"We need to go into the voting booths with independent, unconditioned minds."
The nearly 62 million Filipinos who are eligible to cast ballots in the coming election basically have two options where the election of 12 new senators is concerned. Both options involve the exercise of free will on the voters’ part.
One of the voters’ two options is to allow their minds to be conditioned—I believe that this is the appropriate word under the circumstances—by the results of the pre-election voter preference surveys that have been conducted by this country’s leading polling institutions, SWS (Social Weather Stations) and Pulse Asia. The surveys essentially seek to arrive at a so-called ‘magic 12’ list of the dozen candidates regarded by the surveys’ respondents as likely to win election as senators. Pulse Asia has just released the results of its penultimate senatorial-preference survey.
If the voters choose to exercise this option and allow the polling institutions to condition their minds, they will resign themselves to place on their ballots, come May 13, the names of seven re-electionist and returning senators (Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Lito Lapid, Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Koko Pimentel and Nancy Binay), two showbiz personalities with judicial issues (Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada) and the endorsees of President Rodrigo Duterte (Christopher Go, Ronald de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino).
If the voters were to allow their minds to be conditioned, if they were to take the SWS/Pulse Asia route to their selection of senators, it would be “game over” for the rest of the 62 aspirants for Senate seats. What, then, would be the point of the non-Magic 12 candidates’ presentation of personal and professional credentials, the laying out of their platforms and the discussion of issues and programs of better performance? The whole business of selecting 12 good men and women might as well be left to the mind conditioners, namely, SWS and Pulse Asia.
But things do not have to be that way. The nation’s 62 million voters—the youth, the middle-age folk and the seniors—have another option—a better, more sensible option.
That other option is for the voters to totally ignore the polling institutions’ Magic 12 lists and draw up their own Magic 12 lists. Instead of Magic 12, their own lists would be composed of the Best 12. No non-performing re-electionist and returning senators, no showbiz personalities with no judicial problems and no Malacanang endorsees. Just meritorious, industrious, independent-minded and God-fearing folk. The kind of individuals who will bring the Senate back to its glory days.
The voters should resist the Magic 12 lists’ intended mind-conditioning, instead take a look at the other meritorious men and women seeking Senate seats and then proceed to draw up their Best 12 lists. It should not be difficult to complete a Best 12 list. There are many deserving men and women besides the 12 in the SWS and Pulse Asia lists. For starters, there are the Otso Diretso candidates; there are eight fine individuals right there. And there are others.
This country’s voters should, nay must, elect their leaders themselves. They should not let SWS and Pulse Asia perform that task for them. On May 13, voters need to go into the voting booths with independent, unconditioned minds.