Foisting fears

The elections were over. However, the election fever has yet to simmer down. A number of the election-related violent incidents during last Monday’s national and local elections took place in known hot spots in Mindanao. The post-election fever though remains palpable across our country. It is brewing especially among the ranks of rabid campaign and political supporters in closely contested electoral posts in areas where the sore losers claim fraud and cheating.

Government authorities led by the Department of Health (DOH) are much worried on a more deadly fever. Only after two weeks of incubation period for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection we would see if the just concluded elections will cause a resurgence of the pandemic.

Acting on the DOH warning, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) adopted precautionary measures to guard against causing possible super spreader event during election day. However, the ensuing queues and long hours of waiting of so many voters who flocked to polling centers last Monday got our health authorities worried again of yet another surge of COVID-19 infection cases.

From the so-called “snap shots” taken by pre-election mock polls, indeed the tandem of presidential aspirant ex-Senator Ferdinand “BBM” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as his vice presidential (VP) candidate prevailed overwhelmingly, according to the Comelec’s partial, unofficial nationwide canvass.

Early morning yesterday after the initial Comelec results already came out, the tandem of ex-Sen.Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III were the first ones to man up to their sorry defeat. In a display of statesmanship – which has become so rare these days – Lacson and Sotto quietly licked the mortal wounds from their hard-fought battle. Both tried as much as possible to stay away from negative political campaign by showing the kind of leadership needed in this country.

Apparently, however, the Filipino voters are still not ready yet for this new political campaign paradigm shift.

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In fact, still many Filipinos hang on to the old adage followed by the traditional politicians, or “trapos” as they are pejoratively called for short, whenever defeated in a fair fight. These “trapos” brazenly peddle the lie they lost because they were cheated.

A few hours later yesterday, other presidential aspirants Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and his VP runningmate Dr.Willie Ong and labor leader Leody de Guzman followed suits and conceded. VP Leni Robredo and her runningmate Sen.Kiko Pangilinan have not conceded yet but asked their supporters “to respect the will of the people.” Sen. Manny Pacquiao and VP runningmate Rep.Lito Atienza, too, have not yet conceded defeat.

While some of the losing candidates are still in a denial mode, the outgoing administration of President Rodrigo Duterte already began the transition process to the next government. No less than President Duterte keeps reminding his Cabinet members and other co-terminus appointees and officials in the Executive Department to ensure the smooth succession takes place in their respective agencies.

“It is a constitutional requirement that on June 30 a new president must swear,” the 75-year-old Chief Executive cited during a lengthy interview in Davao City last Thursday at the SMNI TV network run and owned by Pastor Quiboloy.

In that interview, President Duterte revealed a certain woman related to a presidential candidate purportedly sought him out with an offer.

The President disclosed he was being asked to become an “adviser” should that candidate wins and succeeds him in office at Malacanang. “No, I will not do that. I will maybe just – I will sort it out and maybe share with you what is useful to your administration,” the President quoted his reply to the woman emissary.

The 75-year-old President, however, hastened to add he is willing to give advice “just over a cup of coffee” but not as a “regular adviser” at Malacanang. He explained his reluctance: “Because if I advise, then you do not do it, or the implementation goes from bad to worse, then it’s difficult, I said, and you are mentioned as the adviser, the advisor.”

But after he steps down at noon of June 30, President Duterte promised to keep his presence felt around the country and asked Quiboloy to give him airtime at the SMNI TV network. “I hope to be around more often in this place because I said that I will help my country by just adding some features that will make it more effective,” he enthused.

During the same interview, Quiboloy asked President Duterte to comment on the feared outbreak of post-election unrest amid claims of one or two presidential candidates in case the “leading presidentiable” in pre-elections mock polls might win.

“Maniwala ka diyan. (Believe you me.) You know, during the elections and before the new President takes over, I would still be President. If you do that, I will drag you – I’ll put you in, totoo ‘yan, ipapasok talaga kita diyan sa kulungan na pinakamabaho. (I will send you to the foulest smelling jail.),” the President retorted.

The former Davao City Mayor pointed to city jails that have no comfort room, no running water, no toilet “bowls where you sit for a s*** Gusto ninyong matikman ‘yan? Eh sige. Maniwala kayo diyan. (If you want to experience that, go ahead. Believe you me),” the President wisecracked.

Turning serious, he invoked his powers as the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). As deputized and tasked by the Comelec, the President stressed, they would not allow trouble-makers to undermine the generally peaceful and orderly elections we just had all over the country.

“Loosely translated, the President issued this stern warning: “You create trouble? Tapos ako ang presidente? Patay ka sigurado. (And I’m still the President, you’re dead for sure).”

Throughout his public service career spanning over 40 years starting as fiscal, the President proudly cited his foisting “fears” as the best asset in his arsenal.

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