[OPINION] ‘Tuloy ang laban’: The perception of victory is not true victory if the truth is trampled on and the election process is corrupted to diminish the will of the people

THE New York Times reported: “Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of an exiled dictator, is set to win a sweeping presidential victory in the Philippines. Marcos had more than double the votes counted for Leni Robredo, the current vice president, according to the latest tally.”

The perception of victory is now being touted by Marcos and the UniTeam, his minions of political dynasties, the Marcos loyalists, and unsuspecting Filipinos who have been consuming fabricated stories and fake news peddled by troll farms and “influencers” on social media.

The Marcos family reportedly contracted the services of the British PR Firm Cambridge Analytica to rebrand the Marcos image in preparation for their goal to reclaim power and go back to Malacañang with Bongbong as president.

Troll farms were used as part of the disinformation tactics on social media platforms and apps like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube to whitewash the brutal years of the Marcos conjugal dictatorship, the conviction of Imelda Marcos of graft, and the culpability of Bongbong Marcos himself in non-payment of his income and the family’s estate tax and ill-gotten wealth liabilities, of which he is the administrator.

Duterte-Marcos troll farms were also used to instill mistrust, hate and disdain against Leni Robredo, the Aquino family, the Liberal Party, as well as their political opponents and critics,  as part of the disinformation effort to win the election and hold on to power.

A U.S. Filipinos for Good Governance (USFGG) project — using the technology of AI (Artificial Intelligence) big data that was used to surveil the intrusion of Chinese vessels in West Philippine Sea — exposed these troll farms through the website TrollExposer.com that tracks and named these trolls of Marcos and Duterte. It also discussed how the Duterte administration has been using taxpayers’ money to finance these troll farms to redtag Leni Robredo and the opposition.

The perception of victory is based on rushed announcement of election results by Comelec on election night with such speed that puts U.S. elections to shame, despite the Philippines having the slowest and unreliable internet connection in Asia, and even while many people were still in line and not able to cast their votes yet;

AMID breakdown of many vote counting machines (VCM) that also transmit votes across the country that has lead to long lines in precincts, amid the questionable advice for people to just leave their ballots, without them actually seeing their votes put in the machine themselves;

AMID disenfranchisement of people who were not able to cast their votes because their names were mysteriously not found in the list, or those who were not able to vote because of the fiasco caused by defective machines which should have been checked before and approved to work well during election day;

AMID blatant violation of the Omnibus Election code that prohibits vote buying, hakot, giving away of election materials and list of candidates to vote for on election day;

AMID questionable linear pattern of election results transmitted that many data analysts and statisticians would say is not characteristic of voting results pattern of real people casting their votes from different locations. All through the night from 8 p.m. the share of the votes between Marcos and Robredo had been at 68% to 32%. Marcos defenders would argue this is because of “cumulative count of votes”, but many experts sharing their interpretation of the graphs that reveal such pattern would say this is impossible in any process when we are talking about human beings. This could only happen if it had been deliberately programmed to be that way;

AMID Comelec’s inaction to all complaints all through the campaign to the day of election, leaving a lot of people lost, helpless, disenfranchised, unable to exercise their right to vote. Amid Comelec’s apparent favoring the Marcos campaign over the others, when in fact it should be nonpartisan and strictly working to protect the integrity of the elections;

All these questions and irregularities give credence to how the Duterte Administration had tactically set up the election process and the machinery to run it:

Comelec leadership all appointed by Duterte from among his minions in Davao;

The recent appointment of George Garcia as new Comelec Commissioner. Garcia was Bongbong Marcos’ attorney in his electoral protest against Leni Robredo during the 2016 VP race;

Comelec allowing the printing of 65% of the ballots and configured Secure Data (SD) cards in most regions without observers or away from public view;

The awarding of contract to F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc.,  linked to Dennis Uy, one of the Duterte’s crony and major campaign contributor based in Davao. Yes, it is the same Dennis Uy who owns Udenna Corp., the holding company of Davao businessman Dennis Uy, that acquired the stake of Chevron and Shell in the $4.5 billion deep water gas-to-power project in Malampaya. Now, F2 Logistics got the deal to distribute the ballots, VCMs, and other supplies used in the May 9 elections.

Senator Imee Marcos seating as the chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms, especially amid the investigation on the alleged data breach at election system provider Smartmatic.

The unofficial and partial results of the May 9 elections have crushed the spirit of millions of those who found hope to finally have a clean and honest government in the candidacy of Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan. These people from different walks of life, of all ages, but especially the youth — formed the grassroots movement that have shown their support through all the jam-packed political rallies, music, arts, person-to-person campaign.

Google Trends, which correctly predicted the victory of Duterte and Trump in 2016, of Biden in 2020, of France’s Emmanuel Marcon in 2022, among others, also showed Robredo with 49% vs. Marcos 32% in Google searches.

The supporters of Robredo-Pangilinan contended that the Marcos-Duterte campaign had been using mind-conditioning dirty tactics, employing questionable surveys and now this — the questionable release of questionable election results to claim victory.

People criticize Marcos and Duterte for avoiding debates and serious interviews with independent credible news organizations, a red flag of their unwillingness to be transparent and accountable to the people even as candidates — a red flag on how they would lead the country should they win the election.

Addressing her supporters in the morning of Tuesday, May 10, Robredo said:

“Kaya sinasabi ko sa inyo, walang nasayang. Hindi tayo nabigo. Pinakamahalaga, hindi pa tayo tapos. Nagsisimula pa lang tayo. May landas na nagbukas at hindi ito nagsasara kasabay ng mga presinto. May kilusang isinilang at hindi ito papanaw sa pagpagtatapos ng bilangan. Ang namulat, hindi na muli mapipikit. Hindi natin kailanman hahayaang makatulog muli ang pag-asang magising.”

VP Leni Robredo and her running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan will meet with their volunteers on Saturday, May 13 in Manila to thank all their supporters and to discuss what they plan to do moving forward as they soldier on to continue the fight for “gobyernong tapat“.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989. She was a news anchor, TV host and radio commentator and public service host for ABS- CBN and DZMM. She is now working on her advocacies independently, serving the Filipino audience using different  media platforms. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos. Also on Twitter, Instagram: Gel Santos Relos


Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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