Barely 16 days after the conduct of national elections, the two chambers of Congress proclaimed Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. as President-elect and Sara Duterte-Carpio as Vice-President-elect. The members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, functioning as the national board of canvassers, completed the tabulation of votes seamlessly in record time. From the outset, the counsel for the opposition candidate manifested that no objections would be raised against the validity of the returns — and this expedited the early completion of the process on the second day of the canvassing.
The proclamation of the election of the two highest officials of the land facilitates the completion of the most vital watershed event in a democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from an administration that has completely served out its electoral mandate to a new government that has been duly elected by the people to succeed it.
The recently concluded elections marks the first time since 1986 that the new President-elect and Vice-President-elect were voted by more than a majority of the citizens who participated in the elections. As such, their mandate to serve is beyond doubt or question.
This scenario demonstrates the vitality of democracy in the Philippines.
The record shows that since the adoption of the Philippine Constitution of 1987, the office of the President has been transferred peacefully five times after the conduct of orderly and credible elections that have been automated since 2010.
World leaders including President Joseph Biden Jr. of the United States, President Xi Jinping of China, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia were among the early well wishers of the new President-elect, along with the ambassadors of Israel, South Korea, Japan, and India.
The early proclamation also paves the way for achieving consensus in Congress on the priority legislative agenda that could fast-track the country’s recovery from the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic, ahead of its opening on July 25 that will be highlighted by the new President’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The announcement of the first wave of key Cabinet appointments has also bolstered confidence that highly competent senior officials with proven track records will be in command of the executive departments. Hopes are high that the principles of diversity and inclusion will be observed, in order to ensure that the composition of the highest councils of government will mirror the national profile. Considering that the President-elect won in 15 out of 17 regions, as well as among overseas Filipinos, the various constituent groups in the country are justified in expecting that, they too, will be given an opportunity to serve and shine.