Bongbong shouldn't have protested
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

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I have not changed my position from the time Bongbong Marcos protested the results of the 2016 vice presidential election. My position now, as it was then, is that Bongbong should not have protested the results, wherein he narrowly "lost" to Leni Robredo in an exercise marked by mysterious occurrences that lent credence to suspicions of fraud. That Robredo belonged to the party in power at the time did not help allay those suspicions.

There are several reasons why I did not want Bongbong to protest. One is that the process takes a very long time. In fact, three years have passed and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as this was written, has yet to decide whether to formally proceed with the protest or not. At the rate things are going, even if Bongbong wins his protest, his vice presidency would have by then been reduced to irrelevance.

Another reason I did not want Bongbong to protest is because of the narrowness of the votes separating the two contenders. Robredo supposedly won over Bongbong by a mere 250,000 votes or so. That is just about the combined population of four average-sized municipalities. Put another way, the vote could have gone either way. As the American media would say, it was too close to call.

Now why would the closeness of the contest make me feel that Bongbong should just have licked his wounds and charge everything to experience? Because he is a Marcos! As we have been repeatedly made to believe since 1986, a Marcos could not and should not be made to win against a yellow opponent.

In a contest where a Marcos is supposed to be beaten black and blue by a saint in yellow, to lose by the number of people in four small towns is, in my dictionary, a resounding victory. Bongbong may have lost in the count but he was the big winner in popular expectations. For the wife of a saint to beat the big bad Marcos boy by just 250,000 votes is a big, fat, inglorious shame.

And Bongbong can console himself with the thought that he was cheated. Nothing shameful in that. Even very clear flat out losers have taken to claiming fraud, if only to massage their broken egos. But Bongbong had a clear, verifiable claim to having been hoodwinked. For indeed he was the runaway leader in the count when the nation went to bed the night of the election, only to lose by morning following a blackout in transmittal of returns.

Bongbong should not have protested because even if he was the winner in the eyes of many, and there was a very high probability that he may have been indeed cheated, there is, all things being equal, also the chance that he may have actually lost. And by protesting, his losing can only be confirmed. And that would be a more bitter pill to swallow than the results of the 2016 polls as we were made to believe they were.

Bongbong could not have run for the vice presidency if he was not angling for the presidency. And the presidency becomes more difficult to capture if you just lost the vice presidency. It is different if your loss in the vice presidential race is hounded by unrefuted allegations of fraud because you can always claim victory but just got robbed of it. You can even count on being widely believed. But a protest can have you proven otherwise.

jerrytundag@yahoo.com

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