Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Who I'm Going to Vote for President

To be honest, even though Election Day is just a few days away, I haven’t 100% made up my mind yet who to vote for president.  It’s probably going to be an “eleventh hour” decision for me.  But in this article, I will be stating how I’m evaluating the candidates – which might give you a glimpse of which candidate I’m leaning towards.

Part 1 – What Do I Want in a President

The following, in order of importance, are the things I want the next president to have or do.  The candidate doesn’t need to precisely reflect all these details, but I will be voting for whoever is closest in meeting them:
  • The one that has qualities nearest to Abraham Lincoln.  Read my essay on why I think Lincoln’s the greatest president of all time.
  • Someone who will make it a priority to address China’s de facto invasion of Philippine territory.  I don’t necessarily mean we must go to war.  But I want someone who can make wise and tangible moves in dealing with it, and be consistently outspoken about it to let both Filipino citizens and the international community know that this is a legitimate crisis we can’t afford to be indifferent about.  Someone who will actively pester lobby for a speedy official commitment from the UN that it would act immediately, faithfully, and – if necessarily – gravely upon the matter.
  • Someone who will cater in true economic reform, that ordinary citizens will truly feel and enjoy whatever economic improvement the country is supposedly having.  That does not mean his or her government should “spoon-feed” the poor, or that everybody will immediately become rich.  Rather, a true economic reform is something that will cultivate a healthy working culture and doesn’t encourage lazy reliance on government handouts.  In short, the government won’t directly improve your economic condition, but it would guarantee an economic environment in which you will be fairly rewarded if you are willing and ready to work hard.
  • Someone who will thoroughly purge communist rebels, Islamic terrorists, and private armies.  What they’re doing is already against the law, but their existence has always been tolerated and even exploited by politicians.  Enough is enough.  I want a president that will be firm and finally rid us of this evil that has plagued our country for years.
  • Someone who will bring fast, internationally comparable Internet into the country.  At the very least, compel Internet companies to be faithful in providing the speed they promise.
  • Someone who can make education and health care as “free” as possible.  I know this is something financially unrealistic for the government, but I do wish more Filipinos will have access to them.  I want a president that could make it into as close to reality as possible.  And where to get the budget?  Heck, remove “pork barrel” culture entirely.  Eliminate the middleman.  Instead, use the money to directly fund educational and health reform.  It’s my dream for this country that anyone could go to school or hospital without thinking how expensive it is.
  • Someone who can bring about a modern railway system in the country – at least, in Luzon.  I believe there’s a correlation between trains and economic improvement.  Seriously, PNR is already crumbling.
  • Someone who won’t be bullied by religious groups – especially that particular cult that every politician loves to sip-sip with because of its block voting policy.  I want a president that will have no fear of going after its leaders if they do wrong.

Part 2 – The Pros and Cons of the Candidates

Pro: Charismatic and relatable.  Among the candidates, he seems to be the most down-to-earth and unassuming.  He seems to be someone who doesn’t really care if he wins or not, and that he only chose to eventually run because he doesn’t want to deny those who want to vote for him the opportunity to do so.  Whether Trillanes’ accusation that he’s harboring billions (!) of pesos is true or not, he has showed a frugal lifestyle through the past years.   Thus, either he’s genuine or he’s doing one heck of a job kayfabing.
Pro: Candid.  What you see is what you get.  He doesn’t pretend that he’s a saint – like what Mar or Binay does.
Con: Candid to a fault.  Literally to a fault.  Given that, as human being, we have made offensive jokes in our private circles, and Duterte is as human as us.  Still, as a president, there’s a need to project proper decorum.  He seems too tactless and brusque for the role.  His personality might compromise diplomatic relationships.  In fact, as early as now, he’s already starting to offend the international community. 
Pro: Whether you agree with his methods or not, his totalitarian-esque, tough, “devil may care” attitude worked for Davao.
Con: Heavily implied to have committed – either personally or through the infamous “Davao Death Squad” – extrajudicial killings on criminals.  Now, there’s always something charming about “vigilante justice” – especially with the lack of trust on our legal system – but due process is something, as a general rule, you don’t want to see suspended.
Con: Promised to free Gloria Macapagal Arroyo if elected.
Con: Friendly with communist rebels and Islamic terrorists, and has verbally defended and praised them.  So far, ever since I was old enough to vote, I’ve never voted for anyone who had ties with the NPA or MILF.
Con: Has key, bold promises but actually vague on how he would accomplish them.
Pro: His deeds during the Yolanda aftermath made an impression on me.  He didn’t need to go there but he went there with a team to help, incognito.  While Roxas was busy pretending to be doing something in front of cameras, Duterte, on the other hand, didn’t have much or any media coverage.  The relief goods he brought were packed in bags with captions of “from your friends in Davao” or “love, Davao” or something of that effect – his name wasn’t on them.  On the other hand, Binay’s face and name were shamelessly plastered on the relief goods he sent.

Con: Pretended to have led Makati to prosperity, and provided a fantastic standard of living to all its citizens – and actually convinced most Filipinos (including me) of this!  Then it was revealed in 2014 that it was actually he and his family who were being enriched by Makati.
Con: He and his family haven’t provided any good defense against the compelling accusations of corruption thrown at them.  They keep on repeating that it’s all “political attacks” when there are facts that made it apparent that government projects that went through them, like the construction of the Makati City Hall, were overpriced.
Con: His campaign is hinged on his boasts of the things he supposedly did for Makati as its mayor.  But he has nothing to show for in the past six years as VP.  He was more concerned of attacking the administration than being of any help to the government.
Con: When he made his own version of the SONA last year, he simply showed how ridiculously hypocritical and full of himself he is.  The part that infuriated me the most was when he saluted the SAF 44.  It was political exploitation at its most shameless.   He portrayed himself as respectful of the PNP, when some time prior, he insulted the cops tasked of removing his son, after being suspended as mayor, from the city hall.
Con: Whenever he opens his mouth to speak, my blood boils.  Can’t stand his hypocrisy and delusions of grandeur.  Seriously, during debates, there are times I skip the video forward (I watch in the Internet) whenever he speaks.
Con: Brazen “epal.”  Even when the presidential election was still years away, he was always finding ways to exploit circumstances – whether good or bad – to promote himself.
Pro: Uh, none.

Con: Easily loses his cool.
Con: Was given the powerful DILG post but he never made an impact.  If anything, he was deemed ineffective by public opinion on how he acted on key moments – e.g. Zambo siege, Yolanda, Mamasapano.  Being Interior secretary was his opportunity to shine, to impress and win people over – like what the late Jesse Robredo did – but he blew it.
Con: If he knew the location of the source of drugs in Davao and Makati, why didn’t he do anything about it as DILG chief?
Con: Where in the blazes are the Yolanda funds?!
Con: Though not as much as Binay, Mar has a noticeable amount of pretentiousness in him.  He makes himself bigger than what he actually is, and takes credit for things he has no business of taking credit for (e.g. pioneering the BPO industry, Yolanda relief efforts).  He also likes to pretend to be someone “maka-masa”, someone that can empathize and connect with common folks.  It comes out as irksomely artificial, as his “elite” bearing always comes through.
Con: That atrocious comicbook portraying him as a superhero during Yolanda.  As a big fan of the medium, I find this an appalling offense.
Con: The hilariously dreadful and shallow “Fast Forward” music video.  Youtube it.  Guaranteed annoyance (but amusement, too).
Pro: As the administration’s bet, Mar can provide continuity and a smooth transition.  This is his biggest advantage over his opponents.  PNoy’s administration isn’t perfect, but it’s actually a massive improvement over the one it succeeded.  You got to call a spade a spade.  The economy was optimistic and pleasant during the past years; corruption was still present but seemingly limited.  If you want to maintain the vision of PNoy’s administration, which is actually generally decent and satisfactory, then voting for Mar is the best way to maintain its trajectory and momentum.  It might be gradual, but it appeared to be going upwards.
Pro: To be honest, back in 2010, if he wasn’t asked to give way to Noynoy, I intended to vote for him for president (So though I eventually voted for Gordon for president, my vote for VP did go to Roxas).   Back then, among those who were eyeing the presidency, he has the clearest and most workable platform.  He knew his stuff.  He had a concrete plan to accomplish what he said he will do.  Now, he has actually shown the same thing.  He is one of the candidates that presented a solid, realistic, and well-prepared platform.  If only there had been some degree of owning up to his and the administration’s shortcomings, if he didn’t project an air of infallibility and pretentiousness, I would have immediately decided voting for him again.

Con: The issues about her citizenship.
Pro: Seemingly genuine in her desire to bring about a “government with a heart.”  She effectively projects an air of compassion and sincerity.  There’s something refreshing about it.
Pro: Surprisingly knowledgeable.  Articulates her points well.  Decent platform.
Pro: Despite the short period of time as a public servant, she has showed admirable work ethic.
Con: I can’t shake off the feeling that she’s a mere political puppet of someone – like Danding.

Pro: Handily the most intelligent of the bunch.
Pro: Entertaining as heck. Charismatic and witty.  Fun to watch and listen to.  Spews striking quotes effortlessly.      
Pro: I enjoyed her books – Stupid is Forever and Stupid is Forevermore – very much.
Pro: Has an unassailable integrity – at least, in comparison to most politicians.  Her opponents can’t find any political dirt to throw at her.
Con: Picked Bongbong Marcos as her running mate.
Con: Compromised health.  I expected that she would eat her opponents alive during the presidential debates, but she was shockingly underwhelming.  She definitely lost a lot of step due to cancer.

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