by Ali G. Macabalang
There are 97 aspirants for President and 28 for vice president who have filed candidacies with the Commission on Elections, which has announced intent to trim down to just 10 or so in each bracket.
Nationally known aspirants for Presidents are Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senators Ping Lacson, Bato Dela Rosa, and Manny Pacquiao, former Senator Bongbong Marcos, former Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella, former Defense Sec. Norberto Gonzales, and labor leader Leody de Guzman.
Popular among VP aspirants are Senators Bong Go, Kiko Pangilinan and Tito Sotto, former Manila Mayor and Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza, and media physician personality Willie Ong, and former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello.
Each of the candidates naturally has pools of supporters across the country. All of them harp about their prospective remedies to the ills gripping the country and the Filipino masses.
Supporters vary in different ways and degrees of appreciating the qualities of the candidates. For me, an ideal choice is one who has strong faith in God, unblemished record in office, experience in public administration, and no history of biases against specific religion, tribe, culture and community with utmost concern for the poor.
Foremost of the qualities of a candidate would be his promise and ability to end Mindanao’s disproportionate share from the national budget and attention from the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
I will promise in return my full support to any candidate who has the political will to provide Mindanao at least 35% share from the total budget to finally end the absence of bridges in several rivers in rural areas while multi-billion-funded skyways (bridges without rivers) continue to mushroom in metropolitan centers.
My candidate is the one who can truly carry out the “balik probinsya” program fully to decongest urban centers and lessen expenditures on building skyways just to ease traffic jams.
I will continue praising till death any President who can end vote-buying by exemplifying prompt prosecution and conviction of any offenders.
I will do the same for a President who will condone the compounded debts of electric cooperatives in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and fully modernize electricity in Lanao del Sur where residents of many component towns are tired of blinking lights similar to those of cabarets.
My choice of next President is the one who will not burn the entire house in search of a rat, and will prosecute till conviction any persons or groups involved in the sluggish rehabilitation of Marawi City, especially those involved in pocketing reparation funds. (AGM)