THERE had been “whistleblowers” who claimed there was cheating in Maguindanao to favor then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) over her rival Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) in the 2004 presidential elections.
It puzzles me however that until now, no witness or documentary evidence has been presented on claims that FPJ was also cheated in Cebu where he lost by about a million votes to GMA.
Well, the upcoming May 9 election could provide such a proof. If Cebuanos will give overwhelming support for former US citizen Grace Poe Llamanzares, then they’ll be affirming allegations of massive cheating in 2004 in favor of GMA.
Poe Llamanzares has been campaigning under the shadows of FPJ, her adoptive father. Most of her supporters had said they are going to vote for her because she’s the daughter of “Panday” and she”ll continue his “mission” of helping the poor and the downtrodden. It’s easy to see that a vote for her is a vote for FPJ. Thus, a victory in Cebu for Poe will prove that FPJ had indeed been cheated.
But, will Cebuanos agree that they are cheaters or that their votes hadn’t been counted?
In the Interim Batasang Pambansa, Cebuanos elected a number of candidates from Pusyon Bisaya including Hilarion Davide Jr and Filemon Fernandez. In 1984, they elected three opponents of martial law to the Regular Batasan — the late Marcelo Fernan, Antonio Cuenco and Inday Nita Daluz. Cory Aquino won in Cebu City over Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential election. With this history, it’s very difficult to believe that Cebuanos aren’t militant over their right of suffrage.
I covered FPJ’s campaign in 2004. He drew massive crowds wherever he went — except in Cebu. In his first and only rally there, FPJ’s campaign people outnumbered the audience. His coalition party was so weak in the province that it could field only one candidate. Predictably, that candidate lost by landslide to then reelectionist Mayor Tommy Osmena.
FPJ had no watchers in all of Cebu in 2004. Did GMA’s leaders took advantage of this to cheat for her? We can only speculate in the absence of proof or witnesses.
Oh yes, in a rally at the reclamation area in Mandaue City in March 2010, senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo harangued GMA, and then asked the massive crowd if they would still vote for her should she run anew. The crowd roared: “yes!”
Ah, but some may say that that Mandaue crowd didn’t represent the sentiment of the populous province. Well, we will see on May 9 if they’ll go for a candidate who’ll continue the “mission” and “legacy” of FPJ.