“Mock” Elections 2016: How Roxas will steal the Presidency
Mounting rumors/evidence exist of a “legal team” from Roxas’ camp setting up two disqualifications and a legal case to eliminate the Liberal Party’s main competition and set up Roxas for a “walk to Malacanang”.
UPDATE 01-29-2016: I’m writing this in the heat of the disqualification case against Poe, now desperately before a divided Supreme Court, as well as a pending disqualification case against Duterte, and calls to reawaken the case against Binay. That they are leaving Miriam for now owes largely to them not considering her a valid threat. That will change once the three get booted out of the elections, and some of the voters turn to her.
As a follow-up to my If-Then-Else article on the Philippine elections, a few months later we can say that while a lot has changed, in the end nothing has changed.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, one of the initial frontrunners in the Philippine elections, is under fire for numerous charges of graft and corruption. The Ombudsman not only has prepared cases against him, it also filed charges against Binay’s son and permanently barred him from public office. In light of the way the government deals—or rather, insulates—party allies charged with similar crimes, the government’s way of dealing with opposition members charged similarly seem excessive. It must also be similarly noted that while some dispensable party allies have been charged with graft cases, only three lawmakers significantly belonging to the opposition were charged and imprisoned. (It has been a signature, if not hallmark, of the present administration to persecute non-allies).
To return: the Vice President, awaiting criminal charges, could be effectively neutralized if a case is brought up and lead to his arrest. His claim of immunity from suit is questioned by experts, as executive immunity, according to them, do not cover the Vice Presidency. What is worthy of note in this post, is the little-known fact that while the Veep points to several figures within a “conspiracy” to neutralize him, the snowballed charges were initiated by the Roxas camp.
The other frontrunner in the Philippine elections is the Grace Poe-Llamanzares. Playing “what-if” scenarios that practically discourage other competent would-be candidates from running, election polls conducted by “independent” bodies tried to put the neophyte senator, who was on the Veep candidate list, on the Presidency list. The result was she came out on top, and banking on that possible promise, Grace Poe decided to throw herself to the circus of presidential elections.
The results were predictable. At first, Mar Roxas tried to woo Poe out of the race and as a running mate (which I wrote as a neutralizing act). When that didn’t work, the first of many disqualification cases emerged. Rizalito David of the Ang Kapatiran Party (a Catholic Party), well isolated from any links with the Liberal Party, (the administration party), was nevertheless egged on by the LP cadre, particularly Rep. Erice, who bankrolled part of the filing fee.
The neutralization becomes all the more apparent, when a former GSIS lawyer and a former Senator—all with links to the government and possibly promised whatever riches the administration would have—filed compounding cases against her, just to hammer the point. And where am I going with this entire narrative? Simply that former senator Richard Gordon was approached by the Liberal Party to join the disqualification bandwagon with the promise of a Senate seat. Ever the honest man, Gordon refused, saying the Filipino people deserved honest elections, continuing that “the field is not currently level”.
What about the other Roxas opponents? Before former Davao Mayor Rody Duterte bowed out of the race with finality, he claimed that a Roxas public relations officer, Philip Lustre, claimed that Duterte had throat cancer, adding that Duterte was not transparent on the reason why he was refusing the candidacy. Incensed, Duterte vowed to expose Roxas. Roxas, (I don’t know if he was intimidated or terrified), backtracked and claimed that he would never resort to such dirty-handed tactics, and was echoed by Liberal Party members who assured the public that they were not behind Macchiavellian tactics.
UPDATE: When Duterte in the end did choose to run for President, the same Machiavellian tactics that the Liberal Party and Roxas for that matter continued to deny, was used in filing multiple disqualification cases against him. This is a blatant attempt to dislodge Grace, Duterte, and Binay from the race, making Roxas the only candidate.
And finally, we have Miriam Santiago. While it is still too early to tell, there has been a call to reveal her medical records, with claims that she was not being transparent enough with the state of her health. She is a “wounded” opponent, with a cancer supposedly in remission. This is, in fact, the same strategy Ramos employed against her with her psych records surfacing in 1992, resulting in a Ramos victory. Who do you think will benefit if people are convinced of her impending mortality? And considering this, who do you think initiated moves to expose her in the first place?
In light of the effective neutralization of his opponents, Mar Roxas will steal the presidency. Not from public consensus, but out of technicality. He will run unopposed and will just simply “walk to the Malacanang”.
And the Liberal Party, who may or may not be behind the destruction of his opponents, will continue to perpetuate their power. Consider that these Congressional allies were once Lakas-Kampi-CMD members of Arroyo affiliation. The true march of Democracy will have to be postponed to 2022, when another probable attempt to curtail it will happen.
UPDATE: The evidence of a “legal team” tasked to ensuring a Roxas presidency is piling up. Lawyer Harry Roque last year talked of a team tasked to handle the disqualifications and “legal knockouts” of his leading contenders. I’m supposing they’re leaving Miriam alone because she’s sick enough to drive away the interest of voters. Anyway, the mounting evidence of their malice reveals the hypocrisy that the Liberal Party and Mar Roxas is spewing about their “daang matuwid” integrity and character.
In any case, I will refuse to vote Roxas into office. You did not get there through honest means, you will not have my vote through honest means. Since I am powerless mostly to resist, I only have these words to the “de facto” President-elect: Earn it. If you abuse the powers voted to you by the minority (since the majority has been effectively silenced), just because you did not owe them your victory, you will earn the hatred of the people. Then again, you couldn’t care less, could you?
As parting words, I would like to narrate another election I read. It was 1949, and having assumed the Presidency with the death of Roxas, Elpidio Quirino ran for the Presidency. In what was considered one of the, if not the, dirtiest election in Philippine history—which involved intimidation by armed thugs to frighten away voters and ballot boxes padded with fake votes—not only did Elpidio Quirino win the reelection, his party also won the Vice Presidency and the majority of the Senate.
The party? Liberal Party.
Addendum: The tragedy of this present election (which I will spend the majority of my 30s with), is vote popularity superseded competence, and that otherwise great, competent Presidential candidates, like Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson, for example, bow out because they are not “winnable enough”. I remember Lacson saying the surveys discouraged him and Gordon lacked the funds to mount a presidential campaign. So we will have a dismal 2016-2022 presidency because of a deficiency in candidates.
And before Grace Poe decided to run for the Presidency, the Liberal Party was considering an extension of their power using Mar’s presidency in 2016, and Grace’s for 2022. What’s to stop them from doing in 2022 what they have effectively utilized now in 2016? The ersatz Party dynasty continues.