By Gel Santos Relos
We learn so many things about ourselves in the way we vote. Pinoy values and belief systems are so very much reflected by the initial results of the election, for the better or for the worse! Values refer to the things that are important to us as a people---many of us look at them on a positive light and say they are the virtues that make Filipinos a great people. However, a growing number of our kababayans have argued otherwise, saying they have indeed become a vice--- our roadblock to change!
The value of forgiveness: madaling magpatawad ang Pinoy! ---Case in point: deposed President Joseph Estrada, convicted of plunder and should have served time in prison all his life, only set free by outgoing President Gloria Arroyo. He is now ranking second in the Presidential race. Another case: Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. ---son of Ferdinand Marcos, the President we ousted through People Power in 1986! Bongbong is now on the 7th spot of the Senatorial race at the time this column is written.
Now, Erap and Bongbong have vindicated themselves! They have proven to the world that they still enjoy the support of many Filipinos, as evidenced by their impressive performance in the national polls despite their past! I hear this all the time in many discussion threads in support of Erap: “Kung ang Diyos ay nagpapatawad, tayo pa kayang tao lamang na nagkakasala rin! Bigyan natin siya ng isa pang pagkakataon!” . We love stories of redemption!
Another Pinoy value is “utang na loob”. If you have been good to the Pinoys, especially during the most difficult trying time of their life, many of them will feel indebted to you forever.
In the context of elections, “delivery of action” and “fulfillment of promise” are both defined by many Pinoys based on how the candidate helped them in their immediate personal needs, or the needs of their town. Tangible “here and now” delivery of goods matter to them more than lofty ideals. After all, man’s need for survival, safety, love and belongingness are more basic than self -respect, esteem and contribution to mankind.
I hear this a lot from those who supported and voted for Erap. People from San Juan or those who were blessed by his programs when he was Senator just adore him, in the same way that many of our kababayans from Ilocos Norte will seem forever to give the Marcoses their loyalty. How about President Arroyo’s victory in Pampanga as congresswoman after all the blessings for Pampanga? Sa maraming Pilipino, parang kasalanan sa Diyos kung hindi ka marunong tumanaw ng utang na loob---ano man ang kapalit, dahil naroroon ang taong tumulong sa kanila nang sila ang nagigipit!
Strong faith in God has helped the Filipinos survive and rise above each and every crisis and challenge that has come our way. We have so much faith that at times, some of our kababayans choose to lift up to God everything---even election results, transgressions, solutions to problems.
“Bahala na”…from “Bathala na” mindset reflects the fatalistic attitude of the Filipinos. This has been apparent in comments I get from our kababayans. “ Ipagpasa-Diyos na lang natin ang eleksyon!”.”Ipagpasa-Diyos na lamang natin ang kasalanan nila!”. “ Nasa guhit ng palad ng tao kung magiging Presidente siya. Kaya sorry na lang yung iba, huwag nang magpilit pa!”
On the proactive call for Comelec to be transparent and to explain issues and procedures regarding automated polls and other election related concerns so they can be addressed prior to voting time, some said, “Bakit ba tayong mga Pinoy, reklamo tayo ng reklamo? Hintayin na lang nating matapos ang eleksyon saka tayo magsalita!”