By RUDY D. LIPORADA
Many were disgusted and frustrated, if both are not the same, with the outcome of the recent senatorial elections in the Philippines. I was not. It was expected.
What was not expected was how blatant President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte’s administration, in its effort to further consolidate and prolong its regime, did the cheating. My friend Christina Astorga, in her FB post, said it all. “Watchdog Namfrel was kicked out, no election returns for the opposition, one thousand PCOS election machines malfunctioned, seven hours reporting delay after the first election partial report which is enough time to rig the election, and the number of votes does not match with the turn out of the number of voters. Conclusion: the election was rigged.”
I add that even before the elections, the cheating had been ushered. The minions of the administration campaigned early, spending over the budget allotted by the Commission on Elections – TV ads, oversized and illegally placed tarpaulins (months before, I was in the remotest barrios of Romblon where trees and nooks where already peppered with Imee Marcos’s and Bong Go’s posters). Military elements, who were supposed to be apolitical, distributed anti-opposition media materials, red-tagging the candidates and coercing and intimidating voters. While Digong himself forbid any government official to campaign for anyone, he was at the forefront with his daughter, Sara, endorsing his clownish, suspected plunderers, and identified with drug lords candidates. Months before, while independent survey polls in millennial dominated communities had the opposition candidates leading, Pulse Asia (sounds like false) showed over 80% of the voters gravitating towards the minions of Duterte – to make the outcome of the elections believable.
When it comes to the issue of the now tagged Election Tokhang or the murder of the election outcome, who among the millennials who favored the opposition, specially, who are about to inherit the future, the future of the motherland, the catalysts of change have no concept of SD cards, of USBs, of encryptions, of copying, pasting, erasures, and transferring of data? If I, close to being a septuagenarian, have a strong sense of the digital cheating nuisance, the millennials would fathom more the insult. And I believe that there should be more of us near septuagenarians, even octogenarians or older who understand the digital Tokhang.
It would seem obvious but has to be emphasized and asked: Who could be able to control the surveys; the manipulation of PCOS machines; pay for TV ads, tarpaulins, and the like; and enforcers like the military?
Only those with money or those sponsored by those with money can do that.
This reminds us of how the American colonialists controlled the Philippine government after subjugating the rebellious natives. In page 91 of the report of the Philippine Commission Report in 1901, it reads (General Theory in Formation of the Government) “The theory upon which the commission is proceeding is that the only possible method of instructing the Filipino people in the methods of free institutions and self-government…In our last report, we pointed out that the great body of the people was ignorant, superstitious, and at present incapable of understanding any government…In this condition of affairs we have thought that we ought first to reduce the electorate to those could be considered intelligent, and so the qualification for voting fixed in the municipal code are that the voter shall either speak, read, and write English or Spanish, or that he shall have been formerly a municipal officer, or that he should pay a tax equal to $15 a year or own property of the value of $250…”
This goes without saying, too, that only those with money could run for the government, control the government, and prolong their stay in the government if they can.
Dictator Ferdinand Marcos tried to stay forever but was kicked out by People’s Power after 20 years of his reign. Unfortunately, although, he was vanquished, the system remained, run by those with money – by the landlords and the rich entrepreneurs whose interests are diametrically against the interests of the vast majority of the Filipinos who are the peasants, workers, and the urban poor.
After the succession within the system from Corazon Aquino, Digong comes out as the ultimate proof that the system will not vanish through the so-called Philippine democratic system. Digong’s regime has shown that only those with money have the ‘democracy’ not of the people, by the people, and for the people. After all, he has cursed the Filipino people saying “P..ng ina niyo. Mamatay kayo sa gutom. Wala akong pakialam.” Worse than Marcos, Digong has hoodwinked and killed more Filipinos in a very short span of time compared to the ousted dictator. Now, he is clinging to power which could not be wrested through ‘democratic’ means.
This makes him the latest and worst proof, so far, of the revolutionaries that there is a two-pronged struggle for the Filipinos to be free from their wretched bondage with the current Philippine political systems. One would be parliamentary, which is secondary, and protracted, which is primary. By the theory that freedom is never given but fought for, the revolutionaries believe that the protracted struggle must be waged by the Filipino people. The parliamentary struggle must be waged through the system if only to gain meager rights but, more importantly, to prove that the constitution only works if it does not harm the interests of those in power.
Digong won the 2016 elections because he rode on the sentiments of the people on corruption, crime, and foreign independence. He even promised to have peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed New People’s Army (NPA). Eventually, he coddled corrupt officials, promoted them, released plunderers from prison, and, worst, gave honors to the father of corruption, Ferdinand E. Marcos by having him buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Instead of solving the crime, he became a mass murderer of over 25,000 so-called drug addicts while setting drug lords free in his fake drug war.
Parliamentary protests of grieving students, jeepney drivers, urban poor and the like were ignored. The promised industrialization has not materialized in spite of loans already made for the projects that were drawn. He had basically sold the Philippines to China, not for the benefit of the Filipinos, saying that the Filipinos are inutile to defend themselves while beefing up his military forces. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were promised to come home because of industrialization have increased in hordes abroad to suffer low wages, homesickness and injustices like rape and murder. He has criticized Catholics with his blasphemous attacks against their God and religion. Prices of goods and services soared, and inflation is sure to spiral. Eventually, the promised peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA has fizzled as Digong terminated the talks at the verged of solutions to the Philippine problems being identified and stamped with solutions.
When Marcos tried to smash the NPA, they were but a minuscule insignificant ragtag group. Due to the repression of Marcos’s regime, the burgeoning hardships of the Filipinos led many of them to join the struggle. From the succession of presidents from Cory Aquino, without land reform and other policies really to serve the Filipino people, the NPA grew in number. Now that they dot most of the provinces in the Islands, with Digong blatantly initially hoodwinking the Filipinos, many more have realized the inutility of the ‘democratic’ systems to be solutions the problems of the Philippines. His red-tagging will convince more that, for their safety, they should go underground – no more parliamentary struggles for them, the armed struggle would be the logical choice.
Sooner or later, more likely sooner, President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte, if he does not die first due to his illness, will be ousted. The lit fuse to his demise from power has become shorter nearing to the explosion. There could be others who will replace him. Eventually, however, even the system will be changed. # nordis.net