In the Philippines where Everybody Wants to Be President

The requirements of being a President of the Republic of the Philippines are as follows:

  • at least 40 years old and above;
  • a registered voter, single or married;
  • able to read and write;
  • a male or female Filipino citizen by birth; and
  • a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding election

As long as you meet the minimum requirements, you are allowed to file your Certificate of Candidacy and be included as one of the official candidates of being the President of the Philippines unless the Commission on Elections (Comelec) strikes you out as a nuisance candidate.

This coming 2016, the Republic of the Philippines will be having its Elections for almost all electoral posts in the government, and that includes the Presidency. Over the past few days of October, Comelec has already opened its acceptance of Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) and a lot of people lined up and they are not the popular ones.

Aside from the popular ones such as Grace Poe, VP Binay, Mar Roxas, Sen. Santiago who have all declared their bids for Presidency in front of a massive audience with nationwide media coverage, there were other people who filed their COCs as well. You can label them as nuisance candidates because fact of the matter is, Comelec will strike those names out before December 11. The fact is, this the exercise of democracy!

Everybody here wants to be President even if they aren’t 40 years old yet. In a simple measure such as the filing of COCs, people already are one step ahead of fulfilling that aspiration. How about we try and see things in their perspective? What pushes them to run for President? These are people with different stories, different backgrounds, different principles, different goals.

We can laugh and label them as nuisance candidates, but the fact is, they do want change in this country. They simply are not contented of status quo, and would want to make that change themselves. They cannot trust change in the hands of the others, but would want to change it firsthand. Do we call them crazy for filing their COCs? I don’t think so not unless your principles are illogical like legalizing the four seasons or bringing Nazis to the Philippines.

We laugh at them because they are regular citizens. Who do they think they are? Running for President without prior experience thinking that it’s an easy task. It’s funny, though, how the only thing that separates them from regular candidates is the familiarity and the campaign funds. Nancy Binay won a seat in the Senate even without prior experience by banking on her last name and the UNA Party. Case in point: Corazon Aquino won her Presidency by banking on her murdered husband and the need for restoring democracy to the land!

Fact is, some of these people are victims of injustice. Injustice that was never publicized by the media. Injustice that is usually ignored by people because we have more things to prioritize. These are people who also have their stories to tell, who also have the need for restoring the greatness of what the Philippines was, who feel the need to fix things. Are they the qualified people to do so? Maybe? Not quite? It’s something that only they and a few could understand. Haven’t you noticed that they keep on saying that they represent the typical citizen — the ordinary Filipino? Maybe it’s because the ordinary Filipino isn’t actually represented by our government.

Before we laugh at these people, we look at the country today. If we see a lot of people running for President, we try to understand why they’re doing this. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that the country amidst economic progress is still in a slump. We try to understand that there are millions more who want to run for President but are too meek to file their COCs, too logical to know that they don’t have the funds to launch a nationwide campaign, too scared to go up against the gargantuan machinery of established personalities.

Like it or not, the Philippines is a politics of personalities. If we build their brand enough for the country to know and understand them, then they might not be the nuisance candidates we perceive them to be.

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