The blood-soaked years
And so, we finally enter the precincts tomorrow in the season of harvest festivals. What kind of harvest will democracy bring us this year?
Of all the election campaigns I remember, this has been the steeliest, most determined opposition to the incumbent President ever — yes, steelier than the anti-Marcos snap election of 1986.
Widely considered a referendum on three years of Mr. Duterte’s rule, this campaign has turned out to be a series of sharp images of the state of Philippine society itself.
The questions it asked, the secrets it revealed, the sharply divided sectors it brought together, taking sides on basic moral questions, have all led to an anguished examination of what this nation has become and where it’s going under President Duterte to the very eve of the Big Day.
No one has been able to look away from the weightiest question of all: Are we still the nation founded by our revolutionary forefathers, or has China become our overlord with our President’s consent, against the majority’s will?
Next question is: What is the truth of Mr. Duterte’s drug war? His supporters and propagandists still tout him as a savior not to be questioned, despite multiplying evidence of criminal actions. Or has he been, as new allegations say, the largest drug lord of all — his “war on drugs” killing 30,000 outside the rule of law while selling out the Philippines to China, the world’s largest supplier of the dread “shabu”?
The third question is: Will his opaque rule birthed and run on fake news bring victory to the opposition, to finally gain the power to unravel the skein of falsehoods this administration is woven from?
All that we’ve seen and read since Mr. Duterte’s virtual reign of terror, lies and wanton corruption makes the oppositionist senatorial slate Otso Diretso a gripping story with a widely acknowledged groundswell of volunteers nationwide.
With 10 of 14 Senate candidates from political dynasties in the winning circle claimed by doubtful commissioned surveys, opposition volunteers are already girding their loins for the expected manipulation of election results.
Will the fruits of Otso Diretso’s labor be allowed to reap a harvest of truth for the Filipino people, and a chance to undo and begin to heal from the blood-soaked Duterte years? On the answer to that lies the future of the Republic of the Philippines.
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Sylvia L. Mayuga is an essayist, sometime columnist, poet, documentary filmmaker and environmentalist. She has three National Book Awards to her name.
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