“Elections are based on rank, not on a fixed number,” NAMFREL’s Guillermo Luz said. “By abstaining, you’re making it easier for other people to enter the Magic 12.”
Of course, a lot of people are going around self-righteously proclaiming that a) they’ll fill up only x number slots in the ballot because the senatorial choices are pathetic, b) they’ll leave all the ballot slots blank as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics, c) they won’t vote at all as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics, or even d) they didn’t register at all as a protest on the sorry state of Philippine politics (but those last ones I think are just apathetic).
I’ve always gone the “a” route myself, and I’ve been chewing the heads off of those people who didn’t even bother to register – it’s your right, how could you not even care, don’t you know that bad leaders are elected by good people who don’t vote, yada-yada-yada – but now I realize that due sympathy should also be accorded to those people who are intending to exercise their right to vote and exercise it intelligently, but cannot for the life of them choose 12 fully deserving candidates. People like, well, me. And maybe you.
There are more or less 80 candidates for the 12 senatorial slots, according to this list at least, enough to fill the ballot 6 times over, but how much do we really know about these candidates? Are we even making an effort to find out? What are the bases of our choices?
Mika forwarded me this file (senatoriables-2007.doc) listing the profiles of the 24 candidates from the Genuine Opposition and Team Unity slates. It’s not a comprehensive list of course, and I know that you can’t always take it at face value even if a candidate proclaims that he’s pushing for this and that advocacy or have voted for this and that law, but it’s a start. I’m not naïve enough to assume that I will be able to confidently fill up the 12 slots in my ballot with the most deserving candidates, but I’m definitely going to try.
image from http://www.bagongbotante.com