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Opinion

Sword of Damocles or time bomb?

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Remember the story “The Sword of Damocles,” about a man who after showering his King Dionysius with flatteries and praise, was given a chance to sit on the throne for one day in order to experience what it was like to be king. Damocles readily accepted the offer and sat on the throne surrounded by servants and all sorts of luxuries anyone could imagine. Unbeknownst to Damocles, King Dionysius arranged for a sword to be hung above the throne tied only with a single strand of hair from a horse’s tail. “To evoke the sense of what it is like to be King; though having much fortune, always having to watch in fear and anxiety against dangers that might try to overtake him. Damocles finally begged the King that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great danger.” (wikipedia.org)

In more ways than one, presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos may eventually find himself in the very same circumstances that Damocles did in aspiring for the presidency.

It all begins with his damaged or non-existent relationship with President Duterte who has mysteriously taken upon himself the task of vilifying Bongbong Marcos on a personal level. But why? one might ask, given how the Marcoses supported and cooperated with PRRD through his campaign and most of his presidency. Perhaps it is not personal but tactical. By leading the charge, all the President’s supporters will presumably distance themselves from BBM and focus on the election of Sara Duterte as Vice President. Whatever happens during the electoral process from now and until the new president is declared, Sara can in all sincerity state that her hands and conscience are clean.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez says it is likely that the petitions for cancelation of the COC of BBM will be decided on before the printing of ballots because the Comelec officials merely need to establish if there was “Material Misrepresentation” in the COC based on whether or not the alleged misrepresentation referred to by the complainants will affect his capacity as a candidate, and to hold office as president of the Philippines. Does having been convicted of failing to file your income tax for one year materially affect your candidacy or ability to serve in office? I would wager that the cancelation will not materialize purely on technicality and legalese.

If the cancelation case is not settled before ballots are printed and BBM’s name is on the ballots, and later his COC is cancelled, all votes that are given him will be declared as stray votes not to be counted and cannot be shared or passed on to his running mate. However, if a disqualification case is filed, the case can drag on for only GOD knows how long. In the meantime, the candidate in question can go through with the campaign and if he or she wins based on the counting, the candidate will be declared a winner while the case or proceedings for disqualification goes on.

Take note that a cancelation of a candidate’s COC has a very different outcome than in a disqualification case. If a cancelation case drags on and a candidate wins and is declared but loses the case, the candidate with the second highest number of votes for president becomes the winner because the cancelation of a COC means that you were never a candidate. In a way it’s like an annulment of marriage that effectively declares the marriage was invalid and no marriage took place. On the other hand, if a winning presidential candidate is disqualified he will be removed from office and the vice president takes over the position.

At least two presidents have said: “Mag presidente ka muna/ Become president first.” But in a country where political horse trading abounds, what sort of trades and commitments can Bongbong Marcos make and what guarantees can he rely on in exchange and from whom? The people he had counted on to help him win his electoral protest for the vice presidency did not lift a finger nor publicly state their unconditional support for him. Now they have even declared war against him.

While his supporters claim he is ahead in surveys, other observers will state that he is a controversial if not an unpopular candidate running in tandem with a vice presidential candidate who was supposed to be “The” presidential candidate originally and whose father has openly opposed their alliance and is now doing a cancer-like demolition job on BBM. Marcos should also pay particular attention to the plans of President Duterte to go for the Senate presidency and rumors that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has her eyes on the Speaker’s job in Congress. That combination is how kings are made and toppled.

I am reminded of the Erap-Arroyo situation when President Erap Estrada never got to spend much time as president because he had to fight off so much black propaganda during his candidacy, demolition jobs early in his presidency, a legislative coup masquerading as an impeachment proceeding, and eventually an orchestrated uprising that was largely concocted and orchestrated by the “concerned upper class.” When the dust settled a smiling vice president simply walked in and took over the job.

On the surface, people might readily come to the conclusion that the same thing could happen if Bongbong Marcos is Disqualified or becomes president and Sara Duterte wins as vice president in 2022. But do not be hasty, as I have said time and again in order to explain the unexplainable: “May Diyos/ There is GOD.” VP Leni Robredo has been patiently and consistently gaining ground and as far as VP is concerned, the man to beat is Sen. Tito Sotto. Together they are a double edged sword that will cut either way it falls!

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E-mail: [email protected]

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