BBM voters, Leni voters: Apples, lemons

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

A columnist for a national broadsheet has asked two questions that he described as intriguing, as if the questions were somebody else's and not his own making. First question: Why is the landslide victory of Bongbong Marcos not triggering any rejoicing among his 31.6 million voters? Second question: When is Leni Robredo, who got only 15 million votes, or less than half that of BBM, going to concede?

As an admitted BBM voter, I will answer the first question on a personal level with a personal story. Here: By late night of election day, Monday, May 9, as the first unofficial results started to come in, a clear idea of who was going to win was already emerging and by the following morning, Tuesday, May 10, the emerging picture became clearer still. Perfect subject for my column scheduled for Wednesday, May 11.

But it was a column and a subject I could not get around to writing. I truly wanted to rejoice, along with surely the rest of the 31.6 million. However, my heart was not up to it. But it was not for any reason that the national broadsheet columnist might find quite intriguing as to actually ask. I realized that the campaign leading up to the election had been so divisive any rejoicing will have a corresponding pain.

I have someone very dear to me who was greatly disappointed I was for BBM and who was very saddened when the first indications came that Leni would be losing. I could not rejoice while she grieves. Multiply that by the 15 million who went for Leni and that leaves me not wanting to feel responsible for adding to so much grief. I have been called names for my views, but no one ain't saying I am one who gloats.

And that is precisely the word my opinion editor used when I texted him to say I could not submit a column for my Wednesday, May 11, sked. "Ah, and I thought now would be a good time for you to gloat," my editor replied. Thankfully, he understood my position and even wanted to give me more time to get a grip on myself. But I was afraid I might become irrelevant if I stayed away too long, so I said I'll be back Friday, May 13.

Interestingly, the subject of my comeback column that day was about Leni not yet having conceded and how she risks sliding into irrelevance after all other candidates have done so and international recognition of the election results started to pour in. As I wrote this yesterday, three weeks since the elections, there was still no word of any concession from Leni.

I am in no position to propose an answer to the second question of the broadsheet columnist as obviously I am just as stumped as anyone else as to why Leni is refusing to concede. And that is regardless of whether or not our columnist truly wanted to find out, or was just "intriguing" with his "intriguing" questions. As to the first question, my short answer is: BBM's voters are unlike Leni's, as are apples to lemons.

And this has been true throughout the campaign. With the notable exception of the vicious wars waged on either side of the troll trenches, the real hard voters of BBM who made up the vast majority of his 31.6 million army hewed closely to the straight line. There was no deviating to pick fights, no cancelling, no putting down, no shaming. It was all straight to the polls, with bite-your-lip, heads-down determination.

There is no rejoicing, yes, but not because the 31.6 million intriguingly vanished, or developed cold feet, had second thoughts, or got eaten by remorse. Voting for the real moral choice is already real joy in itself. Going to the polls with victory in your heart is already a celebration. Believe me, I have never seen an election with so many happy faces inside all precincts. Power resided in the people that day. It was a happy day.

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