The bishops can’t. The poll body officials can’t. The watchdogs can’t. They can only help bring about clean elections.
Only the sitting President of the Philippines can prevent and hopefully stop possible cheating in Monday’s voting for new leaders who will steer the country to progress or perdition (take your pick and you might hit the jackpot, depending on who wins the count) in the next six years.
Benigno Aquino 3rd seemed least concerned with how honest the May 9 balloting would turn out to be, only with how his candidates in his Liberal Party’s standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd and his running mate Rep. Leni Robredo would fare in what apparently is shaping up as the most shockingly one-sided presidential derby in the country’s electoral history.
Aquino’s disinterest alone in what his unlamented presidency will leave behind, such as fair and credible polls, already sends the message to tricksters that they can play all day with the big cat being away.
The odds seemingly stacked in favor of maverick Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (according to the surveys) also make today’s elections the most vulnerable to fraud, with the crooks poised to take advantage of the President’s apparent preoccupation with averting victory not only for Duterte but also for vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand ”Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Aquino’s beef with the mayor is highly personal, steeped in that man-for-others mantra that Ateneans wear as a badge of honor, only to be stripped of its relevance when it was recently unearthed that what is now Georgetown University had two presidents who owned and traded black slaves.
His disdain for Bongbong and his family is much more highly political than it is personal, having gone on record a few times since the start of the campaign period that the perennial survey topnotcher Marcos, alright, can win but over the President’s dead body.
When Aquino should be reassuring the nation that the transition would be as smooth as it can be, he instead is shoring up his so-called legacy of governance built over a “straight path” by pulling all the stops in order to install Roxas as his successor, of course also over the dead bodies of the LP presidential candidate’s rivals.
There had been no takers of the “unity” dialogue that he and Roxas dangled on Thursday before Duterte’s opponents–Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, one of whom, according to the President, will be Malacanang’s candidate against Duterte.
And there will be none, ending prematurely Aquino’s stab at diplomacy, partly because it is seen as a take-Roxas or leave-Roxas proposition that nobody in his right mind would bite.
Binay quickly rejected the President’s invitation and so did Poe, who told Roxas off that she was fine where she was standing, confident that the people will make the right decision today.
The President, not wanting to lose face (or all his marbles), has given up on Roxas, according to Marcos, who said Malacanang had cooked up a “Plan B to ensure victory for [Robredo] and remove Duterte via impeachment” because “[i]n this way, Aquino] and his minions will avoid being jailed” after the elections.
With Bongbong, Aquino can only be second-time unlucky because the odds, this time, are not in his favor.
The senator has been endorsed by many groups that matter, from the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ) to the El Shaddai to the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino of former senator Edgardo Angara to the one million-strong Philippine Coconut Producers Federation or Cocofed.
“Massive cheating is in the works” the Cocofed claimed on Friday, citing complaints from the field about rigged results of test polls using Commission on Elections (Comelec) ballots and Vote Counting Machines or VCMs.
The beneficiaries of the fraud machine on Election Day itself, according to Cocofed president Efren Villasenor, would be Roxas and Robredo.
They would be players in a script that a political lawyer identified with the opposition said was written consistent with the wishes of the Palace: ‘They [Liberal Party] are out to steal the elections. They will not allow Duterte and Marcos to win at all costs.”
Another LP plan, which could be Plan B after all, involves “trending” beginning Election Day, that will first tally votes from “yellow areas” to create the impression that Roxas is winning the presidential race.
The color yellow is identified with the Aquino camp.
It is the color of “happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring.”
But lying in ambush is “the dark side of yellow: cowardice, betrayal, egotism and madness.”
Moreover, it is the color of “caution and physical illness [jaundice, malaria and pestilence].”
But “it is no coincidence that the sources of yellow pigments are toxic metals–cadmium, lead and chrome–and urine.”
If you purchase anything yellow on Election Day, bear in mind this aphorism: Caveat emptor!
And throw this one in: Illegitimi non carborundum!
[Publisher/Opinion Editor’s note: For readers who don’t want to let Writer Mariñas Latin intimidate them without a fight: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, tells us that "Illegitimi non carborundum is a mock-Latin aphorism meaning "Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” Ha ha ha.]