Amid the clear violations of the automated election law, and widespread fear of massive electoral fraud, the May 9 presidential polls reported an incredible turnout of 81 percent, and gave PDP presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte a roaring landslide, which President B.S. Aquino 3rd and the other presidential candidates will be hard put to challenge, even if they should want to.
Saved from Grace
Many found Duterte the most dangerous man to put in high office. For this reason, they hoped UNA’s Vice President Jejomar C. Binay would perform a miracle, or that the LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas could catch up. But even those who did not vote for him are now genuinely grateful that he made sure that a former American citizen with a natural-born American husband and of no known biological parentage would be sitting as our President just because nine Supreme Court Justices had decided, against the clear language and spirit of the Constitution, that Mrs. Llamanzares was “qualified” to run for President.
What is happening in this race appears to confirm everything that has been reported about Aquino’s plan to prevent Marcos from becoming the Vice President. In a meeting before the election, LP top dogs and Aquino’s principal advisers were reported to have agreed that Roxas had lost the fight, and that their best shot would be to fight rear guard action in the vice presidential race. Everything had to be done to make Robredo the Vice President so she could succeed Duterte after he is removed by impeachment.
A few days before the election, I met PNoy’s political secretary by chance and he admitted that Sen. Antonio Trilllanes IV’s demolition effort against Duterte had failed, and that the tough-talking mayor had become unstoppable. Aquino needed to adopt a different approach.
Most embarrassing of all, PNoy tried to bamboozle the politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo, whose more than 2 million members normally vote as a bloc, into supporting Roxas and Robredo, only to be spurned by the sect that had supported him enthusiastically in 2010. At one point, the INC leadership reportedly even considered supporting UNA’s Vice President Jejomar Binay, but never Aquino’s recommendees.
Aquino cannot afford to fail. His main concern is how to escape imprisonment should the incoming President decide to treat him in the same manner as he had treated his immediate predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the three opposition senators who had helped him to convict Corona at his Senate impeachment trial. He has jailed Arroyo, and Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla, Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile on non-bailable offenses, except that the court has recently allowed Enrile to post bail for reasons of health and age.
Killing all criminals
Duterte has captured the voters’ popular imagination for his promise to end corruption and crime by “killing all criminals.” This obviously compelled Malacañang and his rivals not to fool around with him. They were also put on notice that aside from retired military officers in his camp, some leftist groups had threatened to march with Duterte if he was cheated in this election.