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Thinking through on voting for the May 13 polls

Tumbas Manipis
by John A. Bello

When you vote for the political candidates of your choice this May 13 midterm elections make sure you feel light and happy afterwards. There is still enough time – as of my writing this Tumbas Manipis kolum, it is March 30, a day after the start of the campaign for local candidates - to make a good enough weighing and evaluating which of them running for political national and local positions you think and feel are suited and fitting to hold power rightfully, accountably, responsibly. By the time voting day comes around you will have already made your firmest decision upon receiving and holding down your ballot at your appointed voting precincts that your choices are indeed your choices after your own hearts and minds.

For national candidates who have already been campaigning since over a month ago, since February, you would have already by now been acquainted with them most probably from seeing them on television or hearing them on radio, their names being bandied about, repeated often enough, either from the administration group Hugpong ng Pagbabago or from the opposition coalition Otso Diretso. Make sure as the days go by nearer and nearer on voting day that you will have a working basic knowledge of each them, their names and qualifications matched with their faces so that there will be no time for confusion in your heart and in your mind come the reckoning time for you to exercise your power as a sovereign citizen of the country on whom you will repose your trust and confidence that in their hands they will be responsible and fearless wielders of legislative powers in the upper chamber of the Senate.

There will be twelve candidates for the Senate up for grabs this midterm elections and it is gravely important that the Senate remains free, fearless and independent to craft legislations of national significance unfettered of any dictation or blandishment from whoever is the president, especially from the incumbent president who happens to have the strongman streak to get whatever he wants. It takes moral courage, discernment and raw intelligence for the concerned voters to sift through the welter and confusion of political and economic issues and know which of these candidates will be working in their behalf, taking up their cudgels in the labyrinthine legislative process, in the lengthy and messy committee and plenary hearings and debates that is the hallmark of an independent and autonomous legislative branch in a three-party system of a republican form of government.

It is easy enough to say that all the senatorial candidates of the administration Hugpong ng Pagbabago, once they are elected - and we can almost be certain majority of them will be elected owing to the resources and influence of the administration - that they will always be beholden and at the beck and call of the executive in every pressing issues and concerns of the nation. For all we know, some of them will be true to the honor and dignity of the office, that they will stand for the nation, independent and unencumbered of any obligations or utang na loob from vicious partisan political or economic interests. It does not also follow that those from the Otso Diretso who get to slip through the winning circle will be expected to oppose any and all issues. Oftentimes most of the national issues are convoluted enough and need the crossing of party lines to come to a working resolution for the benefit of the majority. Take the case of the 2019 annual budget issue in both houses of congress that has been stalled for three months and has held hostage the much-needed appropriation and implementation of national development programs and projects to the detriment of the affected sectors.

As with the national candidates the same holds true for the local candidates. Choose any from among the contending groups whether from the administration or from the opposition party. It would sometimes happen that some of these candidates get to be included in the administration or opposition ticket because of the political dynamics but when they are already elected they get to manifest their true colors of really standing up for the welfare of the majority despite their being aligned in the majority or minority.

And so for the midterm elections, do not be stampeded to vote straight for the administration or opposition. Choose from any of them, cross party lines if your will and after having vetted and evaluated sufficiently for you to solidify your vote on election day, then you can vote easily and joyfully with no annoying baggage to bother you the day after because you will have known that in your heart of hearts you have performed your duty as a citizen and a sovereign particle of the republic in the endless oftentimes rambunctious onward building of the nation.