De Lima urges Filipinos to choose worthy leaders

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In line with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections today, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has encouraged her countrymen to exercise their right to vote and to choose worthy candidates who have genuine concern for the collective welfare of their communities.

De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, also reminded the public to be cautious of candidates who only wish to advance their selfish personal or political agendas.

“Alam natin na mayroon pong mga pinuno ng barangay ang kinakasangkapan ng kanilang mga padrino para lamang manatili sa poder at kapangyarihan.

“May mga sangkot sa katiwalian at ilegal na transaksyon sa komunidad, habang ang iba naman ay kinukunsinti, kundi man nagbubulag-bulagan lang sa nangyayaring extrajudicial killings at mga krimen sa kanilang nasasakupan,” she said.

Given this harsh reality, De Lima added, “ang hindi pakikilahok o pagbalewala lamang sa halalang ito ay katumbas na rin ng pagpayag na magpatuloy ang ganitong kalakaran sa mga barangay.”

The Senator from Bicol, who made her mark as an election lawyer before being appointed as the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in 2008, also encouraged registered voters to remain vigilant about possible election-related crimes when they cast their votes.

“Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat ng botante, lalo na ang ating kabataan, na bukod sa responsableng pagpili ng mga kandidato ay maging mapagmatyag sa mga posibleng pag-abuso, pandaraya at karahasang may kinalaman sa halalan,” she said.

She advised the citizenry to report to authorities any election-related crimes perpetrated either by the candidates, poll watchers, or even fellow voters, if not post about the wrongdoings on social media.

“Maaari ring gamitin ang social media para agarang mailantad ang masasaksihang paglabag hanggang sa makaabot ito sa mga awtoridad,” she said.

She added, “nasa kamay ng mamamayan ang pagkakataong ihalal ang mga pinunong tunay na maglilingkod sa barangay at mangangalaga sa kapakanan ng marami. Palakasin natin ang ating mga barangay. Simulan natin sa ating responsableng pagboto sa mga nararapat at tapat na lider.”

As Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation, De Lima has pushed for legislative measures to strengthen the independence of the barangay and barangay officials from the highly partisan nature of politics. (30)