In what stands to be the most consequential election in recent memory, the Philippine Bar Association calls on all candidates to be mindful of the significance of the right to suffrage to our democracy.
In these highly partisan times, may they take heed that elections do not “crown” or “anoint” new kings or queens. Rather, it is the sacred process for the “determination of the true will of the electorate.” (Mentang v. Comelec)
May all of them be reminded that to seek public office is to seek the public’s trust. And the authority to govern only emanates from a proper ascertainment of the will of our sovereign people.
Acknowledging and affirming these principles, may every candidate commit to the strengthening of democratic processes and protection of institutions crucial to the maintenance of a stable government. To keep this Republic is our common responsibility but, most especially that of those who want to lead.
Most important of all, while to win is the goal of every campaign, let it only be through fair and just means.
We therefore urge every candidate and their agents to:
- Ensure fair and safe access to the polls for every voter;
- Maintain respect for local and national election officials;
- Protect public school teachers who are the frontliners in safe-guarding our votes;
- Remind their supporters to exercise patience and understanding as this democratic exercise unfolds.
Finally, as we turn this page in our nation’s history, may we rekindle our ties to those common values that bring together our Republic and keep this nation free.