I’ll wait for October 8th

Published August 28, 2021, 12:09 AM

by Rj Nieto


RJ Nieto

Who’ll be the next president? That’s the question many of us are asking right now. While that’s a fair thing to ask, I believe it’s still premature to do so. Why? Because we don’t even know who’s running, except possibly for Senators Manny Pacquiao and Ping Lacson, who have already made their intentions plenty clear.

The deadline for filing of certificates of candidacy is on October 8th, and only then can we have pretty good idea of who’ll vie for the highest position in the country. Note the operative term “pretty good idea” because no less than the current president showed that it’s possible to have a last-minute, post-deadline filing via substitution.

At this point, I think it’s pointless to entangle myself with the political squabbles among and within various parties. More likely than not, one of them will drop out of the race even before it begins, so all the brouhaha of late may turn about to be much ado about nothing. And I hate wasting time.

The yellows are pretty much gone from the national scene so the race will almost certainly be administration versus administration. I heard that they recently held a launching of sorts in a couple of elite universities. For a group that badly needs support from the masses, good luck with that.

With the yellows out of the picture, I can afford to take a more neutral stance on the upcoming elections and hopefully make a more objective assessment of the candidates. It’s my vote, after all, and I am responsible for the choices that I make.

I have been actively observing Philippine politics for over half a decade, and I learned that voting for a president means voting not only for the presidential candidate, but also for all the people around him, as they are the ones that candidate will likely appoint to powerful positions in government. I also want to know the people who will rise with that candidate to Malacañang.

Aside from that, I also want to learn about their platform of governance.

Most of the potential presidentiables right now are too busy with infighting and politicking, and very few have actually forwarded any significantly discernible plan post-2022. I want someone who has a concrete plan on how to fix the country’s healthcare system, economy, and online infrastructure.

Motherhood statements won’t work anymore. I want someone who knows what should be done, has the political will to make it happen, and has the people to do it. I don’t expect another messiah, but I sure want someone who’s as close as possible to being one.

I cannot, for the life of me, vote for someone based solely on popularity. While strategic voting is a reality, I think that my decision should be a balance of brains and popularity. We should vote for someone with a sufficiently firm and brutally realistic grasp of the COVID-19 pandemic, international relations, economics, and organizational behavior, and not just one who doesn’t even know where Nepal is on the map.

Tapang and malasakit are good qualities, but I think it’s time to add more malino and charisma in the mix. Talino, because the next six years will be crucial in terms of national survival. And charisma, because we need someone who can uplift the spirits of this country that, given COVID-19, is reeling with fear of the future and the present.

In my personal opinion, the Duterte administration did quite well in quelling the drug menace that almost decimated the country. I will forever be grateful for that, especially since his war on drugs forced many of childhood friends to stop taking illegal substances and become more responsible members of society. I’m also happy with #BuildBuildBuild. At last, we have airports and roads and bridges that the country very badly needs.

I want a president who can continue what the good things that this administration has started, and add a bit more. I want an upgrade. This administration isn’t half bad, but it won’t hurt to dream of something even better.

But I can’t dream of voting for someone who won’t run in the first place, so I’ll wait for October 8th.

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