WHEN YOU really think about it, the only victory we achieved in these elections was in automating our vote. It was in conquering our fears of massive fraud, technical malfunctions and electronic manipulations on the way to ensuring a swift-counting and relatively cheat-free polls.
Beyond that, the battle has just started.
As a nation, we spoke out and made our choice. That choice was Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino. Individually, we all had our personal bets. But as a nation, Noynoy was who we picked. Thus, he is our choice now. The country’s 15th president is our president now.
Still, his victory isn’t our victory. In selecting Noynoy Aquino, we simply chose the way we, as a country should proceed. In making the son of two pro-democracy icons our president, we picked our battle and we drew the line.
Our battle is against corruption. On one side of the line is Noynoy and his 13 million or so followers, who gave him a mandate so huge that there will be little reason to question his rule. On the other side are GMA and her minions, who are intent on perpetuating themselves in power.
We could have elected to move forward as a nation and picked either Gibo Teodoro or Manny Villar, two candidates who presented concrete, measurable platforms during their campaign. Teodoro, especially, since even his fiercest rivals conceded that he was best suited for the presidency. But because of their links to Arroyo, Teodoro explicitly and Villar allegedly, we opted for Noynoy–either by voting for him or for others who were as vocal in saying GMA and her ilk would face prosecution for abusing the perks of the presidency.
It is now time to make that choice matter.
Not only should we hold Noynoy to the few promises he offered, we should stand by him when an expectedly hostile Congress–Villar is expected to control the Senate while Representative GMA is a cinch for the House speakership–tries to circumvent our collective will by force-feeding us with Charter change.
Oh sure, we were never sold on the Aquino campaign. He has failed to concretely address land reform issues his clan is embroiled in. He has shown little passion in putting a tight leash on Kamag-Anak Inc. And he had little to show for in his stint as legislator aside from his surname. Thus we went for other choices, even to the point of being willing to put up with convicted plunderer Erap Estrada–further proof that we were steering clear of any president who would refrain from vetoing House Speaker Arroyo.
But this is no longer the Aquino campaign. This is already the Aquino presidency. And in our willingness to put the battle against corruption in the forefront for the next six years, we made a late push to partner Ninoy with a proven executive. Much, of course, the the dismay of Aquino’s self-sacrificing vice presidential bet, Mar Roxas.
Those of us who were against Noynoy were wary that he was a weak and unproven bet. Well, he is now a weak and unproven president. And to choose to grumble now, to opt to slip back to apathy simply because our bet lost would not only mean disrespect to the voice of the majority, it would make the person in charge of our country even weaker.
Let us continue to be vigilant. Let us hold him accountable for everything he promised. Let us offer him nothing more than our critical support.
But when push comes to shove, when Noynoy and his 13 million go to war against a money-fueled, power-hungry corruption machine, let us all take a look at the line that we drew as a nation, pick the right side to go to battle with and add true meaning to our electoral triumph.
Otherwise, these historic elections would be hooray! electronic voting! and little else.
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