I remember campaigning for the late Senator Raul Roco when he ran for the Presidency in 1998. He was someone who I believed could inspire others to dream, work hard and give back to our country; someone who will fight for the rights of the poor and oppressed. In short, an alternative to traditional politicians. My husband and I even volunteered to join the Aksyon Demokratiko, a citizen's movement spearheaded by the late senator.
I was also one staunch supporter when he ran again for the presidency against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) and the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) in 2004. Unfortunately, he was not able to sustain his campaign because of cancer.
I remember discussing his candidacy with an instructor from a state university who was pragmatic in choosing her candidate. She insisted on voting and campaigning for PGMA to prevent a FPJ presidency. I am now wondering if those who voted for PGMA, on the sheer fear that an actor may win the election, shook their heads in frustration that their votes were wasted. There was massive corruption and human rights violations during her term of office.
In the last national elections, I voted for President Benigno Aquino III as well as Ka Satur Ocampo - people who have the integrity and the courage to lead the country.
This May 13 elections, I am voting for candidates who have personal integrity and who could work in solidarity with other groups of individuals who may not share the same political agenda.
I shall vote for people who have proven track records in serving the poor and marginalized, men and women who have fought for the rights of women and children, who are themselves committed advocates and defenders against human rights violations perpetrated by both state and non-state elements.