“The one sure way of participating in the process of nation-building is to vote on the election day.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — PHILIPPINE elections can be compared to the games of chess and marathon.
At least a week earlier, some candidates, more or less, may have already known if they had chances of winning or their defeat was imminent.
Some of these clues were in the reported endorsement of prominent and dominant religious groups that specialize in block voting, which is usually being disclosed days earlier; cash shortfall that rendered the last-hour full-blown media blitzkrieg incapacitated, cold response and gloomy reactions from barangay leaders familiar with the ground operations, sudden collapse or shifting of support of previously secured voters based, credible eleventh hour surveys, among other telltale signs of doom.
If a chess player is down by a piece–a knight, a bishop, a rook, or a pawn–and his remaining pieces are exposed to ambuscade in a dizzying variation, he knows that he has two options left: to resign or wait to be mated.
A marathon runner expecting to arrive in the finish line in the last two miles knows that the runners in front of him in the final five miles earlier who disappeared from his sight like comets may have already sprinted and crossed the finish line.
In elections there are no lucky punches like in boxing; no last two-minute Hail Mary goals like in hockey; no three-point miracle shots like in basketball; no hat-trick goals like in soccer.
Our choices of the candidates running for various local and congressional positions reflect our character and values as voters.
The senate race is very important.
Some senatorial candidates maintain a myopic mindset insisting we need to elect them because once they become senators “they plan to continue in helping provide more food and medical assistance to the poor.”
Some of them claim to be “very sincere to serve the poor” and their sincerity can be allegedly best confirmed “even if you open our hearts with a knife.”
A senate job is about legislation, not about distribution of relief assistance to the poor.
We have the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), an office under the executive branch that will perform and is already performing the obligation.
A senator creates and introduces a bill that would become the law of the land after being approved by the president.
Thus what we need are quality legislators; we need to elect quality, competent, and the right candidates suited for the right job.
We don’t send a carpenter to extract a tooth or a truck driver to perform a surgery.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)