By Alex P. Vidal
“Winning or losing of the election is less important than strengthening the country.”—Indira Gandhi
NOW that the cat is out of the bag, only a miracle can probably save presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from being disqualified.
In fact, anytime from now, it is feared the 64-year-old former senator’s goose is cooked.
The key words were already released by retiring Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon: “President Rodrigo Duterte did not want to interfere in the Comelec decision.”
Reading between the lines, President Duterte presumably must have already been “notified” by the Comelec’s decision on Bongbong’s case.
In the event of a disqualification, Bongbong can still go to the Supreme Court while his campaign for the May 9, 2022 election continues.
But this could damage his candidacy.
It’s another story if you’ve been distracted and tainted even if you lead in all the major surveys.
The voters won’t risk supporting someone who was not guaranteed to occupy the post even if he was allowed to run while the disqualification case was on appeal.
It appeared the case for disqualification filed against the only son of the late dictator was strong that any alleged attempt to influence the poll body’s decision was bound to fail.
Two weeks ago, we predicted that a big political story would explode and bring sadness to the supporters of a leading presidential candidate.
This could be it.
What is being asked of the voters when they go to the polling precincts to cast their votes on May 9, 2022 is not heavy and impossible: wear a face mask.
Authorities weren’t mandating that all voters must be vaccinated, which is illegal and will surely cause a lot of trouble both for the authorities and those who would continue to refuse to be inoculated if implemented.
Those who were quick to react angrily should learn to distinguish between being required only to wear a mask and being forced to have a Covid-19 vaccine.
In the first place, no authority can force anyone to get a Covid-19 vaccine with or without an election.
Wearing of face mask is a safe measure, a win-win situation. A voter who is not vaccinated may still adhere to the mandatory wearing of masks.
By that time, the pandemic hopefully might be on the downswing, but health authorities may still require the people to continue observing the basic protocol in relation to the pandemic for the safety and good of everyone.
I am guilty of violating my own declaration recently that my 11th swab testing in only two weeks in the month of January, was my last.
I actually had four more after that “false” declaration: two rapid antigen tests and two PCR tests respectively on January 26 and 27.
I can’t blame those who might tag me as “the swab tester who cried wolf.” If I say this is my last, which is the truth, no one might believe it anymore.
To be frank about it, I am not sure if the last four were the last and final.
Next week, I might do it again. I am not doing this for anything, or for something sinister whatsoever.
I have a legitimate purpose and explanation, which I will try to discuss in my next articles.
I’m just being a “good soldier” and probably a responsible person who knows how to follow and obey what is right in as far as the ongoing battle against the spread of Covid-19 is concerned.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)