Is Perlas still running?” my aunt interrogated me on Easter Sunday. “Yes he is.” I replied. “And you’re still campaigning?” she asked. “”Ardently” was my reply. She stared at me bewildered. And I knew she thought, “You’re insane.”

People will always wonder why we stand by Nick Perlas, and why we do so despite the odds, and in spite of the dismal bottom-dwelling status. But I am convinced Nick Perlas is the lone candidate who embodies the genuine change this country is in dire need of. Other candidates pay lip service to “change.” They mouth change and yet are hemmed in by the same people who pre-election period, were busy short-changing our country. They mouth change and yet are the first ones violating election rules or wiggling their way out of them with legalese and loopholes. They mouth change and yet employ the same serpentine politics where they pat your back and you pat theirs. They say change and then change parties and principles like their wardrobe.

Nick Perlas lives a life of authenticity and congruently carries out his campaign based on authentic change for the country. His campaign is driven by a vision for a country that is entirely new, fiercely vibrant and impossibly real. Nick Perlas’ integrity is without question. He lives and breathes it. “We shall walk our talk.” I have fumbled a few times, endeavoring to stay in the formidable path of new politics. I remember Nick Perlas likening it to a birthing. Bearing new politics obliges you to have strong clarity of purpose and commitment so that you ceaselessly bear it, even amidst the labor and pain that comes with birthing. I find myself often plagued, even lured by traditional politics, especially by its ease. But Nick Perlas has unrelentingly demonstrated to us that as with everything new, the possibilities are endless. Nothing is impossible. People are skeptical when I tell them that we have not given anyone anything. They scoff when I relate to them that there was no payoff with Comelec when Nick Perlas was reinstated. They are dubious, as there were neither any strings pulled nor favors dispensed. Then there’s disbelief. Philippine elections demand billions of money. Yet our Presidential campaign has only spent a puny 2 million. Why? Because there are no envelopes to discreetly hand out; there is no media payout; there are no wads for campaign managers, no loot for leaders and barangay captains; and especially no illusions of grandeur when we win. Instead, act out of your deepest ideals and sources of conviction. Take courage and argue a winning case with Comelec. Win votes by dialoguing with Filipinos about their problems, their aspirations and chart a future of genuine service. Media should come because truth should be shared. Contribution comes, in money and especially in invaluable time, from people who share our faith in the possibilities of real change. All things are possible, all the time. Even when tell you, there is no other way but shady, muddy, dirty politics.

I had but a vague understanding of democracy. What is real democracy? It is dêmos, the “people” and krátos, “power” or rule by the people and we have lost all semblance of it. Our sovereignty guarantees that all government authority emanates from us, and yet what we dish out this power for naught: apathy, money, or worse, popularity. Do we even know how much power we yield as a people? I am convinced Nick Perlas is a true bearer of democracy. I have confidence in his capacity to bring the government back to its people. He is the only candidate who champions “true and participatory democracy, based on an authentic, respectful, and creative process” of citizen empowerment, dialogue and consensus. Political leaders have no idea of our genius and capabilities as a people. The handful of oligarchs that rule this country, choose to dictate to us, denying our human capacity for vision and creativity. Nick Perlas’ vision for the country:

“A prosperous, peaceful, democratic, moral and visionary nation, living in harmony with nature and energized by creative, honest, hardworking, and disciplined citizens, who are aware of their divine origin and purpose and who have united together in sustaining a free, vibrant and diverse culture, a broad-based and inclusive economy, a truly participatory, just and compassionate governance, a clean and beautiful environment, and motivated to positively contribute to world affairs.”

This is the Philippines I have set my heart on and I want to take responsibility for its rebirth.

More than idyllic words, Nick Perlas commits to us, a living, viable and unparalleled platform. I say a “living and viable platform” because what Nick Perlas has set out to do for the country, he has already been doing for the last 40 years. Filipinos have relentlessly been guaranteed change, dangled with golden platforms filled with promise, election after election. We have elected, installed, even booted out leaders, all with the dream of reviving the country. What makes Nick Perlas different from those who plead and cajole, is that he has already made good on his promises. His is not a pipe dream. Nick Perlas is known as a “Practical Visionary” because he has already devoted decades of his life advancing authentic democracy and integral sustainable development. And he has done so without being in public office. I say “unparalleled platform” because I am yet to meet a man as brilliant as Nick Perlas. Conrado de Quiros once pronounced: “Nick Perlas is easily the most brilliant man to have joined the [Presidential] race.” Truly, if this race was about brain and brawn, Nick Perlas is matchless both in wisdom and in courage. You only have to read his platform and you will realize this man contains multitudes. His answers to our problems are not simple. He can be verbose and he will not give you the answers you expect. Instead, every time you listen to him, you will discover something entirely new and perplexing. And you will no longer find straightforward answers to the country’s questions. Instead, the answers are complex, intricate and tangled. Poverty intercepts everything else. So does corruption. Even the littlest issues we take for granted, like smoke from the bus. Our country is in ruins. But we can no longer allow simple, straightforward, superficial solutions on structures. What the country calls for is a real solution, one that goes into its foundation, connects to every brick and mortar, and especially considers the people that build them.

Except that, there are those who will insist that Nick Perlas will not win and so why waste a vote? It is exasperating because that is exactly how we have resisted change throughout history. Our old ways proclaim that you only vote for the “winnable” candidate lest you waste your vote. And so you rely on the past, choose the lesser evil among those adjudged “winnables.” But this notion is a tortuous route. By voting merely because a candidate is marketable and perhaps will win, you neglect the very essence of democracy, of being free to choose who deserves your sovereignty. You settle. You pick a lesser evil. You forego principles. Squander your vote. All because, “perhaps, he might win.” It is disempowering, insulting to your intelligence, and you in fact, waste your vote.

Why Nick Perlas? And why campaign so fervently? People will continue to wonder. Some will balk. And others will think it insane. But Einstein once said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Exactly. How can we repeat the mistakes of the past, vote based on popularity, on personality, on machinery, or on glitz and gold? We have done the same thing over and over again he past 50 years, and yet we are now expecting a different result. Insane.

There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish. John Keats

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