candidates based on their individual qualifications and beliefs, which is why I’ll be hard pressed to complete the 12-man Senate list. Or maybe I won’t complete it; I mean, why compromise my own beliefs just to fill up the slate?
In the House race here in my district (2nd Quezon City), I’ve yet to hear about any assembly regarding the congressional candidates in our district. I have no idea what platform each of the major candidates are presenting, and, considering that none of them really catch my attention, I may wind up not voting for any congressional candidate.
For the party-list, I will firmly be supporting A TEACHER, for reasons that I’d given earlier in this blog. Teachers need strong representation in Congress, and education will need a big boost. Hopefully, if the A TEACHER representatives make it, they’ll be able to advance the educational cause further, and maybe we might see some real changes in our educational system.
In the future, what is important is to strengthen the party system. Right now, there are no real parties, just alliances of convenience, where the members join together, not because of a common cause, but for pragmatic necessity, e.g., funding. With a strong party system, composed of parties with clear, definitive platforms and programs, we can move away from the personality politics that has pervaded our political landscape. But, for now, we will just have to make do with what we have.