NONE OF THEM DESERVE OUR VOTE
By Francisco S. Tatad
And here’s why:
- In 2006, the administration tried to abolish the Senate. Had they succeeded, all incumbent and future senators would have been “abolished.”
- Now reelectionist senators Ed Angara, Joker Arroyo and Ralph Recto are running on the same Team Unity (TU) ticket with Malacanang’s Mike Defensor, Butch Pichay, Chavit Singson and Miguel Zubiri, like long lost brothers.
- Former Senators Tito Sotto and Tessie Aquino Oreta, who once called Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a “bogus” President, are also running on the same ticket as Mrs. Arroyo’s candidates.
None of them can seem to find anything wrong with it. They can’t seem to imagine that decent people are simply outraged by it.
- The “Genuine Opposition” (GO) candidates are not any better either. Except for a couple or so, they were never oppositionist at all. They simply know the people are oppositionist, and they want to cash in on that sentiment. They never sought electoral reform as a precondition for participation in the elections; now, they are demanding absolute honesty from thoroughly dishonest men and a thoroughly dishonest process. They can’t seem to understand that in order for us to have an honest election, we must first have honest and morally upright candidates.
- The candidates have been very careful not to really offend the President they are supposed to oppose. More than that, none of them have taken a principled stand on the simplest moral issues affecting themselves or their friends.
- None of them have said it is wrong for Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Mike Defensor to be running for the Senate while Koko’s father (Nene), Alan Peter’s sister (Pia), and Mike’s aunt (Miriam) are sitting there until 2010.
- None of them have said it is wrong for senatorial candidates to spend tens or hundreds of millions of pesos, whether ill-gotten or ill-sourced, just to land a position that carries an annual salary of less than one million pesos.
- None of them have bothered to ask, where is all that money coming from? Who will own those candidates, whether or not they get elected? How will they rip off the government in case they win, just to recover their expenses?
- None of them have said it is wrong to have twelve senatorial candidates running against each other on the TU and GO tickets, but coming from the same parties. They do not even seem bothered by the fact that the press has said absolutely nothing about it, and that the voters may not even have heard that:
- The NPC has Oreta and Sotto in TU, and Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, John Osmena and Nikki Coseteng in GO. A total of six candidates.
- The NP has Recto in TU, and Senate President Manuel Villar and Cayetano in GO. Three candidates.
- The LP has Defensor in TU, and Noynoy Aquino and Sen. Francis Pangilinan in GO, although the latter has opted to do a solo. Three candidates.
Nothing like this has happened before, no matter how rotten our politics. It plunges our politics into the deepest rotten pit. The candidates themselves do not mind lying in the sewer, provided it does not affect their unearned ratings in all the manipulative “surveys”. But we have no reason to put up with it. We cannot and must not let them get away with it.
- A war has been thrust upon us. A war between the people and the politicians. Despite the fact that we may know or even like some of the candidates personally, they have failed in their basic duty as candidates, and we have no moral duty to get any one of them elected.
- Our duty is not to help the opposition get rid of the administration or vice versa. Our duty is to get rid of both. We must replace an entire class of political opportunists.
I do not advocate a boycott. Every voter has to vote.
- But I will propose that instead of filling up our ballot, we leave it blank or cross it with an “x”. Or write the names of the three Kapatiran senatorial candidates instead. This will be our way of saying, none of the TU-GO candidates deserve our vote.
- We may not be able to prevent 12 undesirables from being “elected.” But if the number of protest votes is significant, then none of them would be able to claim a real mandate.
- If on the other hand the number of protest votes exceeds the votes of those “elected,” then it means the majority of the electorate has rejected the candidates and the process has failed. We could then begin to consider the next steps.
May God be with us. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
The foregoing are excerpts from a recent speech delivered before the Rotary Club of
--Courtesy of Philippine Democratic Caucus