Americans and Fil-Ams are lucky. In a few days, the US midterm elections will be history. For the most part, winners will be humble in victory and losers magnanimous in defeat. This is how it should be.
There will be very few accusations from sore losers that they were cheated.
Not so in the Republic of the Philippines.
We in the homeland have many months to go, but already election fever has started to heat up, and it looks like it could get really dirty, if not violent. Nothing new there.
The hateful dynasties will still rule, and we hapless voters will have no choice but to pick the lesser evils.
As an example, as a Makati City resident I have the choice of voting for incumbent Mayor Abby Binay who is being challenged by her own brother, former mayor Junjun Binay. The latter has been convicted of plunder, but is out on bail pending his appeal.
The evidence is so strong against the male Binay that I have to wonder why anyone would vote for him.
The siblings are reportedly not on speaking terms, which doesn’t change the fact that they will always listen to their father, former vice president Jejomar Binay. When the dust settles, the stranglehold of the Binay family over the city that happens to be the business capital of the Philippines will continue.
In nearby Taguig-Pateros, we have one of the oddest cases of all, one that clearly exposes the ridiculousness of political dynasties refusing to let go of power.
Former foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano is running for congressman in one of its two districts, while his wife is running for the same post in the other district.
This is wrong on multiple levels. A candidate must be a resident of the district or city he or she is running in. Mr. and Mrs. Cayetano are not separated, which presumes that they are living as husband and wife in one household. Yet they are running as residents of two separate districts.
What gives? The Cayetanos give gibberish arguments for the obvious discrepancy and expect everyone to agree with them. Or at least the voters of Taguig-Pateros.
While there are many interesting races in the local government level, it is the senate race that is of interest to most. Voters have to elect 12 senators, and as of last count there were around 50 or so serious candidates.
Some may be nationally known such as former Philippine National Police chief Bato dela Rosa, special assistant to the president Bong Go, and ageing folk singer Freddy Aguilar, but their chances of winning are pretty slim.
A few reelectionists are shoe-ins to return to the Senate, such as Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar. Imee Marcos is also a probable winner, God knows why.
Three bets who I will definitely not vote for are the trio of senators – Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce-Enrile — who have been incarcerated for their role the PDAF scandal, where they received huge kickbacks for granting their pork barrel allocations to non-existent public works projects.
Just like junjun Binay, they are allowed to run because their convictions are not final and executor. But in my book, only men and women who have lost their senses will waste their votes on the PDAF 3.
The senate candidates whom I will vote for – this is not an endorsement as I have no connections of any kind with any of them – are the eight bets from the Liberal Party, one oppositionist who should have been included in the LP line up, and a few pro-Duterte administration possible Senate returnees.
The eight from the LP are Mar Roxas, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Erin Tanada, Romulo Macalintal, Pilo Hilbay, Gary Alejano, and Sam Gutoc. I wonder why Neri Colmenares was not included, but I am guessing that he is too much of an independent to take part in party politics.
This leaves three spots that I need to fill. Although there is no law that says voters have to choose 12 senate candidates, I don’t want to waste my vote by picking less than a dozen.
I’m inclined to vote for pro-administration bets Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, and maybe, just maybe, JV Ejercito.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and May 13, which is when I join millions of Filipinos in casting their votes, hopefully without any hitches. Until then, I can only watch and wait, and enjoy the silly show that is Philippine politics.