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by Noel Bava, ds


"How can you vote for someone who’s IQ is lower than yours?" -- Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile

For the past few weeks, amidst all intrigues, character assassination, and scathing criticisms not one among the contender of the actor-turned politician Joseph Erap Estrada has successfully placed him into a serious put-down. His political rivals have thought of various schemes to bring him to infamy and steal away a chunk of the votes that he currently has in his pocket. News of various forms and proportions such as his being a womanizer, drunkard, gambler, rapist, land grabber, murderer and so on and so forth have been heard all over the country. Quite ironically, instead of pulling him down, news such as these catapult him into a further advantageous position. As recent survey shows, he is way ahead of his rivals who barely have time to catch their breaths trailing after him. It is as if the people are growing more fascinated with him hearing him deny all allegations thrown at him. Except for the Lakas-sponsored Facts Base’s, surveys show that the combined votes of Roco and Lim (14% and 11%) could not still not match Estrada’s appeal to the masses which earn him a solo lead at 34%.

This is the reason why other presidentiables are all agog on how to topple this bemoustached candidate who is swiftly inching his way to presidency come May 11. With the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Movement’s endorsement of Lakas standard-bearer Joe De V as presidential pick, the Catholic Laity of the Philippines open endorsement of LP bet Mayor Alfredo Lim as their official bid, and the Third Force convenors’ choice of Promdi Lito Osmeña as their worthy candidate, vote balls are expected to shift from one basket to another. Be that as it may, Mrs. Marcos’ withdrawal from the race and her possible throwing of support to Estrada continues to strengthen the position of this college drop out.

What is really in Erap that could not be found among the other presidentiables? With the exception of the presence of movie stars like Nora Aunor, Fernando Poe Jr., Philip Salvador and Rudy Fernandez, there is not a plus factor in his personality. However, owing to the fact that he was a movie icon who played roles that endeared him to the masses like that of a construction worker, activist, ice cream vendor, jeepney driver, and a clean cop; the people could not help but idolize him more because seeing him ascend to the presidency is like having their own dreams fulfilled. When asked why he wants Vice-President Erap Estrada to be the next Commander in Chief, a taxi driver responds: "Si Erap kasi para sa mahirap…At saka nasubukan na namin ang matalinong presidente, ang babae, ang militar, pero walang nangyari, dito naman tayo sa bobo!" (Because Erap is for the poor… and we have tested [the service of] an intelligent president, a woman, and a military man but nothing happened, we will try this time a dim-wit!)

And so the story goes.

However, there are some people who obviously are not in favor of an Estrada administration who find themselves biting their fingernails in apprehensive suspense. Even the Cardinal himself has hinted that Estrada could be disastrous to the economy of the country. More so , Speaker Jose de Venecia, the administration standard-bearer could not just take a nap while his archrival continues to lead the race. In everyone’s mouth Estrada is the man to beat. It is as if those who are opposed to Estrada seem to be praying "…lead us not into Damnation but deliver us from Erap. Amen."

During these times, when confusion and anxiety abide, it is just fitting to look into ourselves and ask the question: "What do we really want to have this election?" If we want a clean, honest and peaceful elections then let us go for it. Even if we don’t want this or that candidate to win, let us still continue to exercise our right and freedom to choose. Let us not be swayed by popularity surveys, or bombastic speeches, or academic record or even religious endorsement. What is more important is that we choose a candidate that we honestly believe in ourselves would deliver the country out of its ills. No matter what result of this polls would be, let us respect and uphold the decision of the majority. Let us remember the dictum Vox Populi, Vox Dei . Whoever wins in this election is really of secondary importance, what is more significant is that we are sure that that voice, the Voice of God is heard, properly and obeyed.

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Christian Action for Peaceful and Meaningful Elections
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