The Philippine Liberal Party has a reason to celebrate three weeks after suffering a big loss with their Presidential candidate Mar Roxas losing to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) rushed to finalise the tallying of votes for the Presidency and Vice Presidency just in time to have a “happy” weekend.Their supporters could not wait to celebrate by tagging me in their celebratory posts on social networking site Twitter. They wanted to make sure that I was informed when their candidate Congresswoman Leni Robredo’s numbers overtook Senator Bongbong Marcos by 260K votes. I felt flattered at first but then I realised that some of them were not doing it to be nice; they were actually feeling a sense of schadenfreude. They wanted to gloat. They were experiencing pleasure in another person’s misfortune. You see, some of them mistakenly think I work for Marcos Jr and so were laughing at my expense. I just had to shake my head in disbelief. Apparently, they have been reading my articles criticising the current government and have misinterpreted it as being pro-Marcos.
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Some Filipinos were not taught to be gracious at all. I did not feel the need to make fun of Roxas’s supporters when he lost. You would think that I would be jumping for joy after he lost since I have been one of his staunch critics but, no, I did not feel the need to kick a horse when it was already down. A person’s true character reveals itself in the face of success or adversity. With the way some of Robredo’s supporters behaved after they received a favourable result, they will not win any Ms Congeniality contests. Some of them resort to personal attacks even when they are not provoked. It’s quite baffling why they take any criticism of a public servant personally when it’s not about them. You have to wonder why Robredo doesn’t inspire her supporters to behave nicely considering they say she is the “decent” candidate.
As a matter of fact, Robredo’s supporters are some of the nastiest people on the Net. They dismiss those who have differing views as paid hacks or irrelevant. They also try to shut down their opponent by divulging personal information. They are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Someone even told me to shut-up. This is quite ironic considering they are also staunchly against Martial Law. The irony of what they are doing – denying me my right to speak – escapes them. I had to tell one of them to enjoy the feeling he is experiencing because it is temporary. I had to explain to him that the feeling of pleasure derived from the misfortune of others means he has an unhealthy mentality. The poor soul seemed lost.
I just can’t help but feel disgusted at the way LP supporters dismiss reports about 90,000 people from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao who were not able to vote and failed to exercise their right to suffrage. According to a news report, “a former governor of Basilan on Thursday said 90 percent of the official ballots in the province were pre-shaded in favor of candidates Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.”
Seriously, some of Robredo’s supporters are callous and insensitive to the plight of their compatriots in Mindanao. No wonder Robredo’s supporters were not gracious in their win. To quote another wise Twitter poster: “Only those who know they have won fair and square can be gracious in victory”.
Another person asked me why some people feel schadenfreude. Well, some people’s beliefs are not based on principle. It is based on idolising an image of a person they created in their heads or one that was created for them by the media. This is true in the case of the Liberal Party supporters. Mainstream media has created this image of Robredo as the personification of the late former President Cory Aquino. They think she is another pious widow. The yellow dress Robredo likes to wear completes the look. This is precisely the reason why they think Robredo is the “right” one.
If I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t celebrate too soon. Robredo’s win could turn out to be a curse, not a blessing. She’s got high expectations to fulfil. She’s said so herself before that she could have a hard time being Vice President if Roxas does not win the Presidency. This early she’s already expressing her opposition to some of Duterte’s plans like allowing former Ferdinand Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. She’s also against the death penalty. She might just give Duterte a tough time to implement his vision.
Aside from not seeing eye to eye with her President, Robredo could be facing electoral protest from Marcos Jr. His team is reportedly planning on mounting legal action against the COMELEC based on discrepancies they found during the canvasing of votes. Their next move is to file an election protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) based on evidence of electoral fraud.
During the canvassing, the Marcos camp had repeatedly pointed out the undervotes for each certificate of canvass (COC) for the vice presidential race.
In the end, some 3.9 million undervotes were registered in the vice presidential race.
“We suspect that these votes were credited to other candidates…. We believe these votes belong to Bongbong Marcos,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that should Marcos decide to pursue a protest against Robredo, their team is prepared to gather evidence. Aside from undervotes, they will look into the introduction of a new script or computer command in the Commission on Elections server on May 9, and the zero votes that Marcos received in some towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Robredo’s supporters should be calling for unity instead of more conflict. Despite our differences in opinion, we are all fighting for a better Philippines. They should not insult the people who voted for Marcos Jr because they – 14 million of them – think that Marcos Jr was cheated. The last thing Robredo wants to do is to antagonise them by acting so cocky after her win.
I have always said that I am simply advocating an honest election. I cannot help but feel outraged at the thought that criminal syndicates could be getting away with electoral fraud once again. They already got away in 2010 and 2013. It seems the opportunity to catch them this year is slipping away especially since some would want to “move on”. Only the COMELEC can help in exposing the truth. If they allow the system audit, we can all be sure that Robredo was not a beneficiary of electoral fraud.
[Photo courtesy ABS-CBN News.]
In life, things are not always what they seem.