I should have voted for you.

I should have voted for you despite the fear of being labelled "bobo," of being accused of not using my head, of being brainwashed by surveys, of letting my emotions influence my better judgment.

I should have voted for you for your firm commitment to the Reproductive Health Bill. When Gibo made a turn around (is that what you would call may paninindigan?) to appease the Catholic Church and Villar claiming that it is not needed since we are not over populated, you stood your ground to empower women to make their informed choice, and respect the rights of everyone to make this choice.

I should have voted for you because among all those who are running, I know you are the one who has the determination and the capacity to bring GMA to answer to all her crimes. The reason why we have Erap and GMA is because we have failed to bring the Marcoses to justice. And unless our next president can bring GMA to justice, we will have the same cycle all over again. That is the reason why I will never vote for Gibo because a vote for him is a vote to acquit GMA of all her crimes. A vote for Gibo and Erap is like telling all the crooks and the corrupt that it is OK for them to continue what they are doing because the Filipino people can easily forgive and forget.

I should have voted for you because among all the candidates, I have my full trust that you are the one who would least likely steal from the public coffers. I know you will not use your position for personal gain, just like you did not use your privilege when Cory was president - so unlike Bong and Aimee Marcos, Jinggoy Estrada and the thick skinned Mikey and Datu Arroyo.

I should have voted for you because among all the candidates, you are the only one I know who would step down peacefully after six years in office. That I do not see in Gordon.

I should have voted for you because among all the candidates, you are the one who offers hope to more people. I have been working on the ground and I have seen how so many are putting their trust on you, how so many are finally looking to a better future, how so many wanted a government that they can trust again - and how they see that in you.

They say you have not accomplished anything, that you have not passed a single legislation. But let me tell you this, among all the senators of the 14th Congress, I have the highest respect for you. I will never forget how you stood for the Filipino people and the constitution when we fought the highly disadvantageous Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Among the 23 senators, there were only 4 of you who voted against an agreement that that is detrimental to our economy and environment and would sell our patrimony to the Japanese. Even our so called environmental champions Legarda and Pia Cayetano betrayed us on this. While everyone agreed that the agreement was unfair to us, that it was negotiated without our best interest in mind, you maintained that it should be scrapped or at least renegotiated when everyone was saying let's just go with it since we can't afford to piss off the Japanese.

Of course, I will not forget how you scrutinized the law that should be passed every year - our national budget.

They say you don't have a stand of your own, that you will merely be a puppet of your party and your relatives. That I strongly disagree with. Again, going back to the JPEPA, you have shown your being independent. The primary supporter of JPEPA was Roxas, your party chairman and yet you made a stand against his own position.

They say you're not mentally healthy. That I find insulting. I am insulted by the fact that they have the guts to "show" bogus psychiatric reports. Did they think that the Filipinos are that stupid? I am insulted by their insinuations that a person who went to a mental doctor is mentally ill for life. If that is the case, why is "that woman" still in the senate?

They say you are a reluctant leader. I say its a sign that you are not power hungry.

They say the Hacienda Luisita is your biggest crime. Well, we have to give it to them, you do have your faults in the HL issue. But I recognize the fact that you are just one of the many owners and that not all HL farmers have anything bad to say about you. Nonetheless, I will still hold on to your promise to distribute the land within 5 years. With Risa Hontiveros with you, I know that is possible.

They say that the surveys showing you are leading are biased, that you paid for it. That I do not believe. If surveys can be bought, Villar would have been leading by 40%. I have made my own surveys. Compare for example how many private vehicles have your sticker and that of the other candidates, its either most will vote for you or that many are ashamed to show their support for the other candidates. Or among the more than 200 taxi drivers I have talked to, more than half would vote for you. Or among the hundreds of Barangay Officials I have talked to, majority would not only vote but campaign for you.

I said I should have voted for you, but I didn't. Because I did not vote yet. I went to the precinct very early and yet I realize I am not yet ready to vote, so I went home to write this.

I would have voted for Nick Perlas too. It's between you and him, either way it would be a principled vote. But let me tell you why I will not vote for you.

I MAY not vote for you because I don't want to be a part of the destruction of your good name. The country puts so much hope on one person that I fear you will fail us. Our problems are so big and many no matter how good you are, you will not be able to solve all of them. You cannot erase poverty in 6 years. Most importantly, our problems are OURSELVES that no matter who the president is, unless we ourselves change for the better, we will not be able to accomplish anything.

And more importantly, I may not vote for you because I feel we do not deserve you. A country who will vote for Revilla and Lapid as top senators does not deserve a new symbol of hope. A country who will vote for Manny Villar for second place does not deserve an honest leader. A country that allows Erap and Bongbong Marcos to run does not deserve a president who will not screw us.

Now, I have to go back and cast my vote. Whether I vote for you or not, I am sorry.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas, 
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,  
Froilan Grate | GreenMinds


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