AS usual and just like in the previous election years, comebacking Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, the mayoral bet of the ruling PDP-Laban party headed by President Rodrigo Duterte as its chairman, was by his lonesome self at the mass and the subsequent signing of a peace covenant where all well-meaning local candidates are invited to attend every election season.
Held at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila, the said mass was slated at 7:30 a.m. while the signing was scheduled at 9 a.m. Jointly organized by the Commission on Elections, the election watchdog Philippine Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the Manila Police District (MPD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Education, the covenant signing, on the other hand, was intended to make local candidates pledge integrity and ensure that the coming polls in May will be ‘free, honest, peaceful and credible.’
The candidates, through words and actions, are also made to commit to abide by the tenets of our Constitution, election laws, rules and regulations and to not employ ‘any form of violence, force or threat that may impair, impede or unduly influence the free exercicse of the people’s right to suffrage.’
Lim showed that he is a stickler for rules by arriving for the scheduled mass minutes early. Naturally, he was also there when the program started, all the way to when the local candidates were made to sign the ‘integrity pledge.’ Lim’s candidates for councilor joined him in signing.
Just recently, Lim had announced he will no longer engage in useless debates. A recent invitation from the UP-Manila was politely declined by his campaign coordinator not only because of Lim’s earlier pronouncement that he has no time for debates but moreso, because the UP’s ‘Thrilla in Manila’ was set in the morning of March 29, which is the first day of the campaign period for local candidates.
For practical and logical reasons, any candidate in his right mind would not waste the first day of his campaign engaging in a debate, specially in the case of Mayor Lim who is running based on his track record.
What for? Debates are a mere exchange of words such as promises that are merely meant to be broken, lies about what one has purportedly done to deserve the people’s vote, or at its worst, even mudslinging just to make oneself appear better than his foes.
As Lim had said too, there is nothing better for voters to do than do their own research about the candidates who are running for local posts. With just one click of the mouse, everything about a candidate is there for one’s ready perusal- his or her accomplishments, cases he or she is facing or had been convicted of, anomalies while in office, etcetera.
While skipping debates, Lim made it a point to be at the Manila Cathedral not on time, but earlier than the set schedule. This only goes to show the kind of character he has.
Clearly, it is an indication that Lim has a clear distinction of what is worthy of his precious time and what is not.
The fact that he did not skip the Manila Cathedral event means that as a candidate for public office, he gives due importance to pledging, before God, the Church and the public, that he will carry out his campaign devoid of any dirty tricks and any form of violation of the rules and regulations set by the Comelec.
Most importantly, in the pledge that was meant for signing by local candidates in Manila, there is a specific portion where they commit to ‘not offer or give bribes or gifts to corrupt the integrity of our democratic processes.’ Lim and his candidates for councilor had committed to that, with or without the said covenant. What about the other candidates in Manila? We could only hope and pray that they do too.
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