One week to go before we finally cast our votes - either for or against our own country's good fate. The kind of leaders we choose for our country could either sink us or empower us to be a better and stronger nation. Have you decided who to vote for?
Even before the campaign period started, national and local candidates alike have resorted to mud slinging, hence dimming our opportunity as voters to listen to objective, factual reports. Instead of attacking and addressing issues, some candidates are resorting to personal attacks and are banking on multi-media commercials to gain popularity and transform it into votes. But what's new? It's always been like that during elections period since time immemorial here in The Philippines.
But what do these candidates, especially the presidentiables, really have on the table? Who do you think can best deliver what this country needs? And do they have the political will and credibility to deliver their own promises?
Focusing on graft and corruption, I got the following excerpt from politicalarena.com showing the presidential cadidates' answers on how to combat graft and corruption which seems to have become part of our culture when it comes to public service. Now, since Noynoy and Villar are the ones consistently topping the surveys, I intended to quote just the two of them. But then since I also believe in Richard Gordon, I quoted him as well. Here's what I found:
1. Noynoy Aquino - "From a President who tolerates corruption to a President who is the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption."
2. Richard Gordon - tagged as a "transformer" or transformational leader based on his achievements, especially in the economic development of Subic, among many others; Gordon's response on the issue was quite clearer and more elaborate:
"1. We believe that the Ombudsman should not be an appointed position, but it should be an elective position.
2. We want to focus on declogging the courts, particularly the Sandigan Bayan. We may pilot a jury program that would ensure the faster handling of court cases.
3. We will not pardon a single government official convicted of corruption.
4. We will re-invent the bureaucracy by providing clear guidelines and levels of accountability for each government official.
5. We will streamline and automate key functions to limit official discretion and potential avenues of corruption.
6. We will make tax payments simpler and re-establish the BIR as the National Revenue Authority, with a high payscale to attract young, idealistic individuals into a career for helping national development through the collection of government revenue.
7. We will ensure strict law enforcement, by improving on the urban landscape – street lighting, uniformed bus drivers and vendors – to make crime-fighting easier, set up People’s Law Enforcement Boards and creating a national 161 hotline, similar to 911 in the US, for citizen’s to call for emergencies."
3. Manny Villar - no answer found.
I am still torn between Noynoy and Gordon mainly because what I'm looking for is not a businessman who claims he can run this country but a public servant with no shady reputation and who can free this country from the shackles of graft and corruption, poor justice system, and poverty. While I believe that no Super-President can single-handedly do all these nationwide cleansing and that every citizen should do his part in making a positive change, I do believe too that having a President with political will, credibility, and a good intention to run this country with morality in governance is a great way to start.
We've had enough of disappointments during the Arroyo administration - the NBE-ZTE deal, hello Garci scandal, private armies including those of the Ampatuans, GMA's whopping 114% wealth increase from 2000-2008, extra-judicial killings, luxurious dinners and overseas trips, graft & corruption witnesses haplessly executed, child rapist granted presidential pardon, and what-have-yous. Now, much of the Arroyo camp has left their own Lakas party, deserted their standard-bearer Gibo Teodoro and now backing Villar who's doing better than Gibo at the surveys. Talking about a test of character.
It's obvious than I'm not voting for Villar, not only because of his association with the Arroyos but because of the many allegations clouding him - the C5 road controversy, the way he amassed his wealth (accusations of land-grabbing, etc), his P1.4 billion ad expenditures in television, radio, and print ads from January to December 2009 alone (excluding expenses during the campaign period). How can he earn it all back with the President's salary of only P60,000 a month (around $1,333.33/month at P45 to $1)...unless he steals? And wait, how can he spend billions when according to this report, he only had P29,212,803 "cash in bank" based on his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) in 2008. Sudden surge or wealth in only two years, like GMA? Or funded by would-be cronies?
Seven days to go...the clock is ticking by. On May 10, 2010, let our voices be heard. Let's go out and vote. And may we vote wisely.