So this is what it feels like the day after to back the wrong horse, in a manner of speaking. Somewhat deflated, somewhat stunned, but surprisingly, but moving quickly through the five stages to acceptance of the situation. A far cry from the mix of emotions last night when the tallies came in and I was feeling somewhat depressed, nauseous even.
‘Backing the wrong horse’ is mere levity, of course. I chose Mar Roxas and campaigned for him because I thought he would have made the better president. It was also a moral choice because, for all his shortcomings, he did not campaign on a platform of killing and hate. That is a choice that I will not regret making six months down the line and longer. I stand by that choice.
But it seems that the nation has spoken. At 15 million votes, the president-elect Duterte has a lead of 6 million over the runners up. That’s roughly 38% of all votes, as strong a mandate as any president can hope to receive. That’s a great deal of political capital to begin with. We should all hope he does not squander it. (Incidentally, Aquino and Estrada got a marginally higher percentages, as did Arroyo under dubious circumstances.)
Now we wait for the policies and programs Duterte will put in place and for the people he will choose to push them forward. A good deal of my apprehensions have been from the lack of clarity of his plans. He has made many promises, how many of them he will fulfill — how many of them we are even supposed to take seriously — we will have to see.
And certainly vigilance. Remember: this is the man who promised his term would be ‘bloody’ among many other alternately absurd and horrifying claims. Even fifteen million votes cannot turn wrong to right.
Regardless, this is a historic moment and something to consider. For the first time we will have a president from Mindanao. When Barack Obama was elected president, even his political rivals rejoiced in the recognition that the United States had their first black president. Something similar has just happened here.
As for President Aquino and his Daang Matuwid administration? I think there’s no better parting gift to pass on to the nation and to his successors than a peaceful, clean, honest, efficient, and incontestable elections, with the highest turnout in recent memory. We should thank them for their service.