By VINZ SIMON*
A treachery of the grandest order now unfolds as the election precincts closed yesterday – the Comelec’s transparency server has repeatedly held up and a dubious pattern has emerged from the election results.
These extremely suspect developments stand on the shoulders of the military and police’s red-tagging and black propaganda of progressive candidates, Martial Law in Mindanao, the electoral campaigns of crooks, liars, and murderers, and Smartmatic’s return as a service provider for the election.
Duterte and his administration have made sure that every condition has been achieved for the victory of sycophants and yes-men. The president himself has even announced the importance of vote-buying, an outlook that his preferred candidates have certainly taken to heart.
However, our disappointment and rage, as justified as they are, must be directed to those in power and never at the people who have supposedly handed them power over the country.
As Filipino poet and Marcos-era revolutionary Eman Lacaba once hailed, “Awakened, the masses are messiah”, and if anything, we have learned that progress and justice doesn’t just require a “woke” youth but an awakened and empowered public.
We need a public that knows that we have all been strung and played for fools thinking that the source of our misery is our fellow oppressed, denied, and victimized.
We need a public that is furious that we have been robbed of both our treasury and our democracy.
We need a public that rejects the clowns, crocodiles, and criminals that now have mastery over these islands.
Thus, our task after this disastrous and fraudulent election isn’t to book flights overseas nor to scorn our country as an unlovable mess. No. Our task is simple but arduous: to educate, organize, and mobilize the masses; to awaken more of our messiah.
We must feed, clothe, and employ those whose bellies grumble with hunger. We must teach and empathize with those who refuse to learn and sympathize. We must embolden those who are afraid and represent the unheard.
We must go to the masses and serve them.
We must now undertake a campaign to exact justice from the frauds, and while this campaign will start with demanding transparency and accountability of the elections, our struggles must also carry on the platforms of the opposition: a truly living wage, enough employment, the end of contractualization, free land distribution for farmers, national industrialization, and territorial integrity and sovereignty, among others.
Likewise, we must safeguard our rights, livelihoods, and our very lives against the incoming depredations of Duterte’s Senate. It is guaranteed that the President’s most heinous policies will scoot past the legislative branch: children in conflict with the law will be criminalized, the drug war will be pursued with murderous ado, the death penalty will come, charter change is inevitable, and the sale of our territories and resources to China is inevitable.
It will be an egregious mistake to undermine the precious unities we have built in an effort to find solace in the results of this election. Every effort must be dispatched to enlighten and empower the masses, just as our forebears have successfully done against the tyrannies of Marcos and Estrada.
But we don’t have to look far to a multitude of reasons to hope. Despite the massive fraud, progressive party-lists are ready to assume seats and fight the uphill battle inside Duterte’s congress. Despite the maddening disenfranchisement of voters, the youth have translated their fury for a thirst to learn and mobilize. In fact, thousands of students across the country have already taken to the streets to pledge an oath to fight and prevail against tyranny.
Duterte and his government have denied us honest elections, but our shot at changing our society for the better is yet to fade – it now simply rests on our hands instead of inside the ballot box.
* The author is a member of Anakbayan. He has joined the protest actions today against electoral fraud.