Various progressive organizations across Batangas province gathered in Plaza Independencia in Lipa City to protest against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) laxity on alleged anomalies in the voting process, a day after the 2022 elections and after the release of unofficial and partial results.
Among the organizations who attended the rally were Anakbayan, GABRIELA-Youth, Bahaghari, Panday Sining, and BAYAN-Batangas.
“Napakaraming dayaan na naganap, hindi lamang dito sa Lipa, hindi lamang sa probinsya ng Batangas, hindi lamang sa rehiyon ng timog-katagalugan, kundi sa buong Pilipinas,” said Audrey Diaz, spokesperson of BAYAN-Batangas.
It should be noted that multiple Vote Counting Machine (VCM) failures were reported across the Province of Batangas.
As per Comelec Resolution 10759, the most common instruction during the fixings or replacements of these machines was to leave the ballots and let the Comelec officers feed them to the machines.
Vote-buying allegations, irregular counting speed, and the circulating consistent 47% difference ratio of two presidential candidates, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Leonor “Leni” Robredo, which the Comelec dismissed, added fuel to the suspicion of the masses.
Yesterday, May 11, on a Facebook post, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), with the help of volunteer experts from the Ateneo Math Department, also released a statement concluding that the 68:32 ratio “does not indicate irregularities.”
Meanwhile, for the youth who attended the rally, Filipinos deserve an explanation of said machine failures and other anomalies that may have resulted from electoral fraud.
“Hindi nirerespeto ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno, hinahayaan na ang halalan 2022 ay gawing playground ng mga pamilyang mayayaman at nais lamang mapunta sa kapangyarihan para sa kanilang mga pansariling interes,” Diaz stated.
Lyzander Mariño, a law student from the University of Batangas (UB) and part of the movement, said that one of his motivations for joining these campaigns was his learnings from law school.
“[Bilang law student], nakita ko kung paano tumatakbo ang sistema natin ng mga abogado, ang ating judicial system, at kulang na kulang talaga […] kaya kailangan nating kumilos,” Mariño said.
Morever, other movement attendees said that taking a stance and letting their voices be heard is essential to push the higher-ups to address their insufficiency.
“Syempre napakaganda po na ginagamit natin ang boses natin bilang kabataan […] kailangan pong marinig ‘yung boses natin, ‘yung side nating mga kabataan kung ano pong nararamdaman natin sa nangyaring eleksyon,” said one of the attendee, Breven Umali.
Umali went on to say that he found the election unusual as the results were served too fast compared to the expected pace, “Syempre bilang first-time voter, siguro medyo nadismaya na parang napakalaki na kaagad ng agwat. Ineexpect namin na magdidikit [..] sana pakinggan tayo [ng Comelec] […] at mayroong aksyon na makakamtan.”
Meanwhile, the bystanders’ insights regarding the event were divided.
Angelo Belin, a youth bystander, said that other people should not villanize these movements as the activists’ were only hoping to be heard.
“Makatwiran po [ang mga ganitong pagtitipon] kase po may gusto po silang [iparating] na hindi po kayang sabihin ng indibidwal, kaya po sila nagsama-sama para po marinig ‘yung tinig nilang lahat,” Belin said.
Meanwhile, Ronald Malabanan claimed that activism is the reason why the peace in Philippine society is disturbed.
“‘Kaya nagulo ang sistema ng ating gobyerno ay dahil sa mga ganyan. Kita naman natin nga na talo na, itigil na natin,” said Malabanan
Malabanan, still strong on his stand, advised the youth to ‘accept the loss’ and just wait until the government makes mistakes before acting up.
“Ipakita natin ang gagawin ng gobyerno kung maganda, at kung pangit naman, tsaka sila magkaroon ng rally rally na ganyan,” added Malabanan.
As of May 13, the late dictator’s son and now presumptive President Marcos Jr. led the presidential race with 31,104,175 votes, leaving Robredo far behind at 14,822,051 votes.
Some bystanders shared the same sentiments with Malabanan but refused to be interviewed further.
Despite not being connected to the rally’s focus, Malabanan also delved into the long feud between the Marcoses and Aquinos, claiming that these progressive movements were merely a device of retaliation from the Aquinos against the Marcoses.
“Talagang ipinakita ng tao na talagang bukas na ang isipan nila para ibalik naman ang mga Marcos at [tingnan kung anong] gagawin nilang maganda, kase pangit naman ang ginawa talaga ng mga Aquino na ‘yan, kaya ngayon sumuko na sila [Aquinos], ‘wag na nilang idamay ‘yung mga estudyante,” Malabanan said.