Almost two weeks after the May 9 general elections, people, as expected, continue to do some so-called Monday-night quarterbacking. The more informed and those who believe they have a higher stake in the outcome of the elections, are, of course, trying to get a better understanding of the results of the last electoral exercise. Some therefore have a more complicated narrative of the whys and wherefores of the result and have even more intricate views of the web-like political and economic environment. Others who are more concerned with the more urgent matter of bringing food to the table for their families view the elections as just another struggle among different factions of the so-called ruling elite.
This is the same group, said to be lower C, D, and E, and parenthetically, the “angry group” as some commentators call it, that does not, generally look at ideological issues. Rather, this strata of society is heavily influenced by its unmet needs over the years, its static position, lack of real prospects for upward social and economic mobility, and dissatisfaction, in general. It is the group that quietly watches, listens, absorbs, and eventually believes the media, especially in this day and age of technology, social media. They listen to the promises of a better life and eventually believe, and later expect, the promise maker to deliver.
A case in point, probably a representative of the struggling common Filipino, is our electrician. This electrician could not afford a formal education in electrical courses. He did not go to college to take up electrical engineering and was therefore not exposed to other courses that make up what could have been a liberal education.
Whatever knowledge and talent this electrician has came as a result of exposure to actual electrical works and the ability to put “two and two together” by himself.
Our electrician quietly soldiers on and experiences the daily drudgery of waking up at four in the morning (after sleeping at 10 the night before because he could not catch a ride back home early enough) while his wife prepares breakfast for him and his children try to make do with whatever gadgets they have for online learning. Our electrician and his family watch YouTube and other platforms to catch up on news and commentaries and for entertainment.
Our electrician says he watched a YouTube feature which essentially states that in his last will and testament, Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. promised to give P1 million to each Filipino. Our electrician says that Marcos Jr. will make good the promise of his late father. He looks forward to that day after July 1, 2022, when Marcos Jr. takes his oath of office as the 17th president of the Philippines. Our electrician who, as you can see, comes from the school of hard knocks, believes, after his own analysis, that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is safe and should be activated. He says he listened to all the arguments on YouTube and found all the arguments in favor of the plant, technically sound. It was one of the great projects of Marcos Sr., he insists, and he has his electrical experience to back up his position.
Our hard-working electrician believes, like millions of Marcos Jr. supporters, that the big projects of Marcos Sr. will be replicated by Marcos Jr. He had watched over several years most of the YouTube, TikTok and other online presentations of the Marcos camp.
No doubt, such well-produced presentations which had crept online but were ignored and unchallenged by the opposition helped produce the Marcos Jr. votes. An added factor was the alleged inability of anti-Marcos Jr. groups to listen carefully to what some Marcos people and independent analysts insist the angry poor are saying against being left out of the mainstream of life. Ironically, this was the same sector — the people at the fringes or at the laylayan — that Vice-President Leni Robredo had been addressing long before she got into public service as a development lawyer defending farmers, battered women, and others who had no access to professional legal services. Perhaps, this fact was not communicated well enough, long enough, and was simply overwhelmed by the volume of Marcos material.
One also has to add the fact of the influence of the Duterte administration’s high approval ratings that rubbed off on Marcos Jr. simply because he had Mayor Sara Duterte as his running mate and even if there were online posts that had President Duterte very critical of Marcos Jr. These remarks, although critical of Marcos Jr., did not create traction and were probably dismissed by the voters as another instance of Duterte deliberately creating confusion and keeping people guessing. In short, they did not take him seriously, which is probably what he had really wanted.
At this point. It has become crystal clear, barring any miraculous development, Marcos Jr. is well on the way to assuming the presidency of the Philippines 36 years after the family was ousted from Malacañang. He has fulfilled the Marcos family’s, especially Imelda’s, obsession to go back to Malacañang. Because the family wanted, with dogged determination, to regain power, it is assumed that Marcos Jr. will soon unveil the long-delayed details of his Unity program. It is assumed he will have the political and moral will to confront the various conflicts-of-interest cases before him, such as the tax evasion case and other similar legal issues.
Internationally, Marcos Jr. has to figure out how to deal with the US where some legal challenges face him. President Joe Biden and the State Department, for their part have, in the meantime, figured out the most pragmatic route to take. Since the unofficial returns show a huge unassailable lead in favor of Marcos Jr., the White House congratulated him and expressed hopes to work with him. One could perhaps speculate that the US wanted to get ahead of China in expressing its readiness to work with the incoming Philippine administration. Word is in fact going around that if Chinese President Xi Jinping accepts the invitation of Marcos Jr. to attend the latter’s inaugural, Biden could accept a similar invite to the inaugural which was reportedly extended to the American President.
Philip Ella Juico’s areas of interest include the protection and promotion of democracy, free markets, sustainable development, social responsibility and sports as a tool for social development. He obtained his doctorate in business at De La Salle University. Dr. Juico served as secretary of Agrarian Reform during the Corazon C. Aquino administration.