This week, Congress convenes to canvass the votes for president and vice-president – and proclaim the winners. The transition process to the new government will thus officially begin.
While the defeated candidates for president have conceded, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is losing the vice-presidential contest, has not. Election results show his rival, Congresswoman Leni Robredo, to be leading by more than 200,000 votes.
The race for the vice-presidency has been very tight, with the last pre-election surveys putting Marcos and Robredo at statistical tie. It was a terrific suspense; either one of them could win.
It was during this period that Marcos started to build a scenario whereby he would be cheated of victory. In his mind, the only way he could lose was if Robredo’s camp manipulated the results.
Thus, when Robredo overtook his early lead in the wee hours of the morning of May 10, Marcos continued this line of attack. His camp also made a big deal of a procedural lapse that had no impact at all on election results.
Over the weekend, Marcos’ lawyer set the tone for what could be a protracted process. Election veteran George Garcia said the Marcos camp intends to scrutinize every certificate of canvass to “highlight the impossibility” of the partial unofficial result – the same count that has already led to the proclamation of 12 senators and paved the way for the June 30 inauguration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
We grant the Marcos’ camp’s right to go through this and prove their claims that while Marcos appears to have lost in the partial, unofficial results, he will win after the congressional canvassing of votes.
But this right should also not hold hostage the process of ensuring the smooth transition from one administration to another.
Should the official canvass eventually reflect the partial, unofficial count, Marcos still has one legal option left: file an election protest with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
In 2010, Mar Roxas lost to Jejomar Binay for vice president by more than 700,000 votes. He brought his case to the PET.
That is how the law works. That is how democracy works.
Defeat, especially by such a slim margin, is painful and can be hard to accept.
Marcos can pay heed to the words of former national security adviser Jose Almonte speaking about the 1992 elections when he ran the campaign of Fidel Ramos: “We can win or lose this election. We want to lose with dignity. If we can be cheated by our political opponent, then we are stupid.” – Rappler.com
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