By Axcel Beltran

Cartoon by Aureus Ken Pupa

The battle lines are now drawn clearly. In the upcoming 2022 elections, President Rodrigo Duterte, who is under international probe due to alleged crimes against humanity, will run as a senator. His daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio will be the running mate of the presidential aspirant and the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Alongside them are the bigots, trapos, and flawed candidates who want to tighten their grasp for power. Despite this what seems to be a political circus, one thing is certain: we cannot let these monsters govern us again. 

Days before the deadline of substitutions and withdrawal of certificates of candidacy, Duterte-Carpio, who first expressed her disinterest for a national position, withdrew her reelection bid as Davao City Mayor to substitute Lakas CMD then-vice presidential bet Lyle Uy. In 2016, President Duterte also utilized this substitution mechanism to create a clamor for his presidential candidacy, which he had repeatedly refused. Likewise, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, the president’s favorite aide, withdrew from the vice presidential race to run for the presidency. Meanwhile, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also dropped his presidential candidacy for good. 

According to Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, the substitution can only be done in emergency-like circumstances, including sudden death, disqualification, or any serious events that forced a candidate on verge of withdrawal. Thus, we cannot say that the recent events involving Duterte-Carpio, Go, Dela Rosa, as well as Duterte’s decision to run as a senator, are emergency-like situations, but mainly to keep their hold to power. Their substitution antics are nothing but political maneuverings in an election drama. 

Furthermore, we should no longer vie for candidates who have been blatantly lying to the public, especially when it is about their educational attainment. If a political aspirant can lie about his/her/their education, how much more when s/he/they are at the highest position in the country. Also, when a candidate denounces the LGBTQIA Community as worse as animals, let us vote them out because that implies that s/he/they are manifestations of bigotry and inequality. 

Lastly, the pandemic brought out the best and worst among our leaders. Aside from the platforms and educational attainment, we should also include the efforts and initiatives s/he/they have made during this global healthcare crisis. Unfortunately, most of the names I have mentioned in this article will not qualify if we will include competency and accountability in our criteria for the May 2022 polls. 


Sure enough, the 2022 Election is both crucial and historical. Currently, the Marcoses and Dutertes are our most insidious enemy and the most horrifying alliance of political dynasties throughout history. This merges not only the legacy of oppression and tyranny committed by their dynasties but also signals a possible continuation of it—and we cannot allow this to happen. 

One thing I learned from “UPLB sa Halalan 2022” last November 16 is that we, youths, have a pivotal role to play in the upcoming elections. Our power and numbers are greater than our enemies. Hence, I call upon my fellow youths. When the evils join forces, it is time for those people who want to save our country to gather up our acts together as well. Be organized and mobilized. Let us bolster our efforts in educating and enlightening as many people as we can. Immerse ourselves to the masses. Talk to street vendors, public transportation drivers, to the random people sitting beside us as we line up for vaccination, to our family members, online friends, and to everyone. The goal is we should not let these power-hungry monsters govern us again. Never again. 

It is important to note that we must elect leaders who are champions of humanity and democracy. We should not vote for a leader who masterminds the bloody drug war which has taken thousands of lives of Filipinos, mostly from the urban poor. We should not elect leaders who silence and smother our country’s free speech and free press. Those who supported the enactment of the vague and draconic anti-terrorism law must have no place in our ballots. Moreover, we should learn from history: whether it’s the son, daughter, mother, or anyone from the atrocious Martial Law family, they should never be allowed to regain their seat of power. We should be electing leaders, not circus showmen. 

Every vote will matter. We must vote for leaders who can best represent us, and not those who can best benefit from us. There is a great power that resides with our votes, and that power must be used for nothing but the greater good. The hope is us, not them. 

Now more than ever, we have to establish a concrete and genuine unity among oppositions to prevent us from living the next six years in fear and horrors. We have suffered long enough. We will not and we cannot be slaves again. Not today and not tomorrow. Enough is enough.