Choosing the 10 best senatorial candidates | Inquirer Business
MAPping the Future

Choosing the 10 best senatorial candidates

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) had embarked on a project in 2004 to help Filipino voters choose their president. MAP appointed then one of its most active members, Vic Magdaraog, who was at the time chief operating officer of the Development Dimensions International (DDI), to head the task force and research team to identify the “must” roles of the top Philippine leader. Volunteers were also invited to join the research project, the findings of which were shared with various platforms.

MAP methodology


Since the project was essentially a leadership issue, Vic and his team looked at the various models of various authors popular with management professionals. DDI had its own (navigator, strategist, entrepreneur, mobilizer, talent advocate, captivator and global thinker), so did Covey (pathfinding, aligning, empowering and modelling), Belbin (planner, company worker, resource investigator, chairman, shaper and monitor-evaluator), Gallup (formulation, strategic thinking, creativity, activator and simulator) and Mintzberg (disseminator, entrepreneur, liaison, leader and spokesperson). These were the sources of primary data.

The team, knowing the Philippine context and applying this to the task at hand, narrowed down the “must” roles of a successful president to five: (1) navigator/strategist, (2) mobilizer, (3) servant leader, (4) captivator and (5) guardian of the national wealth, patrimony and law and order. These five roles were then defined and clarified, the rationale for each was explained and the team agreed on the behaviors and competencies associated with each role.


Various subgroups in the team were then formed to vet the findings and consulted with several personalities: previous presidents, lawmakers, media, etc.

Identifying the roles of a successful president is not enough, however. Just as important are the attributes of the person who would be president. The five attributes identified were: (1) character, (2) competence, (3) commitment, (4) sense of country and (5) responsible citizenship.

A score sheet was then developed. The voter could rate each candidate in a matrix and compare the ratings with other competing candidates. The score sheet was and could be used for rating the candidates in subsequent national and local elections.

People’s Choice Movement project

On March 15, about 150 individuals gathered to select the 10 best senatorial candidates. The event was organized by the People’s Choice Movement (PCM), a group of lay leaders from different faith-based organizations from the Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant communities in the country. Also invited were representatives from the business and civil society sectors. Participation is by individuals, not organizations. It was made very clear to the participants this was not a church activity but an initiative of the leaders of the laity.

All 62 senatorial candidates went through two levels of screening. They each had to hurdle two knockout issues: the candidate must (1) believe in God and (2) be against charter change/federalism in the various versions under the present administration (especially the Arroyo/House version).

All 62 candidates passed the “belief in God” criterion. Thirty candidates who have declared their support for Cha-cha and federalism were removed from the pool. The 15 others who did not have a declared position were removed as well.


The 17 remaining candidates in the pool were then subjected to a second screening. They were rated using a common criteria called GabayKristo, a guide comprised of 20 specific questions which fall into four categories: (1) character and honor, (2) competence and abilities, (3) faithfulness to public service and (4) faithfulness to God, the Constitution and the law. The candidates were then graded from a low of 1 to a high of 5.

The 10 candidates with the highest scores were then declared the best candidates.

The list of the selected 10 will be made available, with the permission of the Church hierarchy (bishops and parish priests), to all the dioceses, parishes and other church communities. The Catholic schools and other faith-based educational institutions will also be given a copy of the list. All the lay or faith-based organizations will also be furnished with the list, with a request to consider voting and campaigning for the candidates who have passed the collective discernment of a community of lay leaders.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in its Jan. 28, 2019 pastoral statement, encouraged the laity to conduct circles of discernment in choosing the best leaders who can serve our country and defend the faith. The bishops also took a stand against continuing attacks, insults and threats hurled against the church, its bishops and priests.

The PCM is the laity’s answer to this call for action.

People’s choice

Once every three years, the Filipino voter is given the right and the duty to choose the leaders of this country. The people’s vote has awesome power—it has the potential, if exercised properly, to transform Philippine society by making sure that the leaders they elect are pro-God, propoor, prolife and procountry, prodemocracy and inclusive. It is the obligation of every responsible citizen to choose wisely, not to sell that vote and to make sure it is counted properly. Whether the voter uses the MAP, the PCM or any other method in making a choice, what is clear is that such vote is sacred and is the exercise of real people power.

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