Elections are here. All the build-up has led up to this day. We have been bombarded with daily news and commentaries on the activities of the candidates and the political parties.
Now, you can feel the festivities in the air; it is right in your face. The excitement and drama shall unfold every minute today. For the forecasted winners, it is the confirmation of the survey results and the start of planning for the fresh term. But for the expected losers, such as Otso Diretso and the Liberal Party (LP), it means the preparation of thanksgiving speeches, filled with excuses and what-if’s, a preview of which we got in the rain-drenched and nearly empty rally held in UP Diliman last week.
For the senatorial race, the administration, today, delivers its “knockout punch” against the opposition, as it signals the final takeover, similar to what happened in D-Day, exactly 75 years ago, in Normandy, France. In 6 June 1944, Allied Forces conducted the largest seaborne invasion in history, codenamed “Operation Overlord,” that eventually led to the downfall of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi forces in Europe. The nations of America, Britain, Canada and France assembled over 150,000 soldiers to thwart the Germans in an epic battle. The difference of D-Day to our elections today is that it is the Filipino electorate that shall organize itself to put away the opposition, similar to what transpired in 2016. To those unfamiliar, this significant event served as the opening sequence in the movie Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg. For the opposition, this significant event shall be their closing scene.
No amount of bickering and dirty politics can bring down President Rodrigo Duterte and his men. “Bikoy” turned out to be fluke, and the supposed grassroots campaigning by opposition was insignificant, mainly because they made the grave mistake of associating themselves with oligarch, Mar Roxas. Leftists and communists have been noisier than ever, but failed to get the attention of the masses. Sadly, the campaign jingle of Bong Revilla grabbed more attention than any of the Otso Diretso’s platforms, proof that their efforts are so forgetful and unimpressive.
Another piece of evidence that proves the uselessness of the LP is that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) did not recognize them as a dominant minority party. Last 8 May, the Comelec named Partido Demokratiko Pilipino as the dominant majority party and the Nacionalista Party as the dominant minority party, which got the handful of LP members angry. This is understandable as it is depressing to have an official proclamation of worthlessness.
Let us not forget the others to be elected today, particularly our local officials.
Administration alliances are less visible to the local officials since they owe their full commitment and allegiance to their own constituents. What has been rather unique is that each local candidate, for the past months, has been vying to have a “hand-raising” pictorial with President Duterte and her daughter, Davao Mayor “Inday” Sara Duterte. This has been a tug-of-war affair in almost all localities, to the point that it became common for the administration to have more than one bet in a locality, just to appease the politicians.
Guess who were the most eager to have their hands raised by the Dutertes? The former LP members, of course.
Then we have the partylist representatives, which significantly boomed this election season. Every where we go, we see a partylist group that appears to be more of a social club, instead of a marginalized and under-represented sector. Worse, if we examine the people behind these groups, we see the same politicians or members of the same political families that have been running the show for decades already. Is there anything illegal about this practice? Nothing. In fact, we have the Supreme Court to thank for this. Soon enough, we should see a revision of the Comelec rules to allow the voting for more than one partylist in an election, given the exponential growth of this practice (or business) has become.
By the time you read this column, you may have already made up your mind on who to vote for today. Regardless of your political standpoint, bear in mind the importance of casting your vote, as this is the essence of a true democracy. Be vigilant against vote-buying, as this is tantamount to corruption, restrictive of our democratic freedoms. In awaiting the final results, let us be meticulous, critical and aware. As for Otso Diretso and LP, grab your tissue paper and start rehearsing your farewell speeches.