03 May How to Choose the Right Presidential Candidate – The Top Qualities of a Good President that You Should Look For
It’s that time of the season again, and sorry to say, we’re not talking of Christmas. It’s that season again that we elect our new so-called “leaders” into the high positions of president, vice-president, and 12 senators. There are also local positions for representatives, party-list representatives, governors, mayors, vice-mayors, and councilors. But the most crucial of all is the position for president since he (or she) will be leading the country over everyone else.
Surprisingly, even among Filipinos who have somewhat selected their president, an estimated 30 to 40 percent of voters remain undecided which president to vote for. Some are taking a wait and see stance to see if any presidential candidate makes a “super move” or “super promise” that can sway voters. Some are yet to be convinced of the presidential candidate’s platform, given the penchant for mudslinging in Philippine politics. And yet others are torn between two or more candidates who look somewhat promising and yet are left in doubt and limbo over their actions.
Let us remember that elections are not just about the candidates. It is about the electorate, the very ones who cast their vote, and also the ones who cannot vote, or will not vote, as well. Each voter has the responsibility to vote right and to demand what it is they get back for their vote for the next 6 years of the president.
Choosing the next president on the merits of character quality
Integrity and Honesty
Unfortunately, presidential candidates (and vice-presidential ones as well) love to banner their academic and professional integrity rather than their character integrity and honesty. Does the presidential candidate have a track record for being honest? Remember that when you vote a corrupt leader into office, that leader will continue stealing money from both private and public coffers.
Ability to choose the right people for delegation
Will the next president be able to select and supervise the right people that are delegated with executive and cabinet work? Or will this president only put his/her friends and relatives into power? Remember that even non-elected positions are positions of duties and responsibilities directly involving the people.
Commitment and Passion
Did the candidate show commitment and passion in past jobs/positions? Are they tenacious and persistent? Can they focus and meet goals, or do they turn out to be incompetent, inept, and with a tendency to grandstand?
A really courageous person doesn’t need to be at the frontlines catching criminals or shooting it out with rebels. The next president must have the courage to be fearless in the face of corruption, criminality, and intimidation, even if they are perpetuated by friends or allies in the same party or by family members. Being a public servant means having the courage to stand up for the public, and not to hide and do damage control when party allies and family members commit wrong acts.
Choosing the next president on the merits of how issues will be tackled
Willing to change the system if it is not suitable for the majority
The present government system and its electoral process means that the majority of the nation’s overall taxes and public income goes to the NCR while provinces receive only a pittance, and elections are ruled by the multi-party system. Unfortunately, this system reeks of dirty politics and manipulation, demolition jobs, image engineering, legislative grandstanding, pre-election sorties disguised as societal ads, and constant damage control through media mileage. A complete overhaul of the republican system of government or a change to federalism is the only solutions to this.
Tackling the roots of corruption and criminality
One doesn’t need to be a genius to see that thriving economies thrive on the proper enforcement of peace and order. Thriving economies also mean that the general populace is self-disciplined. The next leader must free up corruption from, and overhaul the ranks of law enforcement agencies and the armed forces. This also means a complete overhaul of the country’s justice and legal system and prison system, even if it means constructing more prisons, more provincial judicial halls, and providing better equipment for law enforcement.
Handling the China crisis with a big stick
History teaches us that when a country sets its eyes on territorial gain through armed enforcement, no amount of diplomacy will work. This is the issue with China and its territorial grabbing into the West Philippine Sea. The next president must see beyond mere diplomacy or the Philippine’s dependent friendship with the United States. The next leader must be bold enough to slowly build up the navy, air force, and army of the country – in that order – that will at least make China think twice about its territorial ambitions. Having military ties with the U.S., Japan, and ASEAN countries is not enough because China can also bully these countries. Instead the new leader needs to look at a partnership with India, China’s next door neighbor and long-time nemesis. An Indian partnership will put doubts into Beijing’s leadership over its capabilities to bully other countries. Lastly, our leader must have the courage to initiate an economic embargo on all trading with China, stop celebrations of all Chinese-related holidays like the Chinese New Year, and initiating full investigations into the businesses of Chinese-Filipinos who have long been guilty of laundering their money into mainland China banks rather than keeping them in the Philippines or to avoid taxation by the government. These Chinese-Filipinos must also pass muster as to their true loyalty as Philippine citizens.