A mat­ter of ma­tu­rity

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

TWO com­plaints have so far been raised af­ter the com­ple­tion of the fil­ing of the cer tifi­cates of can­di­dacy (COC) for the May 2019 elec­tions. One is about mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties again wreak­ing havoc on the choices in con­gres­sional dis­tricts and lo­cal gov­ern­ment units and the other is about old politi­cians fil­ing COCs in­stead of go­ing to pas­ture.

In­deed, a ma­jor prob­lem in our elec­toral setup is that vot­ers are placed at the mercy of the first phase of an elec­tion, the fi­nal­iza­tion of the list of can­di­dates. This phase is cru­cial be­cause it de­ter­mines whether a re­ally good leader can be had by a cer­tain ju­ris­dic­tion af­ter these can­di­dates are voted on.

The ma­neu­ver­ing by politi­cians ac­tu­ally starts here when the ca­pac­ity to wage an elec­toral cam­paign trumps all other con­sid­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. This is where mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties and po­lit­i­cal vet­er­ans, in­clud­ing the very old ones, get a chance to pre­vail. This is also the phase where good lead­ers lose the de­ter­mi­na­tion to run in an elec­tion.

In the 2019 elec­tions, an in­cum­bent of­fi­cial who was plan­ning to run for a higher post and chal­lenge the one at the top was wooed by the lat­ter to be his run­ning mate in­stead. The one at the top knew that the in­cum­bent who was plan­ning to chal­lenge him would be a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent.

Suf­fice it to say that the in­cum­bent of­fi­cial went on to file his COC and he and the top of­fi­cial are ranged against each in next year’s polls. At least the vot­ers in the ju­ris­dic­tion where the two of­fi­cials are run­ning are be­ing given a good choice. Imag­ine if the top of­fi­cial had his way: vot­ers wouldn’t have had any other choice but to vote for him.

How many times have we, as vot­ers, viewed the list of can­di­dates for a cer­tain po­si­tion and ended up choos­ing the lesser evil? We are forced to do that be­cause there are in­stances when all the can­di­dates are evil of sorts. This is sur­pris­ing be­cause of the mil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing in a cer­tain ju­ris­dic­tion, there should have been hun­dreds of thou­sands more de­serv­ing of a per­son’s vote.

Yet even when a more de­serv­ing young can­di­date is able to run, vot­ers also do not grab the chance to make him or her win. Which brings us to the main prob­lem: vot­ers’ lack of po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity.

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