Based on various surveys and polls, Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino are ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, people, especially the undecided, are being swayed by the numbers and are jumping on the bandwagon, trimming down their choices for the next President of the country to the two aforementioned aspirants.
One of the reasons that explains this phenomenon is that people believe that the other seven candidates running for President will lose anyway (due to lack of supporters), so instead, they vote for someone who can actually win this thing. A recent conversation with several taxi drivers, security guards and a communications officer for a prominent foundation shows that a lot of people have this kind of thing going through their mind.
After watching numerous forums on TV, listening to several interviews on radio and reading various articles on newspapers and websites, I'm not one to simply go with the flow without even looking at possible alternatives. I do have a knack for deviating.
Outside of Villar and Noynoy, there are seven candidates, and with a closer look, three of them might actually be more of a fit for the Presidency than the guys in yellow and orange.
We already know who they are but here's quick rundown and recap of the Presidential aspirants. Hope I wrote down something that could be useful for all the voters out there.
WILD CARDS. Though not as unknown as the Nuisance Candidates, they still lack the resources and appeal to topple Villar and Aquino. But with a stroke of luck and some sort of gimmick, this people could give the top two candidates a run for their money.
Jamby Madrigal - Ja-ja-ja-Jamby. That jingle still brings back memories of a time when Judy Ann Santos was endorsing this candidate. And heck, that celebrity helped her win a seat in the House of Senate. Just shows how huge Juday's fan base is. Jamby is best remembered for voting against the E-Vat law (take that Recto) and for being part of Hayden Kho's proceedings (uhm, care to whisper?). For the most part of her political career, I think Jamby was decent lawmaker. And by decent, I mean average. You don't hear a lot of bad stuff about her and she got some work done from time to time. However, she doesn't command the attention that could help her win as President. Heck, she could stay in the Senate for a few more years to turn into a household name and still lose. Just look at Miriam Defensor-Santiago. She made a lot of heads turn during the height of her career and still came up short during the 1992 Presidential Elections.
- Because of his political feud with PGMA, I can't help but think that the verdict on Erap was somehow influenced by Pres. Arroyo, after all, the Chairperson of Sandiganbayan was Hon. Teresita Jose Leonardo-de Castro, a PGMA appointee; and
- The media's reports of his gambling and drinking problems, jokes regarding his inability to speak fluent English and the so-called People Power II made the public prejudge Erap as a bad leader, and again, this somehow affected his image badly.
I think it's also worth mentioning that the people who forced Erap to step down from power weren't the masses. It's the people from the middle-class up to the elites. And like what my good friend, Jaymee Carlo Ebreo, once told me, it's inappropriate to call the upheaval against Erap EDSA II since all the elements present in the original EDSA Revolution weren't present during the ouster of Erap. And with that out of the way, the pros and cons of Erap:
Pros: Don’t get me started with his educational background – it's not that good. However, for someone who did not do well in school, he did a good job in his attempt to improve education and schools in the Philippines. During his tenure as mayor of San Juan, he renovated and built lots of schools. As President of the Philippines, he raised the wages of teachers. Aside from infrastructure development, Erap seems to be the only President who had succeeded in neutralizing the MILF. And since Erap was ousted, there's this sense of urgency to redeem himself from the eye of his critics and of course the Filipinos, so you get the feeling he's out there to prove something. I also like the idea to legalize Jueteng. It's a good source of funds for the government and takes the money away from the part-time Jueteng Lords (who are either full-time War Lords, Drug Lords, Gang Leaders or Syndicate Chiefs) who will just use the money from the game for some other dastardly activity.
Cons: Not the most educated man in the archipelago. Also an alleged drunkard and gambler.
So there you have it. I think these three guys should be the ones jostling for Presidency instead of Villar and Noynoy. The good thing about our democracy is that it allows us to select our leaders. So it's not a wise idea to simply use this opportunity to support someone who is liked by a lot of people, can afford a lot of TV ads and has the ability to win. We have to study our options carefully, and who knows, if you do your share to persuade people to vote for the candidate who we think is rightful for the title of President of the Philippines, he or she just might win. After all, come Election Day, the stats, surveys or polls don't matter no more because it's our vote that decides who gets to lead the country. -Just one man's opinion, Marlone Viardo