The events of yesterday brought me back in time four years ago when I was still living in Bacolod City. I just graduated from high school and it was high time of the Senatorial Election campaigns. There were many candidates slating for the 12 Senatorial slots but only one candidate was closest to me and every Negrénse, that was then Congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri. Even though he was hailing from Bukidnon, no one can deny his Negrénse origins when his family used to have land holdings in the City of Kabankalan which is south of the Capital City, Bacolod. His continued command of the Hiligaynon language which I heard in a sortie at the Bacolod City Plaza made him well-loved by the Negrénses who flocked the event. Come what may May 2007 elections, he was running a catch-up with Koko Pimentel on the last 12th slot for the Senate. The ordeal went on for another month until I heard from the news in the bus on my way to Clark for UA&P’s Environmental Science fieldtrip that Migz Zubiri won the last slot and was proclaimed. I was so happy that my candidate was declared winner, who was one of the few administration bets who made it.
Now, it is 2011 and certainly the Senator’s voluntary resignation was unimaginable but it did happen. As an ardent supporter of the resigned Senator, it was an emotional moment for me when he announced his resignation in the Senate’s chambers. Indeed, his resignation was a historical one since no other Senator resigned from his post other than being appointed in a Cabinet position. From his words, he chose honor over power. A number did criticize the move but I understand how that must have went through for him to vacate the job which he did not just good but certainly the best way that any Senator or legislator can do. Some speculate guilt in his move but clearly it was not an admission of fault or guilt but an admission of facts or circumstances which now became clearer. The Zubiri family held good name when they were in Kabankalan even up to the time they moved to Bukidnon. His family took care of that name and certainly this honorable gentleman would not let that be tarnished. Migz believed that since circumstances not gives higher probability to a victory by Koko Pimentel, he decided for the best that he step aside to welcome the upcoming new Senator who also hails from the same Region and the same Island of Mindanao.
There are a lot of lessons learned from this experience but certainly there are two clear facts that became of obvious: we badly need to reform the faulty electoral process which victimized these two gentlemen and that new generation of politicians like Sen. Zubiri are changing the landscape of Philippine Politics. Our elections since the time of Aguinaldo up to the present time has always been laden with controversies and rumors of fraud. The election exercise last 2010 with automated modes of voting has paved a way for polling to be faster and more manageable. I am not saying that the 2010 Presidential Elections was not laced but somehow we should agree that faster poll results contribute to a more transparent elections. It is my wish though that these reforms are not merely paperweight but has some meat to them. Apart from electoral reforms, people like my candidates Sen. Zubiri and former Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro are one of the few younger generation politicians that has shown political will to be different from the older predecessors. They are few but certainly they are part of the growing new generation of politicians that will pave the way for my generation to see better governance. Transformation is not done overnight but I hope as the recent events unfold, this may herald better days ahead even as we cope up with economic deficiencies for good governances solves the woes of our country.