Why Imee won big in Cebu
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Cebu has the biggest number of voters among all provinces in the Philippines. For the just-concluded 2019 midterm elections a total of 3,082,621 Cebuanos were registered as voters. Only Metro Manila has more. But then Metro Manila is not a province but a cluster of metropolitan cities.

It is no wonder then that candidates for national positions always make it a point to visit and campaign in Cebu not just once but twice, thrice, or as many times as time, resources, and health permit. To win in Cebu assures a candidate a substantial pool that needs only to be padded elsewhere.

Imee Marcos was one of the senatorial candidates who visited Cebu many times. Other than seeing Cebu as a rich source of votes, Imee had a bigger reason to try hard and win in Cebu. Imee is a Marcos and Cebu is a hotbed of anti-Marcos sentiment. Cebu famously gave birth to the "freedom marches" that shaped the political opposition to Marcos leading up to the EDSA Revolution in 1986.

But Imee is a bright girl. More importantly, she has faith in inevitability. Her own history has taught her the great lesson of life being a constant cycle. So while her enemies, particularly the candidates of Otso Diretso, placed all their marbles on an anti-Duterte, anti-Marcos gambit, Imee wagered on the inevitability of change and moving on.

The result of her persistence and faith was that Cebu rewarded her with a win. And not just a win but a resounding victory. Of course she was far from topping the race in Cebu. But she did not have that illusion. When the votes were counted, she had a total of 470,399 to her name. That is one out of every six or seven Cebuano voters voting for her. That is huge for a Marcos.

All in all, Cebu was fifth among all provinces in giving Imee the thumbs up. More Cebuanos voted for Imee than in her own home province of Ilocos Norte, although the difference in population would perhaps account for the discrepancy. So how did Imee achieve her incredible feat? Or maybe the question should be --have Cebuanos forgiven, or even forgotten?

I do not think it is any of the two. And I think Imee doesn't think so either. I think Imee was correct in banking on the ability of Cebuanos to see the big picture, that as history marches on, the Philippine landscape would grow incrementally larger with newer and fresher stories that legions of Filipinos, now grown older and wiser, would contribute to the national narrative.

It is not that Cebuanos have suddenly been seized by a collective sense of amnesia, or worse, have suddenly come to love a Marcos. I think it is just that Cebuanos are too intelligent to be nailed to an unforgiving past when there is so much of the future to be seized, to be built upon. What Cebuanos gave Imee was another crack at a new future. She should not waste it.


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