Editorial: Who’s in your Senate list?-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
HAVE you chosen the 12 persons you want to send to the Senate this year? If you haven’t, you may be in the majority. As of late January, only 34 percent of 1,800 respondents told Pulse Asia that they already had a complete slate for their May ballot.
In Central Visayas, only 19 percent said they had found 12 people worthy of their vote. The average number of candidates this region’s survey respondents had decided to favor so far? Only six.
Campaign rituals, like the political rallies we are starting to see, are of limited help. More shows of force than electoral fitness, they demonstrate how well each party can orchestrate a large event. But good luck finding what each Senate candidate really stands for in all the broad and abstract promises that get bandied about in these events.
Before deciding whom to vote for among the Senate candidates, it may help to review who’s already in place. Of those elected to a six-year term in 2010, three belong to the administration’s Liberal Party (LP): Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto. Two belong to the Nacionalista Party (Pia Cayetano and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.), which is allied with the LP for this year’s elections. (How long this alliance holds as the 2016 presidential election approaches is anyone’s guess.)
The former administration coalition Lakas-Kampi has two incumbents in Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid. The most prominent opposition coalition at present, the United Nationalist Alliance, already has two senators in place: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada. Vicente Sotto III is with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Miriam Defensor-Santiago remains affiliated with the People’s Reform Party, and Serge Osmeña III is listed as an independent operator.
The problem with voting this way is that party affiliations offer very little predictability in this country.
A Senate dominated by parties sympathetic to the current administration may manage to enact important laws quickly. But a Senate without a critical opposition will also fail to protect us from misguided executive policy choices or, worse, abet tyranny or corruption.
A more time-consuming but potentially more effective way is to vote not along party lines, but in favor of candidates whose track records (more than their promises) are aligned with the issues we believe are important. Only by voting this way do we stand a chance of composing a Senate that will be more than a motley collection of aspiring presidents and political butterflies.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 20, 2013.