Political endorsements that can do more harm than good

Two weeks before election and my list is done. Who are my senators? Secret. Because revealing my preferences might be taken as an endorsement and you and I know all too well that some endorsements can do more harm than good.

Let’s start with clerical endorsements, Team Buhay and the self-proclaimed pro-life Catholic vote movement. What do they want?

They want legislators who will oppose laws that do not strictly adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. They want a Congress that takes dictation from bishops who get their cues and orders from the Vatican. They want a republic where the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) exercises veto power over laws and policies not aligned with Catholic doctrine.

Now here you are, a senatorial candidate who also opposes the RH (Reproductive Health) Law but not necessarily on the same doctrinal grounds as the so-called pro-lifers. You are against the RH law for a number of other reasons—maybe you believe the money for RH should be spent elsewhere or maybe you believe artificial contraceptives are unhealthy. Whatever. But your name has been included in the pro-life senatorial ticket and you are now identified with those who believe that what belongs to Caesar belongs to the Vatican. How will you fare with the overwhelming number of voters who believe otherwise? You could lose their vote. The bishops endorsed you and that marked you as a candidate obedient to their wishes. Some endorsements can do more harm than good.

Let’s go to secular endorsements. An endorsement from a politician with command votes is good but it can also be a liability. For example, Romeo Jalosjos is backing UNA in Zamboanga, his bailiwick. Will his endorsement help UNA with a national audience that only knows Jalosjos as the convicted child-rapist and pedophile that Gloria Arroyo pardoned? Jalosjos is not the only sketchy trapo supporting UNA. There are a dizzying number of them, all working for an overwhelming UNA victory. Why are trapos pinning their hopes on UNA?

In fairness to UNA, they claim they are also for Daang Matuwid. But the problem remains, there are too many crooked trapos endorsing them. UNA is the Trapos’ Choice. Some endorsements can do more harm than good.

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).

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