An unparalleled election. Election 2022 had 65.7 m registered voters and the turn-out has been high despite the pandemic. It was a fight between two polar opposites. Electoral returns came in lightning speed which elicited suspicion. Long queues were reported, primarily caused by malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMS) and machine glitches. In past elections, it had taken me only about 45 minutes but this time, we spent some two and a half hours. This, despite the fact that we (my daughter in law, a PWD on wheelchair), my son and I were provided special assistance. There was no room for parking but we did not mind the inconvenience after seeing long lines outside. When we think of the voters who had to spend some 24 hours cooped in hot and humid voting centers, we realize that we were more privileged than most.
Months of fears and anxiety as well as euphoria had given way to grief and dismay. Like many, I refused to face reality despite figures that showed a landslide lead by BBM and Sara. But VP Leni was an example of calm as she asked supporters to accept the results, saying that we must believe in the democratic process. The important thing she emphasized was that we have started a movement which must continue.
Her message resonated and provided some comfort but did not stop thousands who marched to Comelec. We were cheated by an algorithm, a tech-savvy voter noted. PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting) issued a call for volunteers to help manually count the electoral returns. Several groups questioned Comelec about the improbable electoral returns; others revived the disqualification cases which were not acted upon by the poll body, saying they would take them to the Supreme Court.
In times like these, we turn to each other for reassurance and ideas and alternatives. We realize that what we fear about the future would not happen if we unite with a purpose. We have to start with accepting our failure, assess how we could take advantage of the gains we had made during the past year, as well as understand the realities that we face today – the strengths of the other party and resources at their command.
On our strengths, we had gained the respect of people from all over the world for the way we had managed our own Pink Revolution. It has taught us that if we want something very badly, we can cooperate, share, sacrifice, and become the kind of citizen we had always wanted to be – inclusive, organized, and disciplined. VP Leni had set the vision of society and the attributes of leadership needed to attain it.
We realized too that this came too late. One year versus more than six years of preparation by the other party. The latter was hell-bent on becoming president and had used every means, some unwarranted, to attain their goal.
Paul Aquino, father of Bam Aquino and Ninoy’s brother, has some good advice, and it is to build our institutional relationships and link with our political partners, the political parties. BBM, in addition to being able to combine the House of Marcos and House of Duterte, had Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She was the master architect in getting her political groups together to support the BBM political machinery. He further notes that most local government officials are affiliated with political parties and that in the end, their actions are dictated by the resources derived from their affiliations.
Another idea proposed is to establish a parallel NGO structure that would address primarily the marginalized. One suggests that we can channel the creative energy of the Pink Wave by strengthening the Angat Buhay program .The important thing is that we do not allow the movement to fizzle and lose momentum. The road ahead is difficult but rewarding.
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