On mobilizing the electorate with a better political currency

By Atty. Anfred P. Panes

Imagine yourself one fine morning, sipping your piping hot cup of coffee. You open your phone and – as one routinely does – you access your social media account, and lo and behold! You are greeted by a surge of election surveys all over your news feed.

Despite our unnerving status quo and our nation still grappling with its COVID-19 response, some people have kept busy perpetuating themselves in public office. Presidential, Vice Presidential, and Senatoriable surveys have been sprouting everywhere, and, once again, the political engagement seems to be alive – with opinions full of unfounded assertions regardless of credibility or lack thereof notwithstanding the overwhelming and sometimes, surprising school of thoughts revising our history.  Facepalm. Nevertheless, it will always be part and parcel of our political discourses, no matter how frustrating it is.

This toxic fanaticism clouds one’s rational understanding of public service with proven results. It impedes one’s acceptance that a public servant is working better than the other just because he is wearing a different political coat. This is not how an intelligent electorate should think. We do not need popularity. We need output, integrity, competence, and sincerity in public service. These should have been our political currency – service, not idolatry.

The thing is that it is not simply a battle of political parties. When we see it as such, the endgame of democratic intelligence is near. We cannot defeat the genuine purpose of the election.

We have so long endured the inadequacy of political clientelism and patron-client relationship. And it got us to the seemingly endless years of corruption and scarce integrity in public office that we are now plagued with. A government that works is not a government that merely capitalizes on the problematic political ideology and investing therein as it equates to incompetence at the expense of the general populace.

We have to evolve more to be one whose understanding transcends beyond name recall, utang na loob, and popularity contests.  We should not see it as a Government vs. The Opposition.  It must be predicated on who has demonstrated competence in representing the Filipino interest, welfare, ideals, and the country’s sovereignty. It is about seeing action. It is about the government, no matter how minor the power it wields due to systematic obstruction, but showed results in public service delivery, transparency, accountability, and integrity in public service.

Lend a hand in achieving this united goal – participating in the election and exercising your fundamental right to suffrage is one way. Register to vote – if you haven’t. Choose the better candidate. Choose the one who is of true working leadership.

Atty Anfred P. Panes is the Founding Partner of A.Panes Law and Professorial Lecturer of the USA College of Law.