In 2016, we went into the elections knowing exactly what we would lose should Duterte win – the soul of the nation. The campaign was a dark preview of what his regime would be like and Duterte more than delivered on his promise of dead bodies – countless of them executed in cold blood in their homes in the dead of night.
Time and again, Duterte has publicly expressed that he would exonerate police officers should they get caught doing his bidding. He delivered on that promise as well.
He goaded people to kill and commit crime against his critics; unleashed false matrices that endangered the lives of political rivals and anyone who has spoken against him.
He ran a campaign against the oligarch and the elite only to ally himself with new oligarchs and the most corrupt political figures who are willing to do his bidding.
Duterte waves around having an independent foreign policy whenever his administration is called out for abuses but has practically sold the country to the Chinese by supposedly falling into a debt-trap from loans that are mostly beneficial for China and their workers while staying silent on the West PH Sea claims.
In this year’s midterm elections, Duterte is seen as gunning for full control of the Senate to push for Federalism and the reimposition of the death penalty among others. This could also be protection for him to make sure that he doesn’t get impeached with the mounting human rights concerns and his questionable foreign policy.
The method is putting lapdogs and plunderers in the Senate regardless of qualification. Nevermind that these people have to draft the country’s laws, determine the nation’s budget, and conduct investigations in aid of legislation. They seem to be needed for one thing and that is to say yes to whatever the Palace wants them to do.
It is not looking hopeful if the national surveys are to be believed. But there is a pattern of the opposition dominating mock polls in universities and colleges across the country. Therein lies a faint flicker of hope for us. We need the opposition for check and balance. We need people who can support the good but also stand up and say no if what the Palace wants or needs is against the law. These people are Samira Gutoc, Chel Diokno, Neri Colmenares, Ka Leody de Guzman, Bam Aquino, and Pilo Hilbay. But they are not enough. Effective opposition needs numbers and for that we have Mar Roxas, Erin Tanada, Romulo Macalintal, and Gary Alejano.
I don’t agree with some of them on key issues but this is a bigger and more immediate battle. This is not the time to be divided and think of personal interests. For now, we have one dragon to slay and that is the bearer of abuse, misogyny, impunity, and murder. The battle for the nation is on May 13th. Win or lose, we fight. And this is bigger than Endgame or Game of Thrones.