9 MAY 2016: Such stands the somehow “Judgment Day” of the Country – its people and their future, their hopefulness or helplessness, their redemption or exasperation. No. This has really nothing to do with the world to come but with the Philippines then and after 2016. Yes! It’s Election Day once again! Will the candidates for election be worthy voting for? Will the voters cast their vote at all? And if they do, will their votes be in fact counted? How many guns will be fired and how many lives will be lost then? What will the goons then do with this or that candidate for election, with this or that follower-voter of this or that candidate? How much gold or cash will exchange hands as a matter of course on the occasion of the election? So many questions come to mind but definite answers there are none so far.
So many elections have taken place – with the following ones as the more memorable after a long dictatorship: The father died and the wife became President . The mother died and the son became President. There were other Presidents in-between. But there are some three well-known and much-felt national phenomena that refuse to change – all allegations and surveys to the contrary notwithstanding: 1st. Flagrant graft and corruption practices in government as a matter of course. 2nd. Poverty of the people in general as a given. 3rd. The Philippines as a 3rd World Country incarnate – then, now and till when, nobody really knows.
So it is assuming the forthcoming 2016 national election will take place, assuming further that qualified citizens will cast their votes, and furthermore assuming that their votes will all be duly counted, the main question that comes to mind is what should be the qualifications or attributes of the candidates that people should vote for – the President in particular? Is it really enough that the same is a “natural born citizen of the Philippines”, that the same is a “registered voter” with “forty years of age” and a “resident of the Philippines” - plus the rather demeaning qualification of being “able how to read and write”. This qualifying factor is not far from equating democracy with puerility.
Integrity: This is an imperative for a candidate for public office exercised for public welfare – definitely not for private profit and/or family gain. And this is a personal quality that must be already known by the people even before the individual concerned files his/her candidacy for election.
Competence: It is a big disaster when someone is elected into office without even knowing its nature, its finality and consequent agenda. Even drivers should know how to drive in the same way that even an elementary school teacher should know what and how to teach his/her pupils.
Industry: A public office has much to do, to attend to, to care for. The same should have ingenuity to know the difference among what is necessary, what is useful and what is but vain. If those who do not want to work should not also eat, an indolent public official is a big plain contradiction.