Today marks the beginning of the campaign season for candidates to national posts in the 2016 elections.
This means that candidates for president, vice president, senators and party-list groups will begin explicitly asking the people to vote for them—as if they have not been doing that already for months, albeit in more guarded terms.
Right after the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy late last year, government officials have been at best performing their jobs half-heartedly. Their sights are trained on how they can secure their seat in May.
Beginning today, the candidates will court our votes in earnest and try to convince us it will be worth our while to choose them over their opponents.
But what determines a decision to pick this candidate and not the other one?
We often complain about our leaders well into their elective terms, setting aside the fact that we ourselves helped put them where they are. The cliché is that we get the leaders we deserve. The truth is that we must work hard to deserve good leaders.
How do we work hard? First, we must set standards. List down the qualities and the qualifications we want to see in someone occupying a particular post. What is the background and track record? What has been done and what will most likely be done? Identify which of these are negotiable and non-negotiable.
If in doubt, devise perhaps a scoring system that would assign values and that would facilitate the decision-making process.
And then, subject each of those fancy talkers to the standards we have set. See if the numbers add up.
Keep track of who do and do not show up for debates where they are forced to utter more than practiced lines.
Candidates’ handlers are schooled in the psychology of what makes certain products tick. They apply exactly the same principles on their clients. They know Filipinos tend to be guided by emotions and instinct rather than logic. They exploit this to their clients’ advantage.
That is them doing their jobs, but let us do ours, as well. Given the way we have been led and misled so many times, we should stop complaining and begin firming up our demands.
And then perhaps the campaign would not be the song-and-dance routine for which we have come to despise it.