As the country enters the last four weeks of campaigning before the national elections on May 9, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday advised voters to dial down on the political rhetoric and respect each other.
“Huwag po natin mga kababayan gawing masyadong toxic, kasi we’re all in one boat e. Hindi naman pwedeng kung sino mananalo, itutulak sa barko yung mga natalo e,” Cayetano said in a media interview on April 6, 2022.
“Magkakasama pa rin tayo. Nag-e-elect lang tayo kung sino ang kapitan natin, pero isang barko lang po tayong lahat,” he added.
(Let’s not make things too toxic, because we’re all in one boat. It’s not like whoever wins gets to push the loser out of the ship. We’re in this together. We’re just electing our captain, but we’re all together in one ship.)
Cayetano, who is gunning for a Senate comeback on a faith-based and values-oriented leadership agenda, said the campaign season lasts for only a few weeks and should not be spent breaking relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and those in other political camps.
“So, halimbawa, kung tayo magkaiba tayo ng gustong presidente, magiging permanente ba tayong magkaaway? Pwede naman nating idaan sa, ‘Sige tignan natin kung ilan makukumbinsi mo, ilan makukumbinsi ko,’ tapos kantyawan na lang tayo, pero magkaibigan pa rin tayo,” he said.
(So, for example, if we differ in our choice of president, should we be permanent enemies? We could always just say, ‘Sure, let’s see how many people you convince and I convince,’ and we’ll tease each other about it, but we’ll still be friends.)
“Siguro po magrespetuhan tayo. Iba-iba po talaga yung pananaw natin, mag-debate tayo. But in the end, we’re all Filipinos,” he added.
(We should respect each other. We all differ in our views, we can debate. But in the end, we’re all Filipinos.)
Addressing the issue of misinformation, Cayetano asked voters to vet candidates properly and choose those who have solid track records and credentials to their name.
“Ang advice ko lang po, yung sabi sa Bible, we die because of lack of knowledge… you can apply it also here e. Baka mag-elect ka ng isang tao, whether yan mayor, governor, konsehal, presidente, ma-surprise ka kasi hindi mo sila fully nakilala,” the veteran lawmaker said.
(My advice is, as it says in the Bible [Hosea 4:6], we die because of lack of knowledge… you can apply it also here. You might elect a person, whether they be mayor, governor, councilor, president, and you might be surprised because you don’t fully know them.)
With a sharp increase in disinformation being observed during the campaign, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will form a task force to combat fake news ahead of the May 9 elections.
Cayetano said voters should not wait for fact-checkers to vet information circulating in social media but instead do the fact-checking themselves.
“Madalas kong sabihin, meron naman pong internet, may Google naman. So kung anuman ang narinig, nakita natin, huwag na tayo umasa sa fact-checkers. Tayo na mismo ang mag-check,” the former Speaker said.
(I often say, we have the internet, we have Google. So whatever we listen to or watch, let’s not just depend on fact-checkers. We should check the information ourselves.)