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Will there be an Arya?

The deadline approaches. Will there be an Arya somewhere who will, out of the surrounding darkness, suddenly leap onto the back of the Night King and finish him off?

I’m talking of the May 13 elections, of course, but there’s a sense of dread and hope enveloping everyone who, like the armies of Westeros and allies sheltered behind the walls of Winterfell, await with dread and anticipation, but also hope and heart, the arrival of the White Walkers and the valiant efforts of the gathered armies to stop them.

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If you read nothing but the findings of Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia, and listen to nothing but the wild ranting of our own Night King fulminating against Canada, residents of Marawi, drug users and his political opponents — all in a single speech — you would think that it’s all over but the shouting — and counting.

But if you have your eyes and ears cocked for signs deviating from the official narrative, then the news offers heartful alternatives. Coming from behind, almost without warning, the struggling Otso Diretso slate is making inroads in many surveys, albeit informal and limited in scope.

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The recent televised debate on CNN between the Otso Diretso and a motley crew of independents and proadministration candidates was a graphic display of the distance between the oppositionists and the pro-Duterte array. Distance not just in terms of numbers (the administration slate could only muster three representatives) but more so in terms of capacity and capability. I tuned out early in the debate because I found the format confusing and the sharp exchanges annoying.

A special call-out to Samira Gutoc who was not only the only woman candidate at the event, but matched the men with her forceful delivery and bold opinions. She also has a special qualification: She is a resident of Marawi, and draws from her personal experience as well as her heart and mind when she speaks out about the plight of the city and hopes of her people for peace and development. I look forward to her presence in the Senate not only as a representative of her gender and ethnicity, but also as an articulate, fearless debater and lawmaker.

“Winter is coming,” we are warned in “Game of Thrones.” On our part, depending on how we vote, that winter can chill our hearts and hopes, or lead us to the glorious sunshine.

* * *

In the midst of this feverish preelection season, “old” issues continue to haunt the public. Or at least that portion of the Filipino public still mulling the possibility that Bongbong Marcos “really” won the vice presidential race in 2016.

But as far as many are concerned, including or especially adherents of Vice President Leni Robredo who have come to live with the fact that she is indeed the real “veep,” her victory has become a given. Indeed, as the recount of ballots conducted as part of the election protest filed by Marcos shows, Robredo’s lead over Marcos remains intact following the conclusion of the recount and reappreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces designated by the loser Marcos.

Vice President Leni’s lawyers have long maintained that Marcos did not make a substantial recovery from his pilot provinces for his protest to continue. Thus, it seems a massive waste of everyone’s time — not to mention public money and money both winner and loser have had to cough up — to continue with what looks like an exercise in futility.

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Maria Bernadette Sardillo, the Vice President’s counsel, said Marcos would need to obtain “substantial recovery” in the pilot provinces he chose before a recount could proceed in other areas. “As we have been saying all along,” Sardillo noted, “this is ‘game over’ for Marcos as he failed to get substantial recovery from the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur.”

At the moment, the protest continues apace, and as Robredo’s lawyers admit, it is impossible at this point to predict just exactly how the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, composed of the Supreme Court justices, would decide the issue. After all, as has been shown in previous instances, the “Supremes” can vote on issues that, strictly speaking, would seem cut-and-dried from the legal and moral standpoint. Will they surprise us this time?

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TAGS: 2019 elections, 2019 senatorial candidates, At Large, Bongbong Marcos, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, leni robredo, Otso Diretso, rina jimenez david, surveys, vice presidential electoral protest
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