Grassroots & Governance

An indication of our national character is how we behave in games of sports. The recent melee at the FIBA games, an international basketball federation competition which we were hosting is certainly a shame. We also have in our sports history at least one case where the Philippine team was disqualified because we passed off an overaged but undersized kid as a qualified member of our youth baseball team. These are cases of our being sore losers, or willingness to cheat just to win.
Today, we have a motion for consideration about to be decided by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) which earlier decided in favor of a petition from losing vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos, Jr. for a recount of votes in the 2016 elections.
Because of this petition, election winner now Vice-President Leni Robredo had to raise money that she did not have in order to pay for the recount expenses. Fortunately, there were enough friends and relatives who were generous enough to contribute the millions of pesos that she needed. The election loser Marcos claims that he, too, haha, received donations from friends.
This is bad enough; but the disgusting thing is that the PET, which is composed of the justices of the Supreme Court earlier agreed with the Marcos camp that the recount should use as a basis a 50% shading of the ballots, instead of the 25% shading which was the basis used by the Comelec in the actual automated election vote count which led to victory for Leni Robredo. The Comelec was the referee for the real election. The review panel of judges now wants to change the rules.
This is no less than cheating, and not ordinary cheating. It is cheating after the game has been lost, not before, and not during the game, which would have been bad enough.
If the PET does not reverse itself by accommodating the motion for reconsideration from the Robredo camp, this will be a case of reversing a defeat after the game has been lost by getting the review panel of judges to change the rules, on hindsight! It is game fixing after the fact! With the panel of judges agreeing with the crime!
This can be no less than brazen, shameless cheating; in fact, game fixing after the game has been lost!
It is hard to believe, but Solicitor-General Jose Calida, who represents the Philippine government in this case, has endorsed the position of the Marcos camp to change the rules, and to use 50% shading, instead of the 25% shading used in the real vote count by the Comelec.
I can’t believe that there is not enough hue and cry over this shameless game fixing after the fact, which constitutes a new high in cheating. Have we really gone this low in our ethical and moral standards? Have we become numb to this kind of thing because it is now the way things are?
Well, this is the Supreme Court that awarded coco levy shares in San Miguel to Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., because, as the ponente claimed, “There was no evidence that he was a Marcos crony.” This is also the same Supreme Court that reversed its own decision to award damages to the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) in favor of Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines. This is also the same Supreme Court that recently dismissed the cases filed by the government to recover scads of money from the Marcoses. The same Court that dismissed plunder charges against former president Gloria Arroyo in the case in which the loss of P340 million in Pagcor funds was confirmed; but no thieves were identified. The same Court that enabled release of Juan Ponce Enrile on bail against the law on plunder cases which does not allow release on bail; allowed burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani; allows continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima with no charges being filed. We can go on and on.
There has also not been enough hue and cry over these incredible injustices against the Filipino people. Are we becoming numb to these brazen, shameful injustices by the court of last resort?
Today, we have a president who offers to resign if someone can prove that God exists. And this is a president who gets majority approval in survey after survey. This is how low we have come to be. I hope we are close to the tipping point; and that we will finally say to ourselves, this is more than we should bear!
Let us hope that leaders in civil society will finally wake up to “the last straw” and publicly express their rage and disgust.
For the sake of our children and their children, may God have mercy on us all!
Teresa S. Abesamis is a former professor at the Asian Institute of Management and an independent development management consultant.