MANILA – As various groups gathered in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros, Manila on Tuesday to protest the alleged widespread electoral fraud in the May 9 polls, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) urged them to “respect” the will of the Filipino people and avoid being part of the problem.
“The people have spoken. Respect that voice. Otherwise, you will lose whatever is left of your self-respect and dignity by crying over something that has been decided already by the masses. Cope with your defeat. Respect the will of the Filipino people,” NTF-ELCAC Acting Spokesperson for Legal Affairs Flosemer Chris Gonzales said in a press statement.
Gonzales appealed to the protesters to refrain from allowing what he described as a “ruckus” and “meltdown of emotions” to turn into a threat to national security due to their defeat in the elections.
“If you cannot bear to accept the election results and be part of nation-building, do not be a part of the problem. This is a time for unity and solidarity,” he added.
Instead of staging protests, he suggested that they “go home”, “pray”, “plant trees”, “wash the dishes”, and “spend time with your mom or dad.”
“Do not waste your time and your future in the company of a bunch of misguided and disgruntled mob who cannot be decent and gracious enough to accept the will of the Filipino people,” he said.
Gonzales described the protests as “an act of desperation”, noting that groups were “supporters of a presidential candidate and several senatorial candidates allied with the said presidential aspirant who lost ng bonggang bongga during the May 9, 2022 elections.”
He did not name the said presidential candidate and senatorial candidates.
Gonzales said it is the duty of the state to remind the protesters to “stay within the bounds of the law.”
He said any attempt or overt act leading to the disruption of the peace and order and causing harm to the public will be dealt with accordingly by law enforcement agencies.
“Do not force the government to use the full force of the law against you. Do not also allow yourselves to be used and exploited by anti-government elements to advance their selfish agenda,” he said.
The protest came after the release of the partial and unofficial count based on the transparency server of the Comelec where former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are leading the presidential and vice presidential race, respectively.
Marcos is poised to win the presidential election by a landslide while Sara is leading by a wide margin of votes, partial results show.
‘Reach across political divides’
In a separate statement, NTF ELCAC Spokesperson for Social Media Affairs and Sectoral Concerns Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy called on Filipinos to unite, rather than divide the nation.
“We would like to enjoin our countrymen to unclench their fists, reach across political divides and whatever else it is we imagine divides us, close ranks, and rally behind the leaders the people have chosen. When they do well, the Filipino people win,” Badoy said.
She said the election results show the country’s “vibrant” democracy where people can freely express their opinions.
Badoy also congratulated Filipinos for overcoming “enemies of the state” who have tried to subvert the will of the people.
“We must continuously reject those who pretend to be champions of democracy while at the same time have a most woeful inability to respect the very democracy they say they fight for,” she added.
She thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte for keeping what she described as “one of the cleanest, most credible elections.”
“Truly he has once again shown us why it is, since he sat in office, he is the most trusted public official in his administration and why he has consistently enjoyed trust and approval ratings that most leaders in the democratic world can only dream of- even as he is about to step down in about a month,” she said.
Duterte, who opted not to endorse any presidential candidate, will step down as president on June 30. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency