May the best man/woman win!

On May 9, the Philippines will elect a new president and vice president, alongside other positions. Right now, perhaps without exceptions, both candidates and their respective supporters, are jittery or nervous on what await them after tomorrow.

Our wish: May the best, nay good, honest man or woman, win! This is not boxing that a draw is possible.

Of course, we do not know who will win as president and vice president, respectively. However, if the surveys are to be believed, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will win hands down. In the vice presidency, it is a toss-up between Leni Robredo and Bong Bong Marcos. They are running neck-and-neck.

However, surveys are sometimes misleading, because only those people, not necessarily voters, who are completely free to express their choices are asked. There is virtually no pressures exerted to them, from leaders, or to what extent money can work on their minds. And second, surveys are conducted by people who like every one of us have also feelings, emotions, preferences, and are also subjected to external factors.

Popularity or acceptability of candidate, we know, is just one factor in winning. The other factors which may even be more effective in terms of delivery or getting of votes are machinery and logistics. Clearly, on both counts, former Secretary Mar Roxas has the edge. Jejomar Binay has also the machinery but we do not know about logistics. Report has it that until after April 15, he has not downloaded campaign funds to his allies and supporters, because his bank accounts are frozen.

As a revolutionary organization, the MILF will not endorse anyone from the five presidential candidates. The same is true with the vice presidential candidates. The only criteria we tell our people is to choose candidates who have clear agenda on Moros, peace process, and commitment to push the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. We also tell them to use their brain wisely and not to be the slave of emotion. One cannot judge the goodness of people in one criteria alone but more so in examining their track record, including that of their roots or families. A lion will not breed a horse.

In many places especially in the provinces comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), votes are controlled. Names of candidates to be voted are dictated and the scheme to do this are basically through the teachers serving the elections and barangay chairmen. To ensure compliance, threats and monies are used. Goons are not only used to coerce people but on many instances, they virtually take over precincts and vote wildly. The COMELEC should take notice of this closely.

In many instances, elections are used mainly to rubber stamp candidates who want to lead the people, even if they are not supposed to be the kind of leaders people want. Only a clean and honest elections can produce real leaders that reflects the will of the people. Truly, they are the leaders.