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BBM-Sara victory?

It will take a lot of convincing on the part of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The conduct of the counting left disbelieving a large segment of the population, including crucial business sectors and the civil society, along with the international community.

The count showed an overwhelming mandate for former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio. But it begged the question: “Is the count credible?”

The BBM-Sara leadership is going about as if the mandate is legitimate. The result confirms the bias of their followers. Expect them to browbeat those who disbelieve as failures to accept reality. 

The PR maneuver could be to engineer mass cognitive dissonance. Force the skeptical population to do actions of seeming approval though inconsistent with their thoughts and beliefs. The desired tendency would be a mass delusion to rationalize the discrepancy. This should be easy among those who accepted a few hundred pesos to vote BBM-Sara. They would like to excuse their criminal act as something for another meal or even for “pagkakaisa.”

Immediately, “sipsip” business owners can blare that hated Bagong Lipunan song on their business premises. Once in Malacañang, Marcos can order the implementation of what his father did in the past. The mass singing of that despicable song in schools and government offices. However, the outgoing Duterte administration must manage the seething social volcano. The recent electoral campaign has freed millions from their apathy and trooped to the streets. In the Philippine setting, this can easily switch into what we know as “People Power.”

Let us look back at history.
• The First Quarter Storm erupted after the Philippine election of 1969 --described by Newsweek and Time magazines as the dirtiest, most violent, and most corrupt election, that gave rise to the term “Three Gs,” for guns, goons, and gold.
• The EDSA Uprising exploded after the gross cheating of the 1986 Snap Elections.

For the moderate pink leadership, I expect caution and maybe a look at the long term. But first-time voters crying overnight about their future may just be the tip of the iceberg. For outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, the bottom line would be a mandate legitimate enough that his daughter Inday Sara can use to navigate the emerging mess.

For now, I can only expect in the next few weeks political madness and us living dangerously.

(Emmanuel Mongaya, co-founder and director for strategic communications of PRWorks Inc., is a director of the Political Officers League of the Philippines or POLPhil. DM him @ anol_cebu)