By GETSY TIGLAO
Remember that old adage about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Well, this supposedly defines insanity, and if we follow this logic, then many Filipino voters are going bonkers.
Based on the latest surveys, the leading candidates in the upcoming elections for the Senate are the same old faces — re-electionists, former senators, and an aging movie star or two.
Perhaps the only “fresh faces” to feature in the Magic 12 of the senatorial race are administration bets Bong Go (formerly Duterte’s special assistant) and Bato de la Rosa (PDP-Laban), who endeared himself to masses despite his short stint as chief of the Philippine National Police.
But Bato can’t afford to relax because nipping at his heels is former senator Mar Roxas (Liberal Party) who is once again trying politics despite his massive loss when he ran for president during the May, 2016, general elections.
The top senatorial bets for the midterms, according to the polls, are incumbent senators Grace Poe (Independent), Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista), Sonny Angara (LDP), Nancy Binay (UNA), and Koko Pimentel (PDP-Laban).
Also garnering strong support from registered voters are the former celebrities and/or members of political families aiming to return to the glory of the Senate: former senators Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Jinggoy Estrada, and Serge Osmeña.
So what’s wrong with electing the same people to the Upper Chamber? First off, it’s boring. Let’s be honest, who among you would like to hear former action star and stuntman Lito Lapid give a privilege speech? His record at the Senate is one of the poorest and weakest of any politician and yet the celebrity-obsessed voters keep voting him back.
If the same people are elected, then how can we expect any big changes in the Senate’s agenda, and in its legendary obstructionist ways? Remember, all senators feel they are “presidentiables” thus are always auditioning for the role instead of crafting laws that will actually help the country.
I’ll say it again: this is why we must adopt unicameralism under a parliamentary-federal system of government. We will save billions of pesos if we abolish the Senate and just have one parliament.
New people should be elected to the Senate, bright and brave ones who will prioritize cooperation with Congress in coming up with substantial legislation instead of feeding tabloid media’s hunger for controversial public investigations.
Filipinos love to criticize the traditional politicians with their penchant for pork barrel and the hiring of expensive consultants. But then they elect the same people and expect the political environment to be different. Insane.
I hope that the voters will look at the other names in the list of senatorial candidates and consider the unfamiliar ones, those who are new to the political scene but have the guts and intelligence to become good senators.
There’s an advantage to having new faces in the Senate. They will provoke change, and change is always good. Filipino voters have always taken the easy route of voting for familiar names, those people who they think they “know” because they’ve heard or read their names a thousand times in media.
By voting for fresh faces, Filipinos will start “shaking the tree,” so to speak. Our country has been in a rut for so long that only people with innovative ideas and radical personalities can provoke changes in government.
We did it in May 2016, and thus we saw a free tuition free law, free hospitalization, a fall in the crime rate, better salaries for soldiers and policemen, a cut in taxes, and a cleaner Boracay Island and Manila Bay. Let’s go different again in May, 2019.