COMMENT: An assessment of the 2022 Philippine elections results

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A protester, wearing a rosary, raise his hand during a demonstration outside the Cultural Center of the Philippines to protest the alleged unpreparedness of the Comission on Elections in this year's presidential elections, in Pasay, Metro Manila on May 13, 2022. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
A protester, wearing a rosary, raise his hand during a demonstration outside the Cultural Center of the Philippines to protest the alleged unpreparedness of the Comission on Elections in this year's presidential elections, in Pasay, Metro Manila on May 13, 2022. (Photo by JAM STA ROSA / AFP) (Photo by JAM STA ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

I am sure I’m not the only one who took the partial results of the 2022 Philippine national elections hard. Although I had already expected this outcome, like many others, I was hoping against hope that the large turnouts in the Leni-Kiko tandem’s rallies and campaign sorties would translate into votes. And now that another Marcos and Duterte are set to take the reins of a country grappling with so many crises, I could only hope for a divine intervention to get us through all of these.

Many, in their despair, blamed voters for supposedly selling their votes to the highest bidder and, in the process, jeopardized the country’s future. Nothing could be further from the truth than this. The machinery of relentless disinformation and vilification campaign, not to mention voter suppression and disenfranchisement, had long declared Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte as the winners. It is not entirely the fault of an ordinary citizen who wanted a temporary reprieve from the hardships that they’ve been suffering for the longest time.

And so, given all of these, what’s next for us? To be honest, I really have no idea. But I’m almost sure that outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, whose mismanagement of the pandemic and crimes against humanity for his brutal war on drugs had made the country a living hell, will not be held accountable for his crimes. It is not rocket science to assume that his daughter, the incoming vice president, will do everything in her power to block whatever attempts of independent investigation or probe into her father’s dealings during his administration.

As someone whose name and face had appeared on numerous pubmats and matrix branding me as a subversive and a terrorist, I am also sure that red-tagging and harassment against progressive and perceived enemies of the state will not just continue, but will intensify after June 30. More names will be added in the government’s shit list, more critical journalists will be banned from any access from the next government, and the biggest fear of all, more blood will be shed.

But are these enough to scare us? Hell no. Just as I am sure of the things above, I am also sure that the opposition will be more formidable, and the government will have a hard time pushing back against resistance from those who are holding it accountable. If no amount of threat or bad-mouthing or harassment from the previous administration could keep us from holding the line, then the incoming government will not be any different.

And if the government can’t be trusted to do its job of taking care of the people, then we will never hesitate to pick up the slack and do it ourselves. That’s why it is a good thing that Vice President Leni Robredo will adopt her Angat Buhay program in the Office of the Vice President as an independent non-government organization. The spirit of volunteerism and looking out for each other inspired by the Leni-Kiko campaign will be here to stay.

It also goes without saying that I wanted nothing more than to be proven wrong. That I have underestimated the incoming government, and that they actually do have plans to solve the country’s problems. But a campaign ran on lies and historical revisionism shouldn’t have had any business to run the country in the first place.

But since we’re already here, well, I’ll only believe it when I see it. And until then, this writer, and many others like me, will not hesitate to stand up for truth, justice, and democracy. As martial law victim and former Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo puts it, nothing’s forever in tyranny. The fight continues.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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