The time is now. When your voice is going to be heard from all over the nation with the use of one piece of paper. The face of prominent figures is going to rear its head on our Television sets. Their voices filled with hopes and promises now flood the airwaves.
“I am going to do this!”
“I am going to change this!”
“This is our promise to you!”
And the list of cliché lines goes on and on… Yet, have we learned whose names are we supposed to write on those pieces of paper that we send running on those noisy, clunky, Xerox machine looking Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS)?
Yes, the Philippine Election is drawing near…
We as Pinoys have to understand that the biggest question when voting is not ‘who to vote’ but ‘what have we learned’. Not to mention that most of faces you see have either ran before on a senatorial or presidential race, or went to prison, or our favorite stereotypical politicians; those ones who came from show business.
We have been known to have the wildest set of candidates running for political positions. We have doctors, lawyers, law enforcers, actors, film directors and even soldiers who staged coup-de-etats are part of the roster for us to choose.
Now here’s the catch though, in the midst of the current list that is in front of you, are you voting for the right man or woman to be seated in the senate who is basically in charge of making laws for the country this coming Philippine Election?
I am not sure if this has been echoed in my previous posts but, the textbook description of the word ‘Stupid’ is ‘showing a lack of intelligence or common sense’. I for one do not want to be called stupid for doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
I understand that Social Media websites are not a good source of information if you are looking for facts but, reading their opinions about a certain senator who wants to run “AGAIN” who apparently served jail time for stealing millions and millions from the people make one’s blood curdle. They said, “Boboto ko sya kasi Guwapo sya at Mabait” (I will vote for him because he is good looking and kind). I was like, “WHOA! YOU GUYS ARE BUGGING!”
I have this wild idea before that would possibly make the Philippines’ voting experience better. Instead of putting up colorful posters of themselves, why don’t they post their resumes instead? Because technically they are APPLYING FOR A POSITION and the country is practically the HR manager who decides. Or better yet, a portfolio of their achievement. Since this is the dawn of Facebook and Instagram, this can easily spread like wildfire and the next thing you know, people are researching about the candidates instead of bashing them.
That kinda provides a much more healthy voting practice, because almost everyone tends to judge at face value. ‘Go with what our gut tells us’. And that my friends, is wrong, wrong and wrong when it comes to voting. Researching and knowing the people you are putting on the ballots is possibly the smartest thing to do.
I say this with experience. Back when Fernando Poe, Jr. was running for president, everyone on the hype train jumped on to see what this is all about. Just for the ones who are reading this under the age of 20, Fernando Poe Jr. was an actor here in the Philippines.
For some reason, the legendary thespian filed for candidacy and joined the battlefield to fight the presidential battle. I was skeptic when I heard this and a little wow’ed because, while I was doing my research about the hailed, “King of Philippine Movies or Da King”. I saw that this guy did not have enough political experience nor studied anything that would qualify him as a suitable president.
Next thing I knew, my grandmother who was a big fan of Da King went gaga over this issue and bought shirts to represent the man. I never wanted to wear that shirt because it had his face on the front and the words ‘president’ and ‘da king’ all over it. First of all, this is guy is already ‘Da King’… isn’t it a step back to run for president if you are already a king?!
I love my grandmother so much but I was not going to wear that shirt. I told myself that I will not represent nor put myself in that situation where I had to defend why I was wearing that shirt.
After a few days, I found myself wearing it still. Do not judge me! Every person has a price! And I was 17 back then! To my defense, it was only after my grandmother bribed me with 500 pesos and a ticket to drive their old car for a week.
A lot of my friends were like, “So dude… How’s your boi?!” and then they point at my shirt. I was like, “HEY!! He’s not my boi!”.
Fast forward to the day of the Philippine election, the announcements were like a basketball game. It was neck and neck! And to my surprise, Fernando Poe Jr. not only started putting up real numbers, this dude was running behind Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with only thousands of votes in between! Oh boy it was an experience!
My grandmother had her gang were glued to the TV screen and they were praying. Praying for Da King to win the Philippine election! Since I cannot watch anything on our TV, I was stuck in watching the results and seeing them pray. It was like a vigil because they did not stop praying for them to see a miracle.
If you thought that the counting was more than enough action, at May 14, 2004 a grenade exploded at the General Santos City Hall where canvassing was taking place. Gladly no one was hurt and no other report was heard from that incident.
When the votes were tallied… Da King finished second in the presidential race and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was inaugurated in Cebu City as the 14th President of the Philippines and our country’s second woman who held the position. Well, technically first since she was voted for the position…
A lot of people celebrated and I am not sure if you read that right… An action star came in second place! He beat Panfilo Lacson who was a prominent figure in the Political race and rocked the house by coming in so close to beating Gloria Macapagal Arroyo! That was totally impressive but at the same time, it made me think so hard as to why that happened.
Now we push forth the hands of time to 2005… The day when the infamous ‘Hello Garci’ tapes came out. I was having doing my daily routine… eating lunch while watching TV. You know, the typical Filipino Lunch (Hahaha!). It was then when I heard on the news that an alleged tape came out saying that the current president which says that the president was involved in an electoral scam.
To be honest, I was like, “Garci? Like… Gwen Garci Viva Hot Babe?” Because I was not in the right mind back then, I did not bat an eyelash or even lifted a finger to research anything about the matter. And seemingly when all of this were transpiring… the nation continued to watch. And the unexpected happened, the then president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went live on Television to ask for forgiveness saying, “I’m Sorry”.
I was like, “WHOAH?! What the heck happened?!” . That made me grab my mobile phone and research about it more. Well, you should know by now that the internet back then was a little shaky so very little inquiry was made on my watch and more of the information I got was based from either hearsays or word of mouth. I received news from my neighbors and officemates that the electoral scam or Hello Garci Scandal or Gloriagate (Which was probably derived from the also infamous Watergate Scandal) was true to the bone.
If that was the case… go back a few years… that means that if the Philippine election in 2004 was rigged. Then the possibility of having an Action Star as a president was really evident!
A little bittersweet if you look at it. The people have been longing for a CHANGE so bad; we clasped our hands and decided put our trust in a man who dodged bullets in the movies. I do not know what were we thinking when all of this is transpiring but, somehow the Pinoys were acting out of desperation.
We really wanted to see change back then so instead of voting for the person who is best suited for the job with the risk of another term filled with corruption and go through the cycle once more, we chose the latter.
Unfortunately for Da King, he was not able to try the presidential run again because he died in 2004.
Where am I going with this…? The fact that we Pinoys wanted to see change so bad, we went through great lengths in going against the grain. But I am going to stop myself here first… Based on these notes that we wanted change, didn’t we try to do this already when we all decided to put another action star in the Presidential seat? Does the name, Jose Ejercito y Marcelo ring any bell? Or better yet, ERAP?
Yes, this dude was an actor turned senator, turned, vice president, turned president. A true Pinoy story if you ask me since a lot of the people who are now seated on the round political table were either actions stars or comedians.
We voted for this man and yet after a few years (year 2000 to be exact), we found out that he paid 400 Million Pesos as payoff from Jueteng (An illegal numbers game here in the Philippines), under a different name ‘Jose Velarde’ and other members of Senate including then House Speaker Manny Villar rushed the case.
We tried this man in court and grinded him right into the bone. An impeachment court was formed just to get him out of the position. We revived the spirit of EDSA and replicated the People Power Revolution. Not only that, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff who was supposed to support the President of the country, flipped and withdrew their assistance to the president then swore allegiance to the Vice President.
With all of that in mind, here we stand. The then president Erap is now Mayor of Manila. The man who we ousted off the office in the first place is still standing amidst the ranks of the political power.
I cannot wrap my head around it. This man stole from the country, was tried in court, was the reason why Pinoys had to relive the dreaded EDSA Revolution and yet we still embrace him. It is hard to see the reasoning behind it that the previous Mayor Alfredo Lim, who was dubbed, ‘The Dirty Harry’ of Manila and called a man of action, got beaten in the recent Mayoral race for Manila.
This has been the Pinoy way of choosing who to lead our beautiful land and it is flawed. If only we had the superior capacity of researching our candidates then things would have turned a little different. Possibly for a better today.
And now the time has come again. We have come full circle. We will start voting for both the Senatorial seats and the Mayoral seats in the Philippines this 2019. We are again going to let our voices be heard throughout the nation or better yet, around the world. As whom are we going to choose on that day, will represent our country for the next years to come.
The question that should buzz in our heads should not be, “WHO TO VOTE” but “WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED”. As I said, I refuse to be called stupid by doing the same thing over and over then expect different results .
Be Responsible, Be Aware and Be Real Pinoy.