Since the behavior of a politician and his supporters on the campaign trail is part of his brand of leadership, voters should think twice before voting for candidates who :
1. Distribute goodies or cash while campaigning. These politicians would rather look for shortcuts to advance their plans than subject them to the rigors of reasoned public debate.
2. Impart benefits like health insurance or implement public works like road repair in the runup to the elections. Government services are an obligation to taxpayers, not vote insurance for incumbents. Services should be delivered on time.
3. Stake their candidacies on their prominent family names. Lest we forget, our government system is a democracy, not a monarchy. Cubs of old lions in office possess no succession rights.
4. Expect to reap votes by their association with celebrity and other endorsers. President Benigno Aquino III’s voice can be heard on a television advertisement for the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party. Voters should not automatically decide based on his say-so that these candidates walk the straight path.
5. Act as if they are untainted by the anomalies of the old guard. Demand from every reelectionist senator a liquidation of the millions of pesos alloted to them every year as additional maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE) from “savings” of the Upper House.
6. Sit in different political parties. If a candidate can’t decide which political party to belong to and instead straddles different ones to ensure victory at the polls, what assurance do we have that he has the will to sacrifice political expediency in favor of the common good?
7. Use the poor as campaign props. Many candidates condescend to meet the poor during election season. But poverty persists partly because many politicians balk at the prospect of being displaced by someone who will rise from the ranks of the poor.
8. Expose or invent damaging stories against opponents during the campaign season. One who is genuinely aghast at the faults of those who govern will not wait for election time to name and shame them. Injustice tolerated is injustice perpetrated.
9. Rely on guns and goons. Hoodlums have no place in a free country.
10. Clown around. Government work is not a circus. Voters can’t entrust the future of the republic to entertainers. If they do, the results will not be amusing.