Florentino A. Tuason Jr.

“Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them” 1987 Constitution

This is the very essence of our democracy. This is the very spirit, the moving force behind our collective desire in clamoring for better life, better institutions, and best leaders.

Recall that in 1986, the people concretely exercise their sovereign authority by toppling the dictatorship through collective effort. That was a direct action of people. Leadership changed and so were the political institutions.

At present, however, the clamor for change and reform persists there is no better way to attend to the demands to the time than through the exercise, again, of our collective might, but this time, through the ballots. Voting is a very potent force in instituting reforms in our political leadership by weeding out unscrupulous leaders and supporting those who present themselves as worthy servants of the people. We choose our leader, as they are not imposed upon us. As the cliche goes bad leaders are elected by those [registered voters] who do not vote.

The right to vote is sacrosanct and the existence of the right of suffrage is a threshold for the preservation and enjoinment of all other rights. It is our sacred obligation to vote in order to protect and preserve other fundamental rights. Without exercising our rights to vote, sovereignty shall always remain a hollow declaration devoid of any meaning, form, and substance.

Failure to vote might even be a cause for the emergence of tyrants who shall rob us of our basic and fundamental rights.

And lest it be forgotten, we owe it our children to provide them with the best leaders who will guide them in charting their future.

As in the case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (1985), the Honorable Supreme Court categorically declared thus:

“the importance o the people’s choice must be the paramount consideration in every election, for the Constitution has vested in the men and women who shall make laws for them or govern in their name and behalf.”

The people have a natural and constitutional right to participate directly in the form of government under which they live. Such a right is among the most important and sacred of the freedoms inherent in a democratic society and one which must be most vigilantly guarded if a people desires to maintain through self government for themselves and their posterity a genuinely functioning democracy in which the individual may, in accordance with law, have a choice in the form of his government and in the choice of the people who will run that government for him. X x x.”

It is our moral obligation to create a collective conscience by electing leaders who truly represent the will of the people. Often times, we are confronted by registered voters lamenting that nothing much will change even if they do or do not vote. Certainly, the attitude is passive and defeatist, and they deserve the kind of leaders they grumble against. Our voters must be constantly reminded that as repositories of sovereign will, they should be active participants in shaping our future.

“Every voter ought not merely to vote, but to vote under the inspiration of a high purpose to serve a nation.” Calvin Coolidge(1924)

I am also very proud to emphasize that our Commission has indeed proven itself to be a worthy partner of the people in the conduct of the elections. We have already created avenues to encourage our registered voters to vote and exercise their sovereign right. As everybody knows, we have already put in place the mechanisms for overseas and local absentee voting to further ensure active participation of our registered voters in the elections. Even the elderly,disabled, and illiterate are afforded sufficient opportunity so that they may also express their will in the election of our leaders.

Indeed, I trust that with the wisdom of our registered voters and the electoral mechanism all in place, the will of the electorate shall prevail in the forthcoming elections.

(Originally posted at www.bagongbotante.com)