With the grueling, months-long campaign period over, all that is left to do is to decide.
That is what millions of Filipinos will do today as they troop to their designated polling places to cast their ballots. We hope—and trust—that they do so with some measure of intelligence, wisdom and forethought; that they aren’t swayed by campaign pap or mud or fake news, and that they can see clearly to vote for who, in their truly informed opinion, are the right persons to lead this nation, regardless of what anyone else—politicos, pop stars, pundits, or pollsters—says.
Could the election have been better organized?
Most assuredly. Certainly, we would have preferred to have seen and heard all the serious contenders for high office engage in a honest-to-goodness live debate on all the issues that affect our lives. As a measure of leadership under pressure for each of the candidates, this would have been ideal. This did not happen, however, and the last round of the presidential and vice presidential debates were canceled, overshadowed by questions about millions of pesos in unpaid hotel bills, and whether or not the poll body should have authorized the payment of those debts, incurred by its private debate organizer.
The absence of a credible, unfiltered debate platform left voters to fend for themselves, gathering what information they could from social media and traditional news sources—certainly not the best option for a head-to-head comparison of the candidates.
Still, we are a people accustomed to making the best of whatever is at hand. Bombarded from all sides with often conflicting information, we need to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction.
But elections are more than just making do—or they should be.
We do not want just any leader; we don’t want one that is just good enough. We want the best—the most intelligent, the most capable, the most hardworking, the most courageous, and the most honest one there is. That is the choice we have today—and we need to exercise that choice wisely.
Today is Decision Day, and our fates hang in the balance.