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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Inspired Choices For 2016

Let me be the first to congratulate all the almost-sure winners of the current Magic 12 for the Senate.

I will admit that I did not vote for a single one of them, because I had two basic guidelines in eliminating candidates as "nuisances" - (1) if they are reelectionists, because I believe they already had their chance or (2) if they are part of a political dynasty. As Prof. Solita Monsod pointed out, places where dynasties are entrenched have some of the highest poverty rates. This is aside from it being unconstitutional, and the lack of checks and balances once members of the same clan are in power at the same time, or holding a post in succession.

Based on the winners for this election, I would like to propose that the following "personalities" consider my suggestions in preparation for 2016, another electoral year for our (relatively) young democracy.

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Grace Poe should waste no time in capitalizing on her performance - not one, not a single one, of the survey firms doing pre-election surveys ever projected her to top the race for the Senate, and she is doing so spectacularly, with at least a million votes ahead of usual topnotcher, senator Loren Legarda, who cried on TV over accusations about her alleged SALN discrepancies. Poe (who wisely dropped her married name) can test the waters if she decides to run for the VP post in 2016. (She can resign from her senate term, which is for 6 years.) Strike while you are number-one hot.

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As of writing, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao seems to be a shoo-in for reelection as representative, and his wife will also win as vice-governor. It left me wondering why, as a budding dynasty, they let Manny's brother run, instead of their most media-friendly member who is already known nationally, Mommy Dionesia! Her ballroom dancing skills will certainly be at par with other politicians doing the Gangnam, Harlem Shake, or Gentleman, and we all know on-stage dancing is an absolute necessity to be elected in this country. Her frank demeanor will certainly spell Every Person-slash-makamasa, which former President Erap Estrada has fully utilized to endear him to voters. (Not incidentally, he has been proclaimed the new mayor of Manila.) She can just zoom right for the Senate; after all, Nancy Binay did, who is currently ranked number 5 in the Senate race.

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Nancy Binay (who, like Poe, shrewdly discarded her married name) should also capitalize on her newfound popularity. Since her father, current Vice President Jejomar Binay, has made no bones about wanting the country's top post in 2016, she can probably present herself as his running mate, since both have been proven to pull in votes, and both have stated that they are quite alright with political dynasties. (Actually, they didn't need to be asked their stance there, since Nancy's brother looks set to retain his post as mayor of Makati, and sister Abigail has the same fate as representative. There is an obvious "magic" where the Binay brand is concerned.) If she decides to run as VP, she would have to give up her Senate seat, but that's where Nancy's mom can come in, herself a one-time mayor of their bailiwick, to take her vacated Senate slot. That way, they can truly embody the notion that political dynasties - like everything else - are more fun in the Philippines! (A tie up with the Department of Tourism is begging to be conceptualized.)

Senators Trillanes and Honasan look set to keep their positions as senators, so it might be prudent to form a political party based on rebellions, coups and hotel lobby crashers, because their performance means that voters aren't averse to what they did before running for the Senate, it might mean the opposite! A party that has for its basis continuous revolts in various shapes and forms, something that will appeal to those who read it as nationalistic. The opportunity is just there, they should take it.

Buhay has topped the names of party list contenders, and it may be time for them to dismantle that silly constitutional provision that says that the separation of church and state is inviolable. Their current standing in the party list race gives them the "moral right" to do so, if they choose to read it as "people want a theocracy, if they voted us into power." Of course, they will encounter opposition from various sectors who value democracy, but what do they know? Bakit, number one ba sila sa botohan? They can rub that question all the way to 2016, and if that happens, priests, ministers and other religious folk need not resign in order to take part in elections as candidates. No need to field lay people or organizations whose underlying thrust is to advance religious tenets, if theocracy becomes our form of government.

Instead of fighting each other, all scions of political dynasties should form one party. Since we are a country with no real political party based on ideology, you will notice that political dynasties/families form a chunk of the two major "parties" in this election. It seems silly, then, to be on opposite sides of the fence, because no matter which "party" you belong to, as long as you are part of a political dynasty, you are assured of your seat in government. Seriously, for 2016, the Comelec should just identify a candidate as either PD or DC - for Political Dynasty or Disabled Candidate (as in disabled by lack of political funds, insignificant name recall, running on principle/platform). I'm all for keeping things simple.

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The Villar power couple (as of writing, Cynthia Villar was at number 10 in the Senate race) should be proud for being senators at the same time, so for 2016, they should field all their children as senators as well. They can run under a Pro-Family slogan, but this is, of course, in a literal sense, promoting their own family only. What an achievement that would be if they all could sit at the same time, I've never heard of such a thing happening, where parents and all children occupy the same position in government, but they should take it as a challenge! We must let Pinoy Pride be the battle cry to set new heights worldwide - we've conquered singing, now we have to take the world political stage by storm and show them how we do it here!

I used to think that education and citizen empowerment were the keys to having an informed, critical electorate. But having gone through several of these exercises, we seem content in voting the same person, name or family  over and over again, though we do make room for artistas and athletes. Let's short circuit the process because with each election, my fervent hopes for this country keep getting dashed violently, repeatedly, and terminally, against the rocks of apathy, inability to think of the far-future, and mindless entertainment.

In that way, we can all do our nails or take a local trip come election day on 2016. You know, because we already know who will win, anyway.

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