Let’s elect the best candidates in Bohol and for the Senate.

A Boholano’s View by Jose “Pepe” Abueva

The Bohol Chronicle

May 12, 2013 

          Halalan 2013. For the good of our province and country, let’s make sure to vote for the best candidates to serve our own municipalities, Tagbilaran City, Bohol as a province, and each of our three congressional districts. Let’s also make sure we vote for the best 12 candidates for senator.

It’s fairly easy to choose the best local and congressional candidates because you know their performance and their strengths and weaknesses. The Bohol Chronicle has published reports on their qualifications and achievements.  

Beyond your personal knowledge of them, you know their reputation and their various activities via radio, television, and the newspapers. Surveys by Holy Name University report the popular standing of several of the candidates based on a representative sample of the voters  interviewed.     

Our personal relations with the candidates. In choosing whom to vote for among the candidates for a particular office we have various standards to guide us. Our personal relations with the candidates are often unavoidable. But we may combine these with other considerations.

Character and fitness of the candidates. These are reflected by the candidates’ reputation for competence or incompetence, honesty or dishonesty, fairness or unfairness,  helpfulness or indifference, health or physical disability, greater potential or lack of it. 

It is also suggested that we weigh and judge and compare candidates in relation to certain criteria associated with “good governance in a democracy.” 

Vision and ideal of “Good Democratic Governance.” Blending Filipino and international ideals and standards, we understand “good governance” in our aspiring democracy and modernizing society as manifesting the following features. We can consider the various candidates in relation to promoting “Good Democratic Governance.”

(1) A deeper sense of nationhood and national unity, a stronger commitment to and practice of spiritual values and secular morality, promoting the common good, and developing a modern outlook without losing our cultural heritage as a multicultural nation.

(2) Citizens’ participation in free and fair elections and in policy and decision-making made possible by an open, accessible and responsive government in a free society with a competent and responsible media. Citizens are empowered as they are freed from poverty, ignorance, and dependency on the political and business elite, and join political parties that are committed to democracy and a program of governance.

(3) Government leaders who have the political will to do what is necessary and urgent in terms

of policies and decisions, and basic reforms; and are responsive to the needs and demands of

empowered citizens.

(4) Effective and accountable political, economic, and social institutions, including political parties that mediate between the citizens and the government, and can hold the ruling political party accountable for the quality of its governance.   

(5) Transparency and accountability of government in response to the citizens’ will and their right to know (“the truth” in governance) as the sovereign in a democracy.

(6) The rule of law, honesty and fidelity of public servants, and the certain punishment of those who are unresponsive, abusive and corrupt.

(7) Efficiency in the exercise of power and authority to make the best use of scarce resources, including time especially.

(8) Effectiveness in providing the needed public services, solving problems, and achieving goals, all for the common good.

(9) The protection and enhancement of human rights and the fulfillment of social justice.

(10) Achieving ecological integrity and sustainable development (See Ledivina V. Cariño. “The Concept of Governance.” From Government to Governance: Reflections on the 1999 World Conference on Governance. EROPA, 2000.  pp. 1-16).

(11) Realizing “Pamathalaan,” the indigenous Filipino vision of governance:  “dedicated to the enhancement of man’s true spiritual and material worth”…”through leadership by example, reasonable management, unity (pagkakaisa) between the governors and the governed, and social harmony based on love (pagmamahalan) and compassion (pagdadamayan). (Pablo S. Trillana III. The Loves of Rizal, 2000. p. 179.)

Favored candidates in Bohol. In this column (April 14) I strongly supported the re-election of Governor Edgar Chatto as most worthy because of his track record as “a sensitive, progressive, modern, and transforming “servant leader.” He needs the support of his team of Vice-Governor Inday Conching Lim and the other Sangguniang Panglungsod members to be fully effective. Let’s support 1st District Representative Rene Relampagos and 3rd District Representative Arthur Yap (who is unopposed) who have already proved themselves well qualified. Either candidate in the 2nd District is qualified to be elected Representative. 

The irony of political dynasties. In this column (April 28, 2013) and in my Commentary in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Oligarchy in charge,” April 28, 2013) I made my stand against those self-serving political dynasties who keep our State weak, our people poor, and our country undeveloped. And I concluded by “asking President P-Noy to spearhead the needed strengthening of the Philippine State through Charter change and reform legislation.”

The irony is that President P-Noy needs transforming leaders who will support him in our proposal to change our presidential government to a parliamentary government and change our highly centralized unitary government to a system of autonomous regions and local governments in transition to a future Federal Republic. But among these transforming leaders are some candidates for the Senate on May 13 (tomorrow) who belong to family dynasties but are also eminently qualified to be elected. So I am personally endorsing their election.

We, the leaders and members of the new Centrist Democratic Party-Partido ng Tunay na Demokrasya, believe that now is the President’s best chance to become a truly transforming leader and leave a memorable legacy of his presidency. His continuing high approval and trust ratings make it possible for him to undertake the fundamental reforms needed. But he must begin to make the potential a reality soon, well before his term ends in June 2016. He has to persuade the Senate and the House of Representatives to support the vitally needed amendments to the Constitution.

First of all, the President must overcome his misguided resistance to institutional reform through Charter change that will strengthen our State, uplift the poor, and develop our country as never before. Mao kini ang “daang  matuwid” o tul-id nga dalan nga gusto natong tanan.  This is the righteous path that we all desire.

Please support the following candidates for the Senate. In my considered judgment, based on their individual qualifications and our country’s urgent need for basic institutional  reforms through Charter change, I respectfully endorse the election of: Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, Jr.; Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel; Paolo “Bam” Aquino; Alan Peter Cayetano; Cynthia Villar; Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara; Riza Hontiveros; Teodoro Casiño; Antonio Trillanes IV; Loren Legarda; Juan Miguel Zubiri; and Edward Hagedorn.

We need these leaders and others like them in the House of Representatives to support Charter change that will reform our political institutions to strengthen the State, empower and uplift our people from poverty, and modernize and develop our country.

Mabuhi ang Pilipinas

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