Behind the facade of optimism
When Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II was anointed by President B.S. Aquino as the standard bearer of the Liberal Party, people expected him to rejoice. That could have been the penultimate step towards attaining his ambition to become the next President of the Republic.
First, his anointment means he would no longer pass through the gauntlet of being nominated by a party leadership that is saddled with opportunists and ambitious politicians. Second, his anointment means that he now holds the political war chest that as we know is the adrenalin that keeps all political parties in this country alive and kicking. These factors now greatly favor Mar Roxas; many concede that the throne has finally been handed to him on a silver platter.
But despite the advantage, one could sense that there is in Mar and his cabal of self-righteous men an inner sense of anxiety – he might just not make it. It seems Mar could not fill up the political void that has been created by a leadership that has consistently presented its own litany of lies. Maybe there is still in him the élan’ vital to become another Roxas president, but outside of the elitist circle, the people have their reservation whether we will be having an honest election in this country. Even Liberals feel that Mar’s candidacy still lacks the ingredients of incisiveness and direction. He cannot point to any accomplishment in which he could partly claim his contribution, except to point at the huge debt of P6.422 trillion. Some say he is likely to inherit a crisis of debt default. In fact, the huge annual budgetary appropriations incurred during the six years of this administration now appear to have surpassed all budgetary appropriations from the time of Manuel Roxas up to the time of Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo.
Mar can never dissociate himself from this regime that has consistently been pretending to be honest. Signs are evident. After being anointed, his rating failed to make a dramatic lift-off. In other words, pessimism continues to hound him: Could he really make it? People remain passive with some even having their antipathy, not only against him, but also against the party. It and that flaunts to our people that selling the interest of this country is a virtue. Mar failed to assess that the party to which he is identified has now become a liability. It has been addicted to the use of pork barrel to get things done. This now has become a dilemma on how they could possibility repackage his image to make him palatable to our people.
Of course, Mar is not alone to blame. The one who anointed him is partly to blame for his sheer hypocrisy, insisting as ever that his administration remains committed to the tuwid na daan. The mainstream media and their controlled poll survey outfit have consistently placed him on the high pedestal, despite the corruption, the fiascos, and the scandal that continues to rock his administration. Some believe that had it not for the money that is oozing in the Liberal Party, many of its members would have bolted if only to ensure their reelection. Many of them are embarrassed because as mostly incumbent officials seeking reelection, they could not present any accomplishment.
Rather, many of those accomplishments end up as off-limits to most of our poor people because of the charges and fees collected by private contractors on top of the already sizable amount of taxes they pay to sustain a government that lives on lies and rhetoric. The people are apprehensive, for they could sense the forthcoming election is all but predetermined. Suspicions are rife that the election of Mar Roxas is already a done deal, which reason why many have lost their enthusiasm to campaign. Where before the advent of computerization in our electoral system, the counting was a bit acrimonious, and at times violent, but nonetheless the winner could say, with a degree of certainty, that he won in that election. Today, both the winner and loser could no longer say that. There is no way a voter could verify whether the one he voted won or that his vote was duly counted. He does not have any proof that he actually voted for his candidate, except for the indelible ink that is soaked in his right-hand finger.
Now there is a somber mood because people suspect the computerization has given way to wholesale electoral fraud. The danger is clear, for aside from the candidates of the ruling party, those candidates who are made to win are known to support the administration’s pro- US economic policies with an added color that he should be anti-Chinese. The electronic system of election determines not only the candidates; it could possibly add qualifications such as only those candidates friendly or accommodating US interests should be allowed to win. This now is a big possibility. One must draw our lesson from the fact that those who topped the senatorial election were almost all openly supportive of the US economic and political policies for this country. In fact, some have been acting as lobbyists of US interest with one even sporting her US citizenship.
This now brings truth to the accusation that our electoral system has been hijacked by foreign corporations. Some would even dare speculate that the reason possibly why the Maoists have not made an issue about the computerization of our election is their fear that they too could easily be wiped out should they make protest. Maybe, the ruling party has assured them that if they distance themselves from those noisy group protesting against the computerization of the election, particularly in the awarding of the contract to Smartmatic, they could be assured of an even greater number of seats, with the possibility of their leader being allowed to return to negotiate peace but should parrot the same xenophobic policy that has been enunciated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Thus, people will protest not on the basis that their candidates lost in the election, but of the fact that there was no valid basis for the proclamation of the winners. In fact, many are questioning the Comelec’s decision to abnegate from its responsibility by subcontracting its duty to a foreign firm that already made a successful run in the 2010 and 2013 elections where many of the candidates who did not expect to win surprisingly won, and where those expected to win lost miserably. With Smartmatic having been given a blanket authority to operate the system, it cannot now be denied that that we are perhaps the only country to be colonized without our colonizers firing a single shot to control us. This apocalyptic observation was well noted by Rene Azurin who wrote a book titled: “Hacking Our Democracy: The conspiracy to electronically control Philippine elections.