02135: The 2016 Electoral Race Begins

Today was the first day for national candidates to file their certificates of candidacy and we now have at least 22 candidates for president, 3 for vice president and 16 for senator. Those are somewhat interesting numbers since we're only going to up with one president and and we have more candidates for that position compared to senator. Well, you have to praise folks for having a clear sight of what they want.

This often leads to discussions of "nuisance candidates" as the media loves to call them - those unknown individuals who seem to come out of nowhere and seek the top office of the land. But y can't really blame them, I suppose. Our multi-party system allows just about anyone to run for president as long as (1) they're at least 40 years old, (2) are literate, (3) are natural-born citizens of the Philippines, (4) are registered voters, and (5) have been residents of the Philippines for at least 10 years. Philippine elections are determined by popular vote unlike some other countries and that's always our biggest opportunity here.

The joys of our democratic system is that we've made it pretty easy for anyone to run and we're also a country where you can feel that any vote matters. We don't have strict political parties that determine the official roster of candidates to run nor do we have electoral collages that sort of cluster our votes into discrete districts and whatnot. The system remains pretty free-for-all in this manner.

Freedom takes on many forms and the diversity of our opinions about this freedom is in itself a clear manifestation of it. We should always be thankful for the many options that we have in our daily lives as Filipino. All it takes is one wrong presidential proclamation to change all that.