By the time this editorial material sees print, the recent senatorial election shall have been over and done with.
Happily, not a single one of the eight candidates who ran under the Otso Diretso ticket of the Liberal Party (LP) made it to the winning circle of 12. Its best shot was with reelectionist Sen. Bam Aquino, the overgrown kid whose only legislative skill is to look like his famous uncle. He’s down to 14th place. Even the not so popular reelectionist Sen. JV Ejercito is ahead of him.
The ticket’s lead candidate, former Sen. Mar Roxas, ended at number 16. That is a far cry from his first run for the Senate when he placed first. His defeat this year is his third unsuccessful attempt at getting elected to high public office. It’s a clear message that his days as a national politician are over.
It’s a debacle, to put it mildly, for Roxas, Aquino and the rest of Otso Diretso. The electorate soundly repudiated the opposition party which hates President Rodrigo Duterte.
Early into the canvassing, and even after the seven-hour glitch with the transparency server at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) operations center, it was evident that the Otso Diretso was going to lose. Even the ticket’s prominent campaigners knew it.
In a statement to the media he made a day after the polls closed, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, LP president, said that victory was not the goal of the Otso Diretso. By any way one looks at that statement, it was an explicit admission of the LP president himself that the Otso Diretso knew from the start that defeat was inevitable for them.
To complement Pangilinan’s statement, almost all of the Otso Diretso candidates conceded within hours after the voting ended. Only the yellow army stragglers working for Aquino and, surprisingly, Roxas, refused to accept defeat.
Everyone monitoring the May 2019 election knows that top Philippine friar Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and his equally opinionated gang of Padre Damasos campaigned for the Otso Diretso ticket. In their desperation to get voters to support the ticket, these friars repeatedly breached the constitutionally mandated dividing line between Church and State.
The head of a famous, high-end Catholic university based in Manila who is identified with ex-President Benigno Aquino III even had his campaign letter published in another newspaper (not the Daily Tribune) on the eve of election day, in violation of election laws.
After conceding defeat when defeat was obvious, the Otso Diretso supporters retreated to lick their political wounds. Many of them, like Pangilinan and Vice President Leni Robredo, realized the hopelessness of their situation and encouraged their supporters to fight another day. Two Otso Diretso candidates complied and revealed that they have resumed their private practice of law.
Last Friday, however, many Otso Diretso supporters embarked on a new strategy. Prompted by Padre Damaso’s cabal of friars, an angry mob composed of Otso Diretso supporters, young yellow army cadres, and leftist groups, decided to oppose the proclamation of the winning senators scheduled last Sunday.
Even Maria Lourdes Sereno, the discredited de facto ex-Chief Justice who was unseated by her own colleagues in the Supreme Court last year, joined the bandwagon, thus revealing her bias towards the Otso Diretso.
A photograph published in the front page of another newspaper showed the Otso Diretso supporters carrying six yellow boxes, each marked with a label charging that the election was rigged.
One particular box was obviously re-marked with an accusation that the government of President Rodrigo Duterte is a dictatorship. That’s odd, of course, because if it were a dictatorship, the Otso Diretso ticket would not have been able to campaign against the pro-administration candidates, that several LP congressional candidates won in the provinces, also negates that accusation.
Evidently, the mob found a convenient excuse in the seven-hour glitch in the transparency server at the Comelec operations center. For them, that was enough excuse to first, stop the proclamation, and eventually, discredit the recent election and pave the way for a new one.
Surprisingly, the mob had nothing with which to equate the glitch with the transparency server to an irregularity in the canvass.
If Padre Damaso and the sore losers expect their mob mentality to trigger a revolutionary upheaval like that of EDSA I in 1986, they are in for a big disappointment. It really looks like our Catholic ayatollahs are overrating themselves.