Voters should expect more than handouts from pols—GordonBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BAYBAY, Leyte—Elections are a serious matter, and voters should expect more than a free T-shirt from it.
Senatorial candidate Richard Gordon of the United Nationalist Alliance said people should put more thought to choosing the next set of leaders and should not be taken in by freebies, such as the T-shirts that candidates usually toss to the crowds during rallies or motorcades.
“Elections are for the poor. It’s not for you to get T-shirts or sell your votes. It’s to change the lives of Filipinos,” Gordon told the crowd during his speech at an UNA rally in Baybay Monday night.
Gordon took a dig at the practice of giving out free items like T-shirts to voters, which many candidates do, including his own teammates.
He said what he waned was for voters to be able to tell candidates that they could buy their own shirts. Gordon has not been giving out T-shirts, but he has handed out whistles to people during motorcades and rallies.
Gordon made his remarks a night after a local UNA candidate in Valenzuela gave at least six cellular phones during a rally. This freebie was a step up from the usual items—as shirts, candies, and baller bands—that candidates have been handing out.
According to Gordon, voting based on free items alone was like someone being taken in by a handsome man and then getting pregnant after one night and later on abandoned.
He also lamented that many people seem to be taken in by the showbiz aspect of the campaign.
“Maybe we aren’t taking our votes seriously. Maybe you’re voting for the showbiz types. Politics is not showbiz,” he said.
He also said he was speaking frankly before voters because he did not want to lie to them. It was a leader’s job to uplift the lives of people, he said.
“I want you to think that you have values. That even if you are poor, you have dignity,” he said.
UNA candidates held a rally in Baybay on Monday on the first night of its Leyte tourt. But many candidates opted to skip the Baybay event.
Only Gordon and Nancy Binay were present in the rally, which was joined by local allies. Mitos Magsaysay and Ernesto Maceda sent their sons Anton and Erwin as proxies. Magsaysay and Maceda were in Cebu to support Gwen Garcia.