What does it mean for the 2016 presidential elections now that the Philippines’ Supreme Court (SC) reportedly granted candidate Grace Poe a stay on a 23rd December Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc resolution to disqualify her?
According to COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez, it means, Poe’s name will remain in the ballot until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on her qualification to run for president. But, according to the Inquirer report, “If Poe’s name remained in the ballots and the SC ultimately decides that she is not qualified to run for president, her votes will be considered stray.”
There is a saying that people, organisations, and entire societies that are committed to excellence in every endeavour hold themselves to:
Do it right the firsttime.
It is the simplest formula for success.
Interestingly enough, we are approaching the New Year where most normal people supposedly make “resolutions” to do things better. In this sad grappling with this Grace Poe case, the Philippines, again, rather than sashaying with grace (pun not intended) into 2016 awkwardly stumbles into it. What a way to start the year and what a way to prepare for a change in administration that occurs only every six years. The Philippines certainly remains true to sad form in all the important things.
It is disturbing that nobody sees anything wrong with the way we are exposing an entire presidential election to a fatal tainting and, possibly, an entire six-year administration to paralysis. Here’s why…
Firstly, if Poe is eventually disqualified following this “temporary restraining order” (TRO) issued by the SC, her votes will, as noted earlier, be “considered stray”. Take a moment to think of the implications of this. We are toying with the votes of what is currently (if we are to believe these dubious “surveys”) the most popular bet amongst this sorry lot. We’re talking millions and millions of votes that could, in one fell SC swoop sometime between now and May 2016, be rendered useless when Poe is finally disqualified. And if we take the letter of the law as the most reliable basis for assessing this risk, one would put good money on the disqualification track. It would irrevocably put the mandate of whoever wins in her place to question. Philippine Elections 2016 will be the 2015 Miss Universe pageant all over again, this time on a national scale!
Second, if Poe, by some Catholic miracle, manages to make it past this legal inconvenience and get elected President of the Philippines, she will likely be facing a six-year presidency marked by a crisis of legitimacy from beginning to the bitter end. It will be a colossal waste of time and effort that the Philippines can ill-afford. With so many pressing matters of national consequence begging to be focused upon, a President Grace Poe who will be spending a sizeable chunk of her time battling impeachment complaints made on the back of her unresolved citizenship will be a lame duck at best.
Considering that Grace Poe is yet another one of those OJT (on-the-job trainee) presidents, the last thing she needs is a mentally-taxing and morale-sapping legal battle just to cling to power for six years. Why, one just can’t help asking, are Filipinos, who are part of a 100-million strong nation, settling for a presidential candidate who, by all measures, has failure written all over her since birth (literally!). The fact that not one good presidential canidate could be found in a country of 100 million certainly says a lot about the Philippines.
Why can’t Filipinos, do it right the first time?
Why are Filipinos placing their bets on a candidate who is destined to lose the war regardless of how many battles she wins? We certainly earned the monicker Fail-ippines hands down. We choose to fail rather than succeed.