The leaders our country needs

Our motherland, the Republic of the Philippines, goes to the polls later this month to elect 12 senators as well as mayors, congressmen and other local government officials.

The Senate has been and always will be an important part of Philippine politics. It has been the breeding ground of presidents and has, until recently, earned an admirable reputation for independence.

We say until recently because the Philippine Senate of recent vintage has been home to quite a number of incompetent, uneducated and corrupt lawmakers.

We need not name names. Everyone knows of how three senators seeking reelection were charged with receiving millions of pesos in kickbacks from their pork barrel allocations, and of how one would-be returnee to the upper chamber of the bicameral Congress has a wife who is now incarcerated in the US for bringing in more cash than is allowed by law, the source of which she cannot explain.

Indeed, the Philippine Senate deserves better.

With this in mind, we at Philippine News are proud to endorse 12 candidates for the Senate in this month’s elections.

We start with the group known as Otso Derecho, a coalition of what is considered the political opposition. They are all intelligent, independent-minded, and true patriots who deserve to be in the Senate to make certain that there is a proper check and balance against potential abuses committed by the Duterte administration.

They are Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas, Erin Tanada, and Samira Gutoc. They have been impressive in the televised debates, standing head and shoulders over the pro-Duterte bets, most of whom cannot hold a candle to them.

Students of Philippine history are aware that Aquino, Diokno, Roxas, and Tanada are scions of former lawmakers from the golden age of the Senate when titans ruled the hallowed halls of Philippine Congress. Especially in the ‘50s and ‘60s, only the best and brightest minds could make their way to the Senate, and the Philippines was all the better by their presence alone.

The Otso Derecho bets will bring back the respect that the people once had for their senators. Of this, we are sure.

This is not to say that all the pro-administration candidates are unworthy. Far from it. There are a handful of bets who are not ashamed to admit that they are generally supportive of the current administration, or are even part of it. We have no doubt that once in the Senate, they will be beholden to the people and not to the administration, yet be supportive of whatever programs of Mr. Duterte that will redound to the common good.

We, therefore, also endorse the likes of JV Ejercito, Serge Osmena, Sonny Angara and Pia Cayetano. All have served in the Senate in the past, and all deserve a return as lawmakers.

With every election, the number of dual citizen FilAms who are registered voters back home grows. This year, we can safely say that the FilAm vote can make a difference between electing clowns and jokers to the Senate, or men and women who have much to offer and who will be a force for positive change in the land we call home.