Today might be the most depressing day for the country. Perhaps incomparable to that time when Duterte on the 2016 Presidential Elections, or that time when the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

NOBODY FROM THE OPPOSITION won any seat in the Senate.

This, notwithstanding the fact that after three years the country has suffered the worse form of injustice, mysogyny and human rights abuses under the Duterte regime.

Insofar as the Comelec is concerned, it also made the election more questionable as compared to 2016, as stipulated by Atty. Barry Gutierrez, Volunteer Spokesperson of Otso Diretso

According to the COMELEC itself, an estimated 400 to 600 vote counting machines (VCMs) have so far malfunctioned in today’s elections. This is thrice the number of 188 VCMs replaced in the elections of 2016, and is equivalent to an estimated 500,000 potentially disenfranchised voters.

This is unacceptable, especially since these same VCMs were supposedly tested less than a week ago. One would expect that with greater experience with automated elections, COMELEC would perform better. Instead, the opposite is happening. We demand an explanation.

This is only part of a bigger context where COMELEC has consistently failed to safeguard the citizens’ right to engage in the electoral process:

  1. We requested the COMELEC to sponsor debates during the election campaign and were denied;
  2. There are numerous reports of unmailed ballots leading to the disenfranchisement of overseas voters;
  3. COMELEC named a majority-aligned party as the dominant minority party for these elections, defying the principles of democracy, the law, and common sense;
  4. COMELEC has yet to grant us—a major national political party representing the opposition– access to their mirror servers, minutes before polling centers close.
  5. Administration-allied candidates have, prior to and during the campaign period, blatantly and rampantly flouted election laws; COMELEC is yet to hold any of them to account.
  6. Malacañang has released a baseless narcolist, widely seen as a means of threatening local politicians;
  7. The President himself has, on several occasions, demanded that local politicians support administration candidates or otherwise face retribution;
  8. These VCMs have malfunctioned in the same elections where the President himself has responded to reports of massive and unprecedented vote-buying by saying it is “normal.” Sino raw ba ang hindi bumibili ng boto.

Simple lang ang sagot namin dito: Sino ba talaga ang may bilyon-bilyon na ginastos sa kampanya, at may kapasidad na bumili ng boto? Hindi po kami ‘yun. All we want is a fair shake.

We look forward to institutions as esteemed as the COMELEC ensuring that the playing field is level, that election laws are effectively enforced, and that the results of these elections truly reflect the will of our people. At the very least, the COMELEC must respond to the very serious questions being raised as regards the conduct of the elections.

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I personally campaigned for Otso Diretso, and I found myself crying at the thought that there might be a huge probability that the opposition was cheated yesterday.

I also found myself crying at the thought that the ones who will suffer are particularly the children, the babies and the poorest of the poor.

Having criminals, plunderers and human rights abusers in the Senate will never save this country.

But perhaps this is what the country needed, to hit rock bottom so that it will learn its lesson.

And perhaps people need to die just like at the time of Ferdinand Marcos just so we can correct the mistakes of the past.

You see I think that the greatest failure after 1986 EDSA insurrection wasn’t the return of ‘oligarchs’ or ‘elite democracy’ as a lot of people blame it.

The greatest failure of EDSA 1986 was the lack of instituting a proper and strong justice system.

The rule of law became weak therefore it practically follows that the people who will enforce it are also weak.

There’s also the problem of the requirements for a candidate to run.

Because our laws are not stringent enough, anyone can just run for position in the country even without being eligible for the position.

One only has to have money and popularity and that’s it.

The country is more strict in choosing it’s architects, lawyers, doctors but it is lax as fuck to the ones creating laws in the country.

Therefore the problem is not with the people who are voting, but the requirements for one to be able to run.

There’s also the issue of the bloc voting of a certain religious group in the country who decided to support the administrations’ candidates.

I will not dwell on them anymore as I feel that they don’t deserve the space in this article so I am leaving a meme instead.

So where do we go from here?

Honestly it is emotionally draining and stressful to dwell in defeat.

Defeat is a very hard word and I am not one to take it lightly as well.

Perhaps the best thing to do right now is to strategize and criticize what went wrong or to admit that there’s really no more hope for the country.

Indeed that is that hardest part, the thought of doubting oneself.

The thought that there’s no point in everything that you do because at the end of the day people will still choose the greater evil.

How do I personally look at this phenomenon?

As I see it, there’s no one to blame but ourselves.

Yes, as hurtful as it sounds the opposition lacked the much needed ideological and virality it should have as opposed to the administration.

You see, preparing for an election takes years in the process. It’s like loading a canon and preparing a huge explosion thus the needed momentum.

MOMENTUM. This is what the opposition lacked.

Their first mistake was not fielding twelve candidates, it already gives the impression that they are weak. The oppsition filed more than 12 candidates and it gives the impression that more candidates believe in the dream of Duterte than ever before.

Also an added candidate for the admin will shave away another vote for the opposition.

At the end of the day it’s still a numbers game.

Their second mistake was that they did not ask the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao.

The reality is there’s no such thing as a fair election under Martial Law. The least they could’ve done was to contest the idea of having Martial Law in Mindanao and demanded to have it lifted. It could’ve helped them immensely if in the process the government didn’t budge therefore the allegations of an unfair elections will hold water.

Their third mistake was that THEY DID NOT SELL AN IDEA.

I mentioned this before and I mentioned it again that WORDS MATTER.

What the actual fuck does Otso Diretso even mean?

It could’ve been Otso Asenso or Otso Para Sa Pilipino?

The former could’ve stood by itself with the idea that voting for them would mean progress while the latter would mean for the simple Filipino and not for China?

I raised this in social media and was picked up by some people yet it also died down.

Their fourth mistake was not showing enough action like images for media where they interact with kids, lifting babies up or kissing babies.

Believe me, this act is so evolutionary and biologically important if you want to give the impression that “You Care”.

Their fifth mistake was that they don;t have a single narrative.

Each of them created a shotgun approach to issues, as if one issue isn’t enough.

It creates a lot of noise for an average Filipino instead of just answering one single question. The admin candidates only flaunted a single anwer everytime and that is “They want to support the President’s campaigns”

Simple, straightforward no gimmicks and definitely sellable.

Not to mention the lack of funds and the lack of endorsements and volunteers, the opposition was manhandled and bullied into submission.

Still I believe that there was widespread cheating that happened, I mean who would trust a government that’s built on lies anyway?

Time to lick our wounds and live another day.

With this I leave you with a letter from constitutionalist Ed Garcia

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE OTSO DIRETSO CANDIDATES

I write to thank you for the sacrifice, the hard work and the dedication you showed in your brave campaign. You offered our people an alternative, a choice of conscience. Though the odds were long, resources short and the field uneven, you gave all you had and fought the good fight. Yours was truly a coalition of courage, and we cannot thank you enough.

Our people have spoken, and they have made their choices. I must say with all my heart that this day perhaps must rank among the saddest in my 76 years of life. For this is not who we truly are. As a people, we are far better than this.

How can we return a Marcos to lead us into the future when she has not even reconciled herself to the dark days of the past of which she is a continuing part? How can she ask our people to move on after she had repeatedly used the currencies of dishonesty and deceit, not to speak of her attempts to revise the cruel history of the Marcos years?

How can we reward the spineless subservience of a Go or the bumbling bravado of Bato, he who gained fame as one of the architects of a bloody drug war?

How can we bring back to the Senate, people charged with corrupt conduct in the person of a Revilla or with the acknowledged incompetence of a Lapid?

How can we live with the silent complicity of a Cayetano, Angara, Villar, Pimentel or Tolentino when their “leader” curses our God, demeans our women, and allows a predator nation to ravage our marine resources?

This is not who the Filipinos truly are.

Indeed, we will miss what you had on offer: the brilliance of the youthful Bam Aquino and the experienced Mar, the courage of an Erin Tanada and an Alejano, the legal competence of a Chel Diokno and the improbable narrative of a Pilo Hilbay, the dedication to Seniors of a Makalintal and the feisty grit of Marawi’s Samira Gutoc who showed us how to take a stand.

You have given us reasons to continue the struggle, to be engaged on issues that truly matter. From today, it will be Otso Diretso Plus. You will be joined by the thousands of volunteers and the youth of the land who supported you and others who will take up the causes you raised.

It was not enough perhaps, but in the end you have given us a common sense of purpose, an unfinished quest to pursue. That is the stuff of dreams. You inspire us to continue this marathon journey – for the sake of our children and the country we love.

Salamat, at tuloy ang laban!

Ed Garcia, Lolo Volunteer for 8D who will never give up! 14 May 2019

Featured Image from Wirdong Komiks