Filipino politicians also know how to concede graciously
() - November 20, 2008 - 12:00am

We watched with awe and admiration the political maturity and sportsmanship displayed by Senator John McCain when he immediately and graciously conceded to Senator Barack Obama even before the results were officially announced in the recently concluded US Presidential elections. 

 Thus, even Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita could not be blamed for asking: “Do you think there is hope that in the Philippines, there will also come a time that politicians here will be like that?”

 Well, Filipinos should not despair that much. Even before McCain did it, we also have Filipino politicians in the past who also fascinated our people for their political maturity when they voluntarily conceded to their opponents and called their supporters to support the winners.

 In 1965, when the late President Diosdado Macapagal lost to former President Ferdinand Marcos, he (Macapagal) graciously conceded his defeat to Marcos and said that while “we did our best to win in a proper way, our sovereign people, however, decided not to renew our mandate. We have no alibi for the outcome of the election.” In his book, A Stone for the Edifice-Memoirs of A President, he narrated how he accompanied Marcos to the site of the inauguration rites. He recalled that “on my invitation, we passed by the Malacanang chapel to kneel together in a one-minute prayer for the welfare of our country. We rode together in an open car on the way to the Luneta. (Upon arrival) we alighted from the car for the joint military honors. After the military honors, I shook hands with the President-elect, wished him good luck, and boarded my car. As my car moved away, an ovation broke anew from the grandstand and instinctively I waved my hand in acknowledgment of the generous gesture of the people.” For sure, that was more than just a McCain.

And in the May 1995 elections, Governors Juanito Remulla of Cavite and Bren Guiao of Pampanga and Mayor Brigido Simon Jr. of Quezon City, also demonstrated their political sportsmanship when they graciously conceded to their respective rivals, Governors Epimaco Velasco, Lito Lapid and Mayor Ismael Mathay Jr.

And who can forget the May 2007 elections when Mayor Lito Atienza and his son, Ali, who ran for mayor of Manila, immediately conceded to Mayor Fred Lim even before the completion of the canvass of all the election returns. Mayor Atienza who campaigned hard for Ali joined his son as they congratulated Lim as a sign of sportsmanship and respect for the will of the people of Manila.

Indeed, there is hope that time will come when all losing candidates could concede graciously with honor and dignity so that they could work together to get our country moving again after the polls.— Atty. ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, Election Lawyer, Las Piñas City

A STONE ALI EDIFICE-MEMOIRS OF A PRESIDENT ELECTION LAWYER EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA GOVERNORS EPIMACO VELASCO GOVERNORS JUANITO REMULLA OF CAVITE AND BREN GUIAO OF PAMPANGA AND MAYOR BRIGIDO SIMON JR. OF QUEZON CITY LAS PI LITO LAPID AND MAYOR ISMAEL MATHAY JR. MAYOR ATIENZA MAYOR FRED LIM
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