In Denial


IT TOOK ME half an hour to work on the composite photo above. In that time, Leni Robredo’s numbers rose by over 5,000 votes. As of this writing (May 13, 7:32pm), 96.04% of the election returns have been counted  (43,686,628 of 55,735,757 registered voters, according to the Comelec-GMA mirror server) and Robredo is steadily maintaning her 200,000+ vote lead.

Still Bongbong Marcos will not accept defeat.

Unlike his betters, Marcos will not graciously concede and submit to the people’s will. Instead, he is digging in his heels and casting aspersions on his rival, on the PPCRV, on the Comelec, and on the entire electoral process.  He has no qualms about how his petulant protestations cast a shadow on these last elections. He does not care about how many volunteers sacrificed (even unto death!) to make them clean and reliable. No. He will negate all that because he is behind by a bit and for a Marcos, that is inconceivable.

How very like his father.

It has been a painful, vicious season. The reasonable among us grasp the urgent need for healing; and so, despite our sentiments we have chosen to decently refrain from expressing either our euphoria or dejection too much, lest this widen the breach.

There are the unreasonable, however. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for all her mental acuity, came out a few days ago staunchly defending Marcos like a favorite aunt against the backyard bullies. With her usual swagger, she insinuated cheating without proof, as if her magnificent intellect were potent enough to transform fantasy into fact.

She was a judge – she knows better. Her unsubstantiated statement last Wednesday was cavalier and utterly irresponsible. As one Facebook user commented, “It’s bad enough that you led your many millenial followers to support Bongbong Marcos, now you say this?!” What a letdown.

The vital requirement that is missing is evidence.

Suppositions, statistical projections, and incredulity are not proof. They only display the degree to which Marcos and his camp refuse to accept reality. What is damaging is their continued goading of the loyalists who have no desire or ability to rationally process events. They will listen only to Bongbong, even if he tells them to gather in Luneta in the heat of the day to push an unjustifiable cause.

I pity the small group that dutifully showed up dressed in red, prepared to tilt at windmills. The social media manipulators did a good job of stoking the fire with a dramatic poster and incendiary call to arms:


Photo from Pres. Ferdinand Emmanuel E. Marcos Facebook page

To be fair, it took a largish tree to shelter all who came.


But for all their folly, their devotion was genuine and should not have been exploited. They deserve better from their leader, yet he is prepared to use them as ammo when it suits him. He did not even show up for the picnic the next day.


Screenshot: GMA News Online

What pains me is that many millenials and some people I know who are otherwise sensible have fallen for Bongbong Marcos’s revisionist tripe. It is excruciating that these folks refuse to confront the reality of history and insist on holding to a version of events that simply did not take place. I cannot explain it. Perhaps a psychiatrist can.

Add this self-delusion to the many other ills of this country that need priority treatment, if you want things to be different. We cannot address the problem piecemeal. We have to acknowledge, first of all, that it exists, and then subject it to therapy for healing to begin.

No matter how serious or popular or committed the president may be, he cannot bring about real change among people who remain in denial.

It hurts that a large swathe of our society is willing to believe and defend a lie. If we cannot even agree on historical facts – events that took place within living memory! – if we cannot believe the testimony of eyewitnesses; if we cannot heed their call to avoid the pitfalls and instead willingly make a beeline for them, then it is not likely that real change can occur. No matter whom we elect into office, there will always be a bad sector in our collective memory that will resist rehabilitation and, sadly, it will insist on remaining corrupt.

There are six things the LORD hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    haughty eyes,
     a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
    a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    a false witness who pours out lies
    and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

  Proverbs 6:16-19

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