How wise voters will be?
Two days from now the Filipino electorate will elect the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte, a polarizing figure in Philippine politics—beloved by his believers; despised by his critics.
Participating in an election is a sacred act a Filipino citizen of voting age can do as it is the bedrock of liberal democracy.
Voting is an act that manifests the sovereign will of the people. That’s the ideal. However, for some voters, voting is like a business: an election is the season for some fleeting income, good only for a few days.
An election for some voters is an opportunity to earn by selling their votes or allowing themselves to be recipients of illegal vote-buying activities.
This could be why the Filipino electorate has been branded as immature by political experts. In 2001, then Commission on Elections commissioner Alfredo Benipayo branded the Filipino voters as immature, classifying them into three categories: those who have no clear grasp of the issues; those who do not know the candidates; and those who are typically apathetic.
Some voters could have lost faith in the Philippine electoral system, believing that their votes would not make a difference and changes would not take place in government, Benipayo was quoted as saying in a national daily report.
Twenty-one years later, the former election official’s words still ring true amid the ascendancy of social media where truth and fiction clash. Not-so-discerning voters certainly will fall to misinformation and disinformation that have permeated the social media world.
Where will the Philippines be six years from now? The answers depend on who will win the top seat at Malacañang, and if the winner has the answers for challenges that will surely come along the way.
How many mature voters will vote? How many are immature? How wise voters will be on Monday, May 9?