Election big winners and losers
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-05-13

The biggest winners of the May 10, 2010 elections were the Filipino people and Philippine democracy. All this euphoria about the “success” of the poll automation would have been nothing if not for the faith of the Filipino people in the democratic process and their tenacity to make it work despite the most daunting challenges.

The announced 75% voting turnout by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) is low for a presidential election like this one which had generated so much interest and passion. The expectation was for the turnout to be anywhere from 80% to as much as 85%. That did not happen because of the physical challenge many voters were subjected to in order to vote.

Many voters complained of having to suffer one of the hottest days of this infernal summer for hours. We all saw that live on national television. Several voters fainted — both the young and old — while one became a fatality owing to cardiac arrest. The stubborn idiots among the Comelec Commissioners who refused to listen to warnings about this precinct congestion problem ought to be prosecuted for that death. Let them visit the kin of that man who died from a cardiac arrest and sell them their time and motion bovine ordure.

Perhaps it was providential that the man who is poised to become our 15th president — Noynoy Aquino — was one of those who had to endure four hours of queuing under the oppressive summer heat before he could vote. Noynoy deserves commendation for voluntarily undergoing what the other voters had to suffer. His security protocol could have easily justified putting him on the express line.

Noynoy later commented that our people should not be made to suffer like this just to be able to exercise their right to vote. We trust that Noynoy will ensure that the 2013 and 2016 elections, which will be conducted under his watch, shall not impose such dangerous inconveniences again to our voters.

It was George Bernard Shaw who wrote something to the effect that while it is bad not to learn the lessons of your defeats, it is worse not to learn the lessons of your victories. Many Filipinos are now displaying signs of failing to learn the lessons of their recent automated poll victory. They allow themselves to be lulled into believing that the benefits of the quick reporting of returns absolved all the oversights and blunders of the automation process.

It is like cheering over the successful delivery of a baby in the middle of a bloody battle inside a sewer. Yes, the birth of baby despite the most challenging conditions is something to cheer about. But it is idiotic not to resolve that babies should never be born in a sewer during a bloody battle.

Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was one of those who fell into this syndrome of indulging in the euphoria but failing to know the important lessons of the success. This Prince of the Catholic Church who earlier opined that People Power is a crazy idea was all praises for the poll automation and even invoked the faithful to pray for those advocating for a better poll automation system.

If we are to follow the thinking of Cardinal Rosales, it will be perfectly alright for our future elections to:

1. Stick to the same formula of the time and motion study of this Comelec that killed one man, disenfranchised many voters and imposed great physical suffering to millions who queued for hours during one of our hottest summers.

2. Fail to provide, prepare a Plan B like a parallel manual count in case of automation glitches and failures.

3. Remove most, if not all, of the safety features of the machines.

4. Skimp on teacher training and testing of the machines.

5. Deliver all requirements on the 11th hour which is the best way to court failure.

Still on the topic of big poll winners — presidential candidates Manny Villar, Gilbert Teodoro, Dick Gordon, Eddie Villanueva, JC de los Reyes and vice presidential candidates Loren Legarda, Perfecto Yasay, Jun Chipeco, Jay Sonza and Edu Manzano were all big winners owing to their sportsmanship in conceding early, when the poll outcome became clear. Their individual acts of nobility reinforced the public perception that better times are ahead for our country.

We can understand former president Joseph Estrada’s position for not yet conceding until after the official announcement of the winner. He is firmly on second place in the presidential election. We take comfort in Estrada’s announcement not to protest the outcome if it isn’t favorable to him.

Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), the military and the police were all big winners too. GMA needed a poll outcome like this to cap her tumultuous nine years in Malacañang Palace.

We all have the right to feel good about this election despite all the hassles, aggravation and hardships that we had to undergo. This was a major victory for Philippine democracy. But let us not lose sight of the bigger war we have yet to win — the emancipation of our benighted and exploited nation.

  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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