In my opinion, not many of us came out clean from this election. Very few of us got out unscathed. It has brought out the best and the worst in us. But never has there been such a clamour for discussion on right and wrong and a real battle for the things that need to be changed.

I like to think I’ve always been critical of the government when I could, depending on what I’ve read in news articles and what I could fact-check online. I like to think I’ve listened to both sides before I ask my pointed questions.

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But this election, I’ve only really openly declared my vote for Leni Robredo. I was undecided for a long time for my President but I think I’ve made a choice already. I’m not that happy with my choice, but considering all the available other options, he’s the best choice out there with the current crop, someone I can accept, and at the very least, someone I think and believe I can call out when he’s doing wrong and I think he’d listen. None of the presidential candidates have made me want to vote for them but at this point, I’m voting Mar Roxas out of default, by a process of elimination. I have a lot of reservations but not as much as the other candidates.

Yes, we need a change and we need to topple the oligarchy but I cannot stand by the irrational things that Duterte has said, and then the way in which he takes it back and calls them jokes after the heat and pressure has applied. I’ve heard him promise but never actually give detailed plans. I know what he stands for, I don’t know how he plans to do it. And this push-and-pull with Trillanes over the BPI accounts could have been answered with the simplicity of his earlier campaign strategy and then, all of sudden, he pulls backs and takes a very Binay approach to the affair. It doesn’t sit well with me.

All the candidates make promises and propose their plans and platforms, but Aquino did the same and until now, we don’t have the Freedom of Information bill, which is something he has promised. Yes, we have the RH Law but it was diluted where it was essential.

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Promises can’t satisfy me. I need to see a semblance of how they react and how they act in accordance to their surroundings and Duterte has flip-flopped and played the game and when the pressure hit hard, he changed his tune. And he doesn’t seem like a person who will listen when people tell him he’s wrong. At least Mar Roxas has shown improvement over the course of the three debates. He changes appropriately to the feedback from his initial campaign strategies. Yes, he still says the wrong things, but he has stood firm with his statements. There is a stability there that I can hold on to. And he appears to me like a person who takes his image seriously and if he does anything wrong, and people call him out on it, he may just bend and adjust. I don’t see that with Duterte. And from Poe, who I was also seriously considering, she seems like the person who will bend immediately to say exactly what you want to hear. And I’m very wary of the people around her.

But more than anything else, I’m happy to see people talk serious about the country and the government. What I am hoping for is that people will actually keep at it even after the elections. This has been the most divisive election ever but it has also brought up many things that we can see as root problems that need to be addressed. No matter who wins, there is a huge majority that will be angry and feel marginalised. I hope that they will serve as a serious critical point to make sure that the new administration doesn’t screw up. I hope that whoever wins, we end up all working together to making things work.

And, yes, we need to put the power back to the people, and we need to cut the oligarchs’ influence and control to a minimum level, and yes, we need to de-power the corporations and force them to give proper service to people and I know that Mar isn’t that good a representation for that belief; but if the pressure is put on him, I believe he will make the necessary changes to ease us into it without a period of chaos and disrupting whatever economic gains we may have gained. Anybody else would instantly implement new rules and sudden and drastic changes can be damaging for a country.

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Let’s face it: The Philippines is not a country that handles change well. Out of all the presidential candidates out there, Mar Roxas, with the right cabinet and with Leni Robredo as his Vice-President, I think he can manoeuvre the changes that need to be made, which have been brought up by this very painful and divisive campaign and election season.

The most important thing that has to happen, though, is that we don’t stop caring about what happens after the election. If people like Abaya and Honrado and Abad remain in office, we have to clamour again to get them out and bring them down. We have to remain vigilant and we have to really care about what happens to our country. We can’t just go back to the status quo.

We have to change too. That’s the most important thing about this election. Because it’s the point with which we can see how badly we want this change. If, after the election, regardless of who wins or loses we change for the better then we can see that all of this was worthwhile.

That’s what I’m hoping for.

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