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The Manila Times - Can Bongbong be up for an ugly mess?

News & Interviews
18 August 2018

By Mauro Gia Samonte | The Manila Times

IN the run-up to the presidency in 2016, it was a popular piece of gossip that in the event of a Duterte win, he would relinquish the last three years of his term to the vice president — thereby ushering another era of a Marcos president. That was how popularly perceived a win of then Sen. Bongbong Marcos in the vice presidential race against then Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur. Eventual events would indicate that there was more truth to the issue than gossip. Shortly after assuming the presidency, President Duterte finally wrote finish to the decades-old struggle of the Marcos family to have the remains of President Ferdinand E. Marcos buried at the resting place for Philippine heroes, the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Certainly, Duterte invoked the law in the interment affair, but the burial did present a sneak preview of an understanding that went deeper than the Marcos grave. Just the other day, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued a statement to the press to the effect that “President Duterte may turn over the reins of government to former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos if he succeeds in his bid to unseat Vice President Leni Robredo.”

So, during the 2016 presidential elections, while the Yellow cult would no longer contest the sure surge of Duterte toward victory, it definitely would move heaven and earth to ensure a Bongbong Marcos defeat in the vice-presidential race. In Bongbong’s case, the fight was ominously for the presidency.

Surely, Bongbong was the hands-down people’s choice. The way I see it and regardless of my own personal predilections, I didn’t think the propaganda campaign against him was making any perceivable dent in his own clear surge to triumph. But not quite familiar with the intricacies of the public relations craft, I never realized that the campaign was actually performing a task not for generating actual votes for the Yellow candidate Leni Robredo but for setting up the final scenario for making her win the final election count.

How would such a logic figure: no votes but winning the count?

It didn’t occur to me at all that way in that period. What I saw then was a last-ditch effort by rabid Ninoy-Cory followers to frustrate a Bongbong win, which to me was largely impossible anyway. With my connections with the revolutionary mass movement intact, I had some sort of a monitoring of the electoral transpirations and my men on the ground were assuring me that despite their own participation purely for monetary consideration in the anti-Bongbong propaganda campaign, a Bongbong win was unstoppable. Only when the count was made did I realize the grand gambit, of which the damn-Bongbong electoral campaign was really part of. In that count, Leni emerged the winner, Bongbong losing by a couple of hundred thousand votes or so.

What, then, did that anti-Bongbong campaign in the 2016 elections amount to? It dawned on me. It was to condition the minds of the people that the campaign had done Bongbong such damage that his expected victory would be reversed. It, therefore, early on served to cushion the impact of a masterful manipulation that must have been already in place at the time for the electoral votes for vice president to be counted in Leni’s favor.

And that one is for Smartmatic to explain, which it won’t, for otherwise it will divest itself of its only reason for being: a system for cheating.

I won’t even attempt to try to pretend to know how Smartmatic works and therefore unravel the whole gamut of operations that deprived Bongbong of his legitimate win in the 2016 vice presidential contest. I’d rather just take it from the masters. One of them, Ado Paglinawan, anchor of the popular radio program “Ang Maestro atbp. – The Unifinished Revolution,” 5 to 7 in the morning over Radyo Pilipinas, posts in his Facebook page:

“2013 — I was first to discover the pre-programming of the senatorial elections.

“My 2013 theory was very simple. The people’s votes were sent to a default server that trashed the people’s votes, but forwarded its pre-programmed results to the main server. Today, my default server is now called ‘queue server’ and my main server, the ‘transparency server’.

“2016 — Smartmatic’s dubious protocol that I popularized in 2013 as “default programming” was used again to shave the votes of Bongbong Marcos and transfer them instead to the Liberal Party candidate Leni Robredo, the latter winning by less than 264,000 votes.”

So that’s how Bongbong lost the count and Leni won the vice presidency.

Ado got the opportunity to reiterate his concerns before Bongbong in a brunch forum called by Mentong Laurel at the Mama Rosa Restaurant in Capitol Village, Pasig City. I got the opportunity to be a little more enlightened on the issue. Bearing in mind the Duterte commitment to give way to Bongbong, and considering that the President is now into his third year, I wondered how much time Bongbong had got left for him to perform as president, if ever.

So, I asked, “What it is your timeline for the resolution of your protest?”

“I have no timeline,” said Bongbong. “It is not for me to say. It all depends on how long it will take for the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to finish the recount.”

One great obstacle Bongbong sees in this regard is the role played by Associate Justice Benjamin Alfredo Caguioa as the ponente in the proceedings. In that position, the justice can influence the overall outcome of the entire exercise.

In an extremely urgent motion to inhibit lodged by Bongbong before the Supreme Court, he worded his concern in this wise: “Given the evident bias, manifest partiality and blatant prejudice shown by Associate Justice Caguioa and Mrs. Caguioa in favor of Noynoy Aquino and protestee Robredo, the undersigned protestant is left with no other recourse but to file the instant motion for the inhibition pursuant to the mandate of Canons 3 and 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine judiciary.”

My private concern is that moves are afoot from various quarters for the ouster of Duterte. In the event any of these moves succeed — before any resolution of the Bongbong protest is made — Leni necessarily succeeds as President. Will that legitimize the cheating that awarded her the vice presidency in the first place? What happens to the Bongbong protest? Will it still go its unfinished course? And should at the end of that course, the PET resolves that there, indeed, had been cheating in the vice-presidential contest and that, indeed, Bongbong had won as vice president, we would be this ridiculous situation where Bongbong is vice president to the lady he beat in the fight for that post in the first place but now exercises superiority over him for being the sitting President.

Best, President Duterte declares a revolutionary government by which alone to straighten out the mess the nation may be up for.