This has been one of the most divisive and shenanigan-filled election campaign seasons ever, and politics is normally crazy in this country so that's saying something. There's a strong use of social media this time around, and it's led to the internet being a hotbed of opinions and propaganda and memes and lies and half-truths and threats of violence. I was hoping greater citizen involvement via social media and the debates would mean citizens have more information and thus would get to be more discerning, but it seems that things have only gotten worse. Hopefully we'll get there someday, but it doesn't look like that day is soon.
The presidential race has been particularly difficult, I would generally say this is the worst crop of candidates we've had since I started voting. I cannot find any clearly acceptable candidate, all of them have their own trade-offs. For the discerning voter, it's a matter of which trade-offs you are willing to accept and live with. In fact, at this time, I am still unable to finalize my choice. I will probably decide who I will vote for president when I wake up in the morning on the morning of election day itself. That being said, for sure I will not vote for Binay (should be self-explanatory) or Duterte (risk of instability, too many things I disagree with, including character, foreign policy, diplomacy, etc). For both of the above choices, I feel that the worst-case scenario is significantly worse than the other three.
Grace Poe, I do not like mainly due to her inexperience, she has the most variance among the remaining candidates. Difficult to predict what happens with a presidency under her, although one can assume it will be reasonably similar to Roxas. I am not actually too concerned with her having been an American citizen (I am not very nationalistic in that regard), and if the SC says she can run, fine (with reservations). I will probably vote for her if I wake up feeling like I want to try to prevent my two negative choices from winning.
Mar Roxas, for all his faults, actually has a reasonable track record (I did vote for him as VP in 2010 on the strength of that record after all). He however suffers the misfortune of working under an administration that despite it's accomplishments, has exhibited poor judgment and poor leadership at certain points over the past six years. As a regular commuter, I am also personally very annoyed at how the administration has handled the traffic situation in Metro Manila (although as one of the other candidates has pointed out, it is a difficult problem that may not be resolved in six years). A vote for Roxas is kind of a safe bet, we can easily assume that his administration will perform similarly to how the previous administration did: some bad spots in leadership, with some accomplishments along the way. It also means living with the traditional politics of the Liberal Party. I will probably vote for Roxas if I wake up feeling neutral or positive (if I wake up with any hate or anger or annoyance, I will vote one of the other two haha)
Miriam Defensor Santiago, my main issue is her endorsement of Marcos, which for me is a non-starter. That I'm even still considering her for this slot is a testament to how shallow the pool is. She's brilliant and has an excellent track record, and her administration would probably be the most unconventional among the three. She is however, very much a political animal, with her own history of poor political choices here and there. I will probably vote for her if I wake up feeling hipster or contrarian.
If I wake up feeling like I cannot stomach any of the above choices, I will shade in Roy Seneres on the ballot (virtual abstain)
Okay, that was the tough part. The rest of the choices are relatively easy.
For Vice President, there is no other choice but Leni Robredo. Full disclosure: My uncle is married to the sister of the late Jesse Robredo, so my family is strongly in favor of Leni anyway (last weekend one of my visiting relatives told me I should be campaigning for her more :p). That being said, I've never met her myself, although my parents have. My choice is based on what I see and hear about her compared to the other choices. Her track record is not as extensive as the others, but her character is unquestionable, and she has been involved in grassroots community work even before she entered public service, and she has had a productive term as congresswoman.
For the Senate, just a quick run through:
- Risa Hontiveros -- I voted for in 2010, still voting for her now.
- Lorna Kapunan -- a newbie, but given one of the likely winners of the presidential race, we will need more Human Rights advocates in the senate
- Ina Ambolodto -- some representation for our Mindanao/Muslim brethren. She was recommended by Jesse Robredo to be part of his team in the DILG, a big plus for me
- Leila de Lima -- for Justice! Not afraid to go up against influential groups
- Francis Pangilinan -- reasonably good track record, focus on agriculture
- Joel Villanueva -- on the strength of his TESDA track record
- Sherwin Gatchalian -- I still associate him with some text spam ads during the previous elections, but multiple people have vouched for how he has improved things in Valenzuela, so I'll give him a chance
- Rafael Alunan -- reasonably good track record during the Ramos administration. As a Duterte supporter, he is also my concession to their camp; as an intelligent man I hope he can help keep the mayor's baser instincts in check should he become president
- Dick Gordon -- he's not perfect, and I disagree with his stand on a number of issues, but if I was willing to vote for him as president in 2010, there's no reason not to vote for him now as a Senator where he would have less power
- Roman Romulo -- focus on education. He's only here because I'm a sucker for his political ad haha. He also has a reasonable legislative record focused on education
- TG Guingona -- filling out the slots with a couple of re-electionists. #11 and #12 are soft slots, they are more likely to change depending on my mood during election day. Both of these guys seem to have reasonable track records and I don't mind re-electing them.
- Ralph Recto -- see above.
For party-list, once again I'm voting for AGHAM. I always heavily favor science and education, because playing Civilization taught me that it's difficult to keep up with other civs if our science % is too low haha.
For mayor and vice-mayor, I will grudgingly vote for Bautista and Belmonte, who are running virtually unopposed anyway. I'm not too happy with HB and some of his shenanigans, but Quezon City is doing fine anyway.
For congressman, I will abstain. Kit Belmonte is running unopposed, but I have no idea of his track record, might as well abstain. I do not know the candidates for councilor either, so I will not vote for any councilors either.
Things can still change between now and election day, but more or less this will probably be the slate I'm voting for. Despite the fact that I enjoy seeing the shenanigans unfold, I'm tired of this election season and looking forward to it being over just under a week's time. I'm sure that won't be the end of our political circus (far from it), but I expect the toxic atmosphere online to at least maybe lighten up even just a little bit. Hopefully?
Edit: I was told that I take my votes too seriously. Cannot deny haha. Here's my 2010 post for reference.