With barely a week before May 10, Filipinos everywhere would have seen and heard more than enough of the elections – the muck, the dirt, the candidates’ profiles, the agenda, the promises and the projections, all thrown into a sticky mix of hope, propaganda and entertainment. Being this close to crunch time, the political climate has been so polarized that it is difficult to say anything without receiving an enthusiastic endorsement or an impassioned rebuttal. If the amount of interest, especially among the youth and particularly the new voters, is any indication, this political exercise at least draws out encouraging participation – a prelude to active citizenship that can only be good for the country. There are also signs that political gimmickry needs to be more sophisticated to stick, and that media exposure alone does not guarantee approval. There is the usual fare of partisan follies, the scare of failed elections, and controversial survey ratings – all contested in this season of the most popular contest of all. Behold an expression of formal democracy, Philippine-style.
What makes this election unique is the public clamour to bring closure to the many controversies and scandals that smudged the nine-year administration of Mrs. Arroyo. There is a strong sense of exacting accountability and demanding justice for all the wrongs that were spawned by a much-maligned administration. It is a demand for both catharsis and cure, something imperative as we dream of building this nation again.