If there is a lesson to be learned from the outcome of the 2019 elections, it is this: the Duterte machine — guns, goons, gold, plus propaganda — is a success, by ALL counts, and it doesn’t even matter that chief propagandist Mocha didn’t get a seat in Congress.
It has succeeded because we were all oblivious to, decidedly ignoring, all the signs that this leadership would move hell and high water to get the Senate and Congress it needs to continue, Presidential ill-health and worsening poverty and discontent notwithstanding. To be clear: the election results are not a referendum on Duterte — there was enough irregularity, questions of fraud, massive vote buying to disabuse us of that (— it’s so bad Duterte himself has pretty much admitted to fraud.)
But the fact that they were able to get those Senators proclaimed despite all those irregularities, with nary-a-difficult-to-ignore public outcry, that is the referendum we should be looking at. It is also the “referendum” of the past three years. The truth is, beyond the count, we had let Duterte and his people get away with “rigging” this election, so to speak, ensuring a win, no matter how well the opposition(s) campaigned and how much money they put out (think Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas).
Talo na tayo sa eleksyong ito bago pa man tayo bumoto, bago pa man magsimulang magbilang ang COMELEC. We were losing long before campaign season, long before people even declared their intention to run. In fact, by the time we realized there was a slate we could all get behind, we had already lost. How? Let us count the ways.