Choices

Filipinos fill out ballots at a classroom used as a voting precinct during mid-term elections at a school in Manila, Philippines on Monday, May 13, 2013. The country is electing local officials from senators to congressmen and down to municipal mayors during Monday's mid-term elections. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A NUMBER OF mock elections were held nationwide today to test the vote counting machines and processes for the May elections. Except for a few glitches like a misread ballot and a dead cell spot, the COMELEC concluded so far, so good.

Well.

They may be nearly ready but I’m not. Have you decided for whom to vote? I haven’t. The papers tell me there are 86 days left till the elections, and it seems that the field is only getting murkier.

I still find the presidentiables unpalatable. At any rate, they haven’t convinced me of their mettle.

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The Presidentiables. Clockwise from L: Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Bongbong Marcos, Jojo Binay, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Mar Roxas (trendingnewsportal.com)

Binay was never on my list and he is staying off. I’m no fool. The Ombudsman has found just cause against him, and whether 86 days or 6 years, she is willing to wait; she will get him. I won’t vote for anyone who will make Malacañang a safehouse.

It seems others are tiring of him as well. According to Pulse Asia’s most recent survey, Binay’s approval ratings are down 5 points (52 to 47) and though his trust rating hardly moved in Luzon (51 from 52), it dropped significantly in the Visayas (37 from 43) and Mindanao (40 from 49). Is Binay finally losing his cachet among the masses? I truly hope so, and about time!

Mar is promising to move us into the First World, and while that’s exciting, how long will it take and will it make a difference where we live? For instance, will Pinoys have more purchasing power during his term, will the cost of living decrease, will traffic lessen and public transport become more efficient…in other words, will this journey be a fun ride for all? If not, then I’d like to know – who gets to go, who will pay the fare, and how much will it cost?

I find the Roxas campaign lackluster. It has behind it the LP and the Aquino Daang Matuwid brand with its six years of sustained popularity, yet it is hardly making a dent. Randy David correctly observed that the LP is probably one of the strongest parties today but it is acting like a weakling. Why is a mystery. To me, the LP ticket lacks dynamism and instead shows a vapidity that makes one think twice about Mar and Leni, no matter how qualified and likable they seem. It’s kind of a shame.

Grace Poe is still a cipher. No one really knows if she’s staying or going – at this point, not even the Supreme Court, I reckon. Much has been said about her since she declared her bid. I haven’t given it much thought; she might not even be affirmed after all. While I agree that intellectually, she’s got the goods, I wonder if she has the moral courage and leadership it takes to make good on the promises of Partido Galing at Puso. The COMELEC First Division has ruled that she did not fill out her COC in good faith and that she has, simply put, been lying about her citizenship. If they are right and she did, that disqualifies her for me as well. (Quite apart from all this, what kind of party name is that anyway?) We shall see.

I have said more than once here that I cannot and will not ever vote a murderer into office. Whether his claims are fantastic or factual, Duterte’s bloody proposals are illegal and insane.  My jaw fell when I heard his melodramatic declaration last week that the public should kill him if he doesn’t solve the crime problem in six months. So suicide by rampage? For goodness’ sake. And his sidekick Alan Peter Cayetano followed up with his own offer to resign should they fail to bust crime. Thus, in the event that snatchers remain active six months and one day after the Duterte-Cayetano tandem is elected, we may find ourselves abruptly leaderless by hara kiri and resignation. Interesting.

As for Miriam, who continues to push credibility with her adamant claim to health… I do not think I am more dismayed with any of the candidates as I am with her. In high school I followed her Panorama column Gadfly and was impressed by her spunk and wit and pithiness. Over the years her acerbity has eroded my youthful admiration, but I have still often thought she made sense. This team-up with Bongbong Marcos makes no sense at all. How disappointing.

And much as she likes to flaunt her power over peers and pathetic subordinates, cancer is a different foe. I do not wish her ill, but I think the electorate deserves to be told the truth. I am still convinced that the Miriam-Marcos ticket is actually a Bongbong for President movement. I don’t appreciate being played, and they will not get my vote.

These are early days and no doubt the field will become more defined as May nears. I am especially looking forward to the debates. Besides educating myself on the candidates, I will also be seeking guidance in prayer. To elect any of these presidentiables or not will depend largely on what God purposes me to do. May we all seek His will for our land.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart,
    but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

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