Cabaero: Choosing by rally numbers

·2 min read

It appeared to be a battle of participant numbers in the two huge campaign rallies in Cebu last week, or at least that was how many presented it, but choosing our next leader should not be dependent on who gets the biggest attendance.

There are voters who believe their vote should go to the sure winner or to the candidate who can draw the biggest crowd in a rally. That is wrong for many reasons.

It is not a cockfight where you place your bet on the one with the better chances of winning because you can get money. In a political race, you don’t get money if the popular one wins. Unless there is vote-buying or the promise of a million pesos, but that is illegal and unethical.

“Diri ta sa modaog” (We go with the winner) or “Daghan tawo sa ila rally, diri ta kay modaog ni” (Plenty showed up in the rally, let’s join them as their candidate will win). These were some of the justifications for going with the pack.

If you vote for the right candidate based on expertise and the qualities you envision for a leader, you and your family can have a better future in the hands of one who can do the job, transform the government, and inspire millions of Filipinos.

By “right” candidate there are criteria to use. Experience is one to check if the candidate has done executive work or has been in positions in the legislature or judiciary. Expertise in handling the economy, protecting our patrimony. Transparency and accountability to show no corruption, no hidden wealth. The personality to be open to all Filipinos, to take the job seriously, to be focused on the priorities, and the intention to fulfill what was promised during the campaign. All these attributes should inform a voter on who to vote this May 9, 2022.

What is important is that the choice be made after a process of reflection and by measuring candidates against these attributes, and not by going for the biggest crowd-drawer.

The Cebu rally of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio reportedly gathered a crowd of 300,000 based on a police count. The Thursday rally of Vice President Leni Robredo who is running for President and Senator Francis Pangilinan, candidate for Vice President, had a crowd size of 120,000 according to the police and 250,000 based on the organizer’s count. Robredo supporters disagreed with the police estimate while others pointed to the five other rallies or engagements in northern Cebu that Robredo and Pangilinan had before going to the big rally in Mandaue City.

The problem with choosing a candidate with the biggest number of rally participants is that popularity can be manufactured to cover inexperience, an unclear program of government, and dishonesty. Best to go with the candidate’s qualifications, expertise, and honesty.

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