BETING LAYGO DOLOR: We were blindsided

Supporters of Leni Robredo were shocked when the Commission on Elections released figures that showed Ferdinand Marcos Jr had apparently won the presidency.

Nothing wrong here as one of the two was bound to win the presidential election, leaving four other presidential wannnabes in the dust.

But the figures ostensibly from the Comelec’s unofficial figures were released a mere two to three hours after polling precincts closed. Reports could not have reached the poll body’s headquarters, unless they were prepared beforehand.

I do not mean to sound like a sore loser. I have never kept secret my support for Robredo, who had the best credentials among the five or six serious candidates vying for the Philippine presidency. I believed as many other Filipinos believed that this year’s elections was one of the most important in recent decades.

Elect the right leader and the Philippines could continue on the path to tiger economy status that the late President Benigno Aquino III had set for us. Elect the wrong leader and the country would return to the boom and bust cycle that had been the economy’s hallmark for the past six decades.

If indeed Ferdinand Marcos Jr won – and I now have serious doubts that he won in fair and free elections given the mounting evidence showing probable cheating – then there is little that I or anyone can do but to accept the will of the people.

And there lies the rub.

I must concede that Marcos Jr. could have won fair and square based on the 12 who won the senatorial elections. It was a near sweep for his line up, with only opposition re-electionist Senator Risa Hontiveros emerging victorious.

The same people who voted for a number of scoundrels to either join or rejoin the Philippine Senate presumably voted for Marcos Jr. They will, in turn, become his willing lapdogs in the upper chamber of Congress.

The unfortunate voters mostly belong to the D-E socioeconomic class. And since they represent the overwhelming majority of the electorate, they now have to shoulder the blame if Marcos Jr. makes a mess of the presidency.

I am almost certain that he will. This is not an insult, it is an observation based on fact.

He was a spoiled brat in his youth. He was a spoiled brat as a young man. He was a spoiled brat in his middle age. And he is a spoiled brat in his senior years.

He has never worked a day in his life, and the two private companies he owns have been busts.

Ask any of the board of directors of the Top 1,000 companies in the Philippines if they would hire Marcos Jr. to serve as president and chief executive officer. I dare say that 99 percent would laugh at the prospect, and give an unqualified NO.

Yet here we are, the theoretical Philippines, Inc. – FVR coined that term, didn’t he? – having elected him as president and CEO. It does not compute.

He kept harping about his father’s supposed accomplishments as president. This led to netizens asking, “Would you ride on a plane piloted by a guy whose father was a good pilot, but who himself has no experience flying an aircraft?”

An obviously rhetorical question, isn’t it?

So why did the stockholders of Phils., Inc. opt to choose an inexperienced leader run the show which is already in shambles for the next six years?

As a wise friend liked to say, “You tell me.”

Alas, I have no answer.

I suspect cheating occurred but I do not have the means to prove it. I can only surmise that the majority of the socio-economic classes D and E were either brainwashed into believing the tall tale that the martial law years was some kind of golden era, or they grew up so poor and malnourished, and did not complete any meaningful education that they are no longer able to think straight.

I know this sounds like an insult to them. It’s not.

No matter how far the Philippine economy went in the Ramos and Pnoy Aquino years, there remained a large segment who never partook of the benefits of the growth. They remained poor.

Some will say they were just lazy, while some will say that they never had the opportunity to rise from their sad lot in life. As a result, they were willing to gamble on an untested leader in the hopes that the new leader can accomplish miracles, like providing high paying jobs for them.

This is the only explanation that makes sense to me. These are the same people who spend what little money they have betting on the lotto.

Too bad that the miracle that they are expecting will not take place. P20 (about $0.40) per kilo of rice? Marcos Jr. promised this, and the D and E markets lapped it up. But every economist worth his/her salt said this was impossible.

Yes, it can be done, but only artificially and just for a short period. All the government has to do is to subsidize the cost of the rice at the retail level.

This step, however, cannot be sustained for an extended period, most especially by a government that is already strapped for cash.

The government can also pressure rice farmers to sell their palay at a loss, but this will cause serious harm to Philippine agriculture, as a whole.

Then there is the old solution of importing the cheapest rice available from countries such as India, which frequently has surpluses of this all-important commodity.

Finally, there is always China, which has been exposed to have created a plastic that looks, smells, and cooks like real rice, but with zero nutrients and potentially causing dangerous side-effects like cancer to anyone who unknowingly consumes it in substantial quantities.

It would not be beyond the incoming administration to resort to such horrible solutions like this in order to save face.

Excuse me for painting such a bleak scenario under Marcos Jr. I want  nothing more than to be proven wrong and he turns out to be a competent chief executive. But I’m not holding my breath waiting. Not only do I like to consume real rice, but I also enjoy breathing.

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