Malilong: And the winner is…

Frank Malilong
·3 min read

AFTER more than four years of legal battle, one vice president is left standing. And she is a woman.

All doubts about Vice President Leni Robredo’s election were finally laid to rest the other day by the Supreme Court with only a little more than one year left of her term. Since the decision dismissing his protest was unanimous, it seems pointless for Bongbong Marcos to file a motion for reconsideration. It is already not easy to convince even just one justice that he committed a mistake. How much more difficult would it be to persuade eight of them?

The Marcos protest has demonstrated once again how complicated and time-consuming our process of settling election disputes is. If he had won, Marcos would have had barely 18 months left to serve out of a six-year term. And to think that there was only one Court that heard and resolved the entire proceedings.

Think of the election for local officials. Their term of office is three, instead of six, years. Because of the narrower window and the fact that protests pass through many stages before the Comelec (Commission on Elections) and the Courts, they remain unresolved by the time the next elections are held.

This was what I told Mike Rama and his lawyers after he lost to Tommy Osmeña in their 2016 rematch. They went ahead with his protest, nevertheless. As expected, it did not amount to anything other than give false hope to his followers that he would reclaim City Hall after the recount.

We saw the Americans choose their leaders last November. The presidential campaign was particularly acrimonious and within weeks after the election more than 60 cases had been filed questioning the results. And yet when the day came for the new president to take over, these cases had already been resolved.

Why does America’s system work efficiently and ours doesn’t? They taught us. We were supposed to learn from them. Will we ever?

And since we’re asking questions, let me add one more although on an entirely different matter. What really took place inside the Talamban campus of the University of San Carlos last Monday?

The initial news reports, quoting the police, say it was a “rescue.”

It now seems from subsequent reports that it was actually a raid and the subjects were not the lumad children but the teachers who accompanied them.

The police have a job to do and many times, it is a difficult one. I should know; my father was a policeman. I will not second-guess their motives for taking the teachers into custody and whatever evidence they may have against the latter. But please, let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?

A rescue means the children were being held against their will. But didn’t they have, many times during their “confinement” the benefit of counsel, from lawyers of the Children’s Legal Bureau, no less? And inside the campus of the University of San Carlos? Give me a break.