personal

Why I am voting a person who is last in the surveys

“Kanugon”

I really hate that word right now.

I will be voting for a woman who is above her competitors in all aspects. I will be voting for a woman who has served this country most of her life. I am not voting her because she is gwapa and alam char lang an Ilongga like me rather I am voting for a strong woman who despite her illness continues to do her duties and run for the sake of her people. And you tell me my vote is a waste–“kanugon”.

I wanted to highlight my candidate’s experience, education, platforms and everything that she has done for our country but every time, I am countered with “Ti kay may sakit siya”.

My friends, let me remind you that cancer isn’t the only cause of death. Your candidate might look healthy now but they’re not immortal. A gun shot through the head might end his/her term years or months earlier than planned. (I’m sorry if this brought up any gross imagery.)  A brain aneurysm might kill your candidate and mine in a matter of minutes. I could go on but I hope you get the picture.

Whenever a survey is released, I am heartbroken to see my candidate getting only, 1% or 3%. I know a lot of people want to vote for her but will not because of the issue I mentioned above. I want to believe that 80% would vote for my candidate. I want to believe that 100% is certain that she is a good woman and a good leader. I want to believe that if she isn’t sick, she’ll be the front-runner. I want to believe that the 3% is only a fraction of what she will be getting. So many things I want to believe but one thing, I can say with conviction, is that I support her 100%.

Many people might have tried to convince me to vote for their candidates instead of “wasting” my vote.

My friends and relatives who are for Duterte might try to sway me in his favor with this reasoning– “para indi magdaog si Binay” (So that Binay won’t win).

Those who are for Poe might tell me “Madaog na karon si Duterte basi ma-martial law.” (If Duterte wins, he might declare Martial Law”)

Those for Mar — well, they don’t talk to me. lol.

But my friends, I want to tell you that it is my constitutional right to choose whoever I deem fit to be president. Just because you think she might die before completing her term doesn’t make her less of a candidate nor does it make votes for her a ‘waste’.

By voting who I think can lead our country well can I say I have indeed exercised my right to suffrage. By voting a woman who has a track record in public service can I say I made the right decision. By voting someone who I believe in wholeheartedly and not just because she is the lesser evil can I have a peace of mind. (hashtag no ragrets lol)

Friends, I am not trying to convince you to vote for my candidate. I’m asking you not to readily dismiss her because she deserves more than just your pity. She has done so much for this country, for you and for your countrymen. I ask you to listen to her, and even if she isn’t your candidate, defend her from “memes” misinforming people of her deeds just to boost their candidate.

Looking forward 5, 10 or 20 years from now, whatever the outcome of this election is, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to say:

“I should have voted for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Kanugon.