Election day – May 13 – is a few days from now. Not only the COMELEC is to prepare for that big day, nor only the candidates. Every voter should also be prepared. What are they to prepare? Foremost of all they should prepare their own list of candidates. This is easier said than done. With so many candidates to choose from, and with so much propaganda and fake news flooding our media, it is not easy to make a proper choice. We need to sit down and take time to reflect and pray.

The voters not only should know the candidates, their track records and their programs, they are also to be subjected to proper criteria. Do they work for the common good? Are they guided by good principles in their life and in their public commitment? We cannot just rely on their pronouncements but on what they had done and worked for. The list made by credible lay leaders such as the People’s Choice Movement and the Power of Purple who have the means to study well the candidates and who have vetted them on good criteria can be a useful help to the voters.

With many candidates to vote for, it is important that voters should have a list with them when they go to the polls. It is so difficult to remember all the names one has chosen in the polling place when there is a lot of noise, when it is hot, when people are queuing up and are waiting. These can pressure the voters to hurry up. It is easy to forget and make mistakes unless one has a well-prepared list.

For us Christians, another preparation that is to be done is prayer. We always accompany with prayers important choices and activities that we do. The election is an important activity. We do it only once every three years. Although we have only one vote, that vote represents our choice for our city, our province and our country. Therefore, we pray over our votes during these days of preparation. Praying over our votes also helps us to choose well. If we pray over our vote, will we include in our list a thief, a dishonest person, or one who promotes killing? If we pray over our vote, will we allow our vote to be influenced by money, or much worse, sell it? We are poor and people have already robbed us of basic services in life, of our environment, of our jobs. Let them not rob us of our dignity. Our one vote is our dignity. It us not sell it.

Yes, it is important that we vote well. But this is not enough. Let each one too be a missionary. Let us help others, especially those who are undecided or who do not care, to vote well. A spiritual act of mercy is to instruct the ignorant and another is to counsel the confused. We can exercise these spiritual acts of mercy by helping people to vote well for the good of the country. We should always promote the good. Let us promote the good candidates for our country.

Broderick Pabillo

May 9, 2019