Can 15 men nullify 31 million votes?

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Will the 15-man Supreme Court grant the petitions seeking to disqualify Bongbong Marcos, the man who more than 31 million Filipinos overwhelmingly voted to become their next president? Being no legal expert, it is difficult to divine how the High Court would go on this one based solely on the merits. But there are a lot of practical and get-real considerations that just cannot be ignored even by the highest tribunal in the land.

The petitions against Marcos have already been dismissed by the Comelec, the body required by law to take cognizance of such petitions. Under normal circumstances, the original action taken by Comelec on the matter would have sufficed. But there being a concerted effort by anti-Marcos forces to deny Bongbong the presidency by hook or by crook, the dismissed petitions just had to be brought to the Supreme Court for review.

Aside from seeking the disqualification of Bongbong, the petitioners also asked the Supreme Court to stop Congress, sitting as the national board of canvassers, from proceeding with its canvass, as well as stop it from proclaiming the winner. It is very clear that the forces seeking to prevent the return of a Marcos to Malacañang would try every means, legal or otherwise, to realize their objective.

But that is to be expected. What is worrisome is the unexpected. For example, based on the comments and opinions of many legal experts, the petitions before the SC will not prosper. It is as if they are telling us not to worry. Yet there is no soul in this country right now who would be brave enough to stake more than just his saliva on his worry not projection. At the very least, let us just say we are crossing our fingers.

But no law-abiding person who took his time to perform the most sacred duty of a citizen in a democracy ought to be placed in a situation where the exercise of his right is being hijacked by those whose only motive is to prevent the political ascendancy of a sworn political enemy. And that person is not even alone. More than 31 million of them voted for Bongbong. And now the prospect is real their choice can get nullified.

This is not to take away any authority or power from the Supreme Court. But there just does not seem to be any fairness, any justice, in having the vote of more than 31 million people nullified by the vote of 15 men giving vent to the sourgraping of a bunch of poor losers. Aside from being unjust and unfair, it is dangerous.

If the campaign had been so intense it led to breakups in relations among family or friends, it will be even more fiery in the aftermath of an election so lopsided the total votes of Leni Robredo were not even half that of Marcos. The 31 million plus voters of Marcos will certainly not allow their victory hijacked just because supporters of a Leni just cannot make their bet win the regular way.

Leni may not have wanted the presidency for herself. As vice president she could have declared right away. But she hemmed and hawed for a year. Then Marcos filed and so she did, but only to prevent a Marcos return to Malacañang, or words to that effect. A commitment like that infers employing any and all means. And that is why we are on the brink again. Because others do not take kindly to losing.

Not only had the vote for Marcos been so overwhelmingly convincing, the outcome also had been swiftly acknowledged and accepted by the rest of the world. Leaders of the great democracies have all extended the hand of congratulations to Marcos and promised cooperation. China and Russia as well have done the same. We have chosen a leader. Now we must choose again to go the easy way or the hard way.


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