THE Philippine election is less than six weeks away. The momentum has been shifting to the Leni-Kiko campaign as evidenced by the jam-packed political rallies in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the growing number of endorsements that Vice President Leni Robredo gets from former government officials, military leaders, universities and colleges, businesses and business analysts, nongovernment organizations, and even more from sitting local officials in the towns, cities and provinces. However, there has been online buzz about pushing for an all-women power tandem with Leni Robredo-Sara Duterte Carpio. Sara is the incumbent mayor of Davao City, the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, sister of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, preceded by the father, and succeeded by her other brother, Sebastian Duterte.
Fellow Filipinos: if we are truly sick and tired of chronic corruption in the Philippines, if we are truly done with family dynasties that perpetuate the cycles of corruption from generation to generation, if we are truly serious and committed to finally fighting for and getting the honest, clean, good government that we deserve, then we need to vote not only for Leni Robredo for president, but also for her chosen and trusted public servant to be her vice president, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan.
This is one of the biggest and most consequential differences between the United States and the Philippines’ way of electing the top two positions of the Executive Office.
Here in the United States, we are voting for a ticket — a team. A vote for the president is also a vote for the running mate for vice president.
According to the White House website: “The primary responsibility of the Vice President of the United States is to be ready at a moment’s notice to assume the Presidency if the President is unable to perform his or her duties. This can be because of the President’s death, resignation, or temporary incapacitation, or if the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet judge that the President is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency.”
“The Vice President also serves as the President of the United States Senate, where he or she casts the deciding vote in the case of a tie. Except in the case of tie-breaking votes, the Vice President rarely actually presides over the Senate,” WhiteHouse.gov added.
The U.S. president also has the prerogative to assign a special role or mission to the VP to help fulfill their campaign promises to the people.
WHY does the U.S. vote for the President-VP as a team? Let us focus on the most important function/role of the VP that is true for both the U.S. and Philippine government: The VP is the second highest and second most powerful position in government, especially, God forbid, something happens to the president, the VP will take over as president.
Because the president and the VP are a team, then they share the same values and philosophy in governing, the same vision, platform and programs so that whatever happens to the president, the American people who have given them the mandate to govern will continue to fulfill the campaign promises the American people voted them for in the election.
Unfortunately, we do not vote the same way for our president and VP in the Philippines. Sadly, too, we vote based on personality, instead of vision and ideology and programs.
This is exactly why it is so easy for parties to merge, collapse, be renamed, and for candidates to jump from one party to another. It is a bata-bata type of Padrino politics. It is driven by political expediency and survival based on who is more popular with name recall, including those who capitalize on the surname or family brand.
Think about this: Public officials earn meager salaries and yet most of them live questionable lavish lifestyle. Why? There is money in politics, suggested by no less than the ousted dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, shared on video “The Kingmaker” by Sandro Marcos, son of Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos.
This is also why traditional politics and family dynasties are perpetuated, and those in power do not want to touch it because almost all of them benefit from this corrupt system. They already have their “people” in the corrupt system, they have protectors in the complicated labyrinth of those who serve not the people they vow to serve but their own personal interests — and they all benefit from it and would fight hard and break rules just to perpetuate the status quo.
You know how family dynasties work. They have been there for the longest time — generations after generations, doing the dizzying merry-go-round and musical chairs of positions they hold, keeping power within the family in both the national and local levels. Why? Because they are fully invested and reaping much return in this game of politics.
Perhaps most of them started with good intentions, but many of them end up being eaten up by the cancer of corruption in government because of the power vested upon them by the positions in government they hold.
That is the daunting part of Philippine political reality. However, let us remember that there have been times in our political history when the people decisively chose to elect a new kind of politician — those who live up to their role as true public servants. On the local level, we have the likes of Vico Sotto of Pasig who has unseated the Eusebios.
The same is now true in our national election.
This is what this PINK wave is all about. It is Leni bringing forth to public attention that we still have people like her and her chosen VP Francis Pangilinan who have proven to be true and genuine public servants with proven integrity and excellence through their years in public service.
Leni and Kiko never compromised the honor and dignity of the position entrusted to them by the voters in exchange for money, power and political survival. This is why they are able to give hope to people that this time things can really change for the better. This is why they are able to inspire volunteerism and service because of their own leadership by example. Because they bring out the best in people as they work toward a common goal.
Think about the importance of the choice of VP and how that may impact our collective aspiration to finally have a good and honest government that will truly serve the Filipino people, work in the best interest of our people, be transparent and accountable to us, protect and defend the Constitution and abide by the rule of law, and end corruption that has been plaguing our government bureaucracy from top to bottom to the detriment of the quality of life of the Filipino people.
Do not let any Trapo or member of a family dynasty like Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte Carpio corrupt this one chance we have in this generation because they will always be who they are.
Kiko Pangilinan is the only worthy VP to work with Leni Robredo to make #GobyernongTapat a reality, come what may.
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989. She was a news anchor, TV host and radio commentator and public service host for ABS- CBN and DZMM. She is now working on her advocacies independently, serving the Filipino audience using different media platforms. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos. Also on Twitter, Instagram: Gel Santos Relos