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Monthly Archives: June 2016

End of the road

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For scribblers like me, this is the perfect time to blog because Filipinas is entering a scary but exciting new phase of governmental leadership.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

No, nobody’s preventing me to write about President-Elect Rody Rodrigo (please, enough with that idiotic “presumptive president” tag). The reason why I couldn’t blog about him is because…

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…I’m blackened.

…I couldn’t write anymore. I just couldn’t. Writer’s block? Probably. Whatever this is, it’s the worst writer’s block I’ve ever had ever since people started calling me a writer. But this is a case in which the problem is not just about writing but about reading as well. I couldn’t even concentrate finishing the recent John Grisham I’ve purchased. And the last Stephen King I’ve read took me forever. It came to a point when I was forcing myself to read. All sentences register blankly. My mind keeps floating somewhere else as I leaf through pages. I had to read each and every word aloud just for me to understand what I was reading. It’s that bad.

Because of this malady, I have to disappoint quite a lot of people. And that includes Manila-based theater group Tinik ng Teatro (TNT), The Quezon Province Heritage Council (QPHC), our country’s militant Hispanic community, my family, and most especially myself.

The dream of every writer is to have at least one book published in their lifetime.  I almost had that opportunity a few years ago, but nothing came out of it (prior to that, I was already hurting when a magazine opportunity went pfffft). That is why, out of sheer desperation, I accepted Tinik ng Teatro’s invitation three months ago to write a coffee table book about its colorful history. I should have declined considering the fact that I have already committed myself to the San Pedro City Historical Council (SPCHC), and that my personal troubles were already seeping in. Because of that, I couldn’t accomplish the task without affecting its quality, something I abhor. To make matters more difficult, I’m still a prisoner of wage slavery. I work the night shift for a multinational conglomerate in shifting schedules, usually at night. I hate what I’m doing there, the hoary people I’m with, but I had to because it’s my only bread and butter. With five kids to feed and a wife who has left employment to become a full-time mom, you could just imagine the travails of an ambitious writer with patriotic tendencies.

Speaking of patriotism, I could’t keep pace anymore with the members of the QPHC. Not wanting to treat it merely as a social club that I could swagger around to people’s faces, I had really wanted to contribute more to its vision and mission, but I just couldn’t because of my abnormal office schedule. I volunteered to that group’s president that I will blog about its events. But even in that simple task I failed.

And then there’s my family’s financial status that has been bugging me each time I attempt to write something. We’ve been in terrible financial straits ever since my wife was forced to stop going to work (don’t let my family’s out-of-town trips fool you into thinking that we’re well-off than you). With our debts ballooning, we eventually lost the house we’ve mortgaged eight years ago, adding to my vexations. This financial pressure is one reason why I couldn’t even pay my dues with QPHC. Hilarious.

I was once active in the struggle to have the Spanish language brought back to the Filipino mainstream. Any article I encounter online degrading our Filipino History, one that is based on our Hispanic identity, would have immediately received an online beating from me. I take joy and pride that many in our “clique”, including one well-known constitutionalist, have considered me as Señor Guillermo Gómez‘s successor. Of course there is no person living today who can replace let alone duplicate what Señor Gómez had done for the country, but words like that was an additional motivation for me to carry on the national identity struggle with much gusto. But with the way things have been going in my mind lately, that will seem highly unlikely anymore. I’ve been quiet for a long time in that quixotic struggle, anyway.

So to TNT, QPHC, and to the Hispanic community, I would like to apologize for letting you all down. Feel free to curse at me. I deserve it, really.

Lest I forget, I just came off a two-week physical therapy to treat my reflex neurovascular dystrophy. This painful condition has been been giving me severe discomfort whenever I sit down and use the keyboard and mouse even for just a few minutes. This has been going on for the past few years which started to worsen about two years ago. Unfortunately, PT didn’t work. My hands, fingers, forearms, arms, shoulder, armpits, and upper back are is till in total pain even as I write this sorry blogpost. So just imagine the kind of hell my body goes through each and every time I buckle down on my office cubicle for a lonely eight-hour night shift surrounded by annoying schleppers and the most unbearable philistines who don’t have an inkling as to the root cause of why we’re all there in the first place.

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Me in EDSA on my way to work.

The preceding paragraph reminds of what I believe is the worst contributor to my sorry mental state: my shifting night schedule as a wage slave. I’ve been a clock-punching night shifter for more than a decade already, having been employed in various companies; I didn’t fare well in all of them and have had issues. Not that I care, but my heart simply doesn’t belong to employment (“I am not like them. I am divine. I was meant to work with my intellect, not with my hand. I sweat aesthetically, but since they do not see, they think I am a sloth,” says José García Villa). I just had to do it because of my family. And for the past five years, I’ve been facing EDSA’s horrendous traffic, sometimes waiting for the world to die inside a bus for three hours just to get to the office (there’s no freaking way you’ll be able to make me take the more vicious MRT). Unfortunately, such a routine has taken a severe toll on both mind and body to the point that I no longer wake up without a headache, nor could I sleep six hours straight. And whenever I’m awake, I feel sleepy most of the time and feel dreamy and teary eyed at the sight of the afternoon sun. There are times when I just sit on the bathroom floor after a tiring shift, thinking of all those things that I needed to write but couldn’t because of my circumstances, so I end up helplessly and unconsciously chuckling alone, the echoes of my snickers bouncing off creepily against the tiles, with showers of water streaming down my face… or were those tears?

Maintaining three blogs, nay, struggling to keep awake just to read and write has become an inoperative endeavor through the years. With ideas piling up every day but without enough time for me to channel them out resulted into stress which in turn led to frustration. They’re all dammed up right there (points to the temple), but they couldn’t get out. My tired mind feels like an empty glass pitcher that’s been gradually filling up with water, then placed inside a freezer until it freezes and expands, breaking the pitcher in the process.

Taking into account all of the above and mixing them all up together, the result is a mind that has been sapped of its verve to write. Creativity has been stymied. All that is left is frustration. Whatever creative wittiness, spunk, or humor I may have had in the past, they’re all gone.

How I miss those days when I could blog several times in a month. There were even times when I could blog almost every day. They may not be of top quality compared to other seasoned writers/bloggers, but the point is that I was productive compared to today. I still want to write about so many things. In fact, I’ve been cooking up some short fiction, but couldn’t even continue beyond character development. Several blogposts have already been lined up for this blog and my two other blogs, but they continue to remain in the back burner because of the above-mentioned reasons (excuses?). I could no longer remember the last time I wrote poetry. No rhyme. No verse. Not even the blank type.

Shucks, I just couldn’t go on like this anymore.

Both my ambition and status have consumed me. In order to save myself, all that I yearn for now is a permanent vacation, with trees and flowers, crisp-cold rivers amidst cold a mountain air, perhaps a touch of morning sea breeze…

And fireflies at night.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

I have come to a point in my life when I could no longer believe in myself. I now doubt my abilities and even question myself what I really wanted to do in my life. To my ego’s delight, I was once tagged as a budding young historian. But that was long ago. Looking back, I find that all laughable. Hilarious even. How can I be an efficient historian when I am wasting whatever skills I may have in an office cubicle each and every freaking night for the past decade when I should be connected in the academe and doing more research? I couldn’t even find time to answer that proud online historian who thinks that he is right and the likes of Nick Joaquín and León Mª Guerrero, who both had lived in a Filipino tradition he had never experienced, are wrong. But I’m done with arguing online. Years of doing that with Hispanophobes brought me nor my advocacy nowhere. I see no hope for this fight in sight. Even Claro M. Recto’s motivation to struggle for the good cause (ha de amar la lucha por el puro placer de luchar) now feel like dead leaves falling slowly to the ground. I am sorry.

Working in the academe or applying for a newspaper job is no longer an option considering the fact that I have five children to raise. I’m not from a rich family. I’ve been on my own since I’ve become a young dad of two kids and I’ve never depended on anyone, not even on my parents whose espousal I couldn’t even save (and that adds more to my anxieties). The study of history is not a trifle matter. It is certainly not a hobby. Like all forms of art, it requires full attention and concentration, inspiration even, especially since much of what is written about our history is a farce. Historical research requires constant care and passionate patience, much akin to the construction of beguiling verses. I used to practice that while alternating between office work or helping out in day-to-day household chores, something I could no longer continue doing because of the above-mentioned reasons. I’m so burnt out already.

No, I do not blame my family. No one can deny that I care for them so much. That is why I’m doing this. I choose them over my dreams.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

In a poem, Manuel Bernabé wrote that if you have left your dreams behind and your passion is dead, you are old (…si has renunciado al vuelo de tu quimera en flor… y se ha apagado el fuego de tu última esperanza… entonces, eres viejo). Then so be it. I am old. But for the record, I have given up on writing…

…because it’s writing that has given up on me. Why should I continue courting a damsel who does not love me?

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

I am now closing this blog. For good. My other blog will follow soon. Because of our debts, I’ve been wanting to shut down my family’s travel blog too but my wife said no. It’s for our children’s childhood memories, she said. Besides, traveling is part of their education. She is correct. Besides, they have to see for themselves whatever beauty is left of the countryside before this country completely goes whack. So from now on, my wife will handle that blog (just bear with her, please, coz she’s not a writer). What I cannot leave behind at the moment is the SPCHC because of two things: I still have a contract with them, and I owe the family of Mayor Baby Catáquiz quite a lot for helping me out when my wife had a life-threatening childbirth two years ago. I still have one more project to accomplish with the SPCHC. But after that, I’m through.

To the very few people who have been following this blog, I am sorry. And thank you. I will not delete this blog. I’ll just let it stay here online to rot, and to remind everyone that failure and losers are a stark reality. If I may add, I am specifically drawn towards Marvel’s Jessica Jones TV series which I have just finished watching with my three boys. Jessica once tried it out as a superhero but ended up like me — a failure (we are both of us pieces of sh*t). And what Jim Carrey in the film Bruce Almighty had said was very apt for myself. To paraphrase him: “I’m pushing forty, and what have I got to show for it? I’ve hit some kind of a ceiling here. There’s an anti-Pepe barrier I can’t get pass.”

But no, I do not mean to discourage, nor do I beg for pity. I am just exposing a sickening truth to the much-accepted fantasy that “all dreams do come true, just don’t give up”. That is not true. God knows how hard I have been trying to do that. You may go ahead and say that I never fought hard enough — despite my revelations in this final blogpost, you still don’t know nor do you feel what exactly I’m going through. I did struggle to achieve my dreams. Countless times. But there’s a barrier that I just couldn’t pass. And that barrier’s made of steel. I’m just flesh and blood. I’ve given up on this world. We’re not going to be here forever, anyway. This life is just a phase. I’ll just focus on how to get my family go through this difficult phase as safely and as happily as possible…

I really don’t ask for much. Just a chance to have my wife and children go through life with the least physical pain. That isn’t much to ask, is it? But in this bloody country, when a millionaire has a cold he goes right away to a fancy clinic in New York. And me, I can’t even afford to have my head examined.
—F Sionil Jose (through Godo in “The Pretenders”)—

So, if I do not mean to discourage, then what? I guess the moral of my sob story is this:

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Also, sacrifices had to be made. No matter how I’m repulsed to being an employee rather than following my heart, I cannot give it up. It’s for my family. I have to choose family over anything else. One just cannot have everything in the world.

To my only true friends in the world (Arnaldo and Señor Gómez), I am sorry for failing you. I just can’t do this anymore. Lo siento mucho.

So what’s next for me after blogging/writing? I don’t know. They say ignorance is bliss, so I might as well go towards that path. But as much as possible, I will stay away from social media (I have not been using my Facebook account that much, anyway; you’ll see nothing in my Twitter account but weird AlDub tweets, and I’ll be inactive there after my 37th birthday). Maybe contact some old friends and hang out, and try to act like an ordinary mortal. I’ll stop thinking too much. Just happy thoughts. If there’s one thing I’m sure of right now, it’s this: my family will never turn our backs to the much-hated truth that has already been ingrained to our souls: that we Filipinos are Hispanic, and we manifest that identity through our Catholic faith.

Will I ever go back to writing? Well, reading and writing are two things that I really love doing. But with the state of mind and body that I am in right now, I couldn’t tell. So it’s maybe or maybe not.

I’ll just let God lead me the way.

Gracias y adiós.

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Meet our presidential runners-up

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During the aftermath of presidential elections, most especially when the oath-taking of a new president has taken place, we seldom hear from the runners-up ever again, unless they opt to remain active in politics. But only a few of these second-placers were able to revive their political careers especially since losing in a presidential bid is the most devastating defeat of all political aspirations. In the recently concluded elections last May 9, Manuel “Mar” Roxas ended up as second string to popular Rodrigo Duterte. In this blogpost, we feature those who could’ve been presidents of Filipinas throughout our Republican history… if only fate —or the voters— had been kinder.

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From Bonifacio to Roxas.

 

ANDRÉS BONIFACIO General Emilio Aguinaldo declared himself “El Presidente de Filipinas on 12 June 1898. Prior to this, he had already assumed leadership of the rebel forces that were trying to wrest the country from Spain. However, history has taught us that he became the rebels’ undisputed leader only after the controversial Katipunan convention which was held in Barrio Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabón, Cavite. The convention sought to consolidate the already fractured rebellion against Spain by deciding upon its leaders through an election. As theirs was a rebellion, only Katipunan members were allowed to vote. Of the 256 voters, 146 (57.03%) chose Aguinaldo over Bonifacio who only got 80 votes (31.25%). A third candidate, Mariano Trías, received 30 votes (11.72%). At the end of the proceedings, Trías ended up as Aguinaldo’s Vice Presidente while Bonifacio became Director del Interior. The rest, as we are now wont to say, is history.

EMILIO AGUINALDO Years after disappearing from the limelight, Aguinaldo participated in the US-sponsored presidential elections of 1935 (September 16) which was to determine the leaders of the newly established Commonwealth of the Philippines. He lost to Manuel Quezon, garnering only 179,349 of the total number of votes cast (17.54%) against latter’s 695,332 votes (67.99%). By the time Aguinaldo ran, he was already considered by many as an old guard, a beaten-down warrior from another era. There were whisperings that he was, in fact, under house arrest and was merely given as prey for Quezon, already a US favorite, to be pounced upon especially since national elections were still in its “experimental phase” (it should be noted that the 1935 elections were the first nationwide at-large election ever held in our country’s history). Others who didn’t make it were renegade priest Gregorio Aglípay (148,010 votes or 14.47%) and Pascual Racuyal (158 votes or 0.00%), our country’s original nuisance candidate.

JUAN SUMÚLONG The presidential elections of 1941 (November 11) was still under the US-sponsored Commonwealth of the Philippines. President Quezon sought for another term. A sickly Juan Sumúlong, the great-grandfather of outgoing President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, challenged Quezon but only got 298,608 votes (18.22% of the total number of votes cast) against the reelectionist’s 1,340,320 (81.78%). He died two months after his defeat. Had he won, he would’ve been the first Filipino journalist to have become president. Another contender, Hilario Moncado, didn’t receive a single vote, the first presidential candidate in our history to have received such a pathetic feat.

SERGIO OSMEÑA Quezon’s second term was put to a halt when the Japanese invaded the country during World War II. Actually, his government went in to exile while José Laurel took over the country as president of a Japanese-sponsored republic. After the war and the defeat of the Japanese, the US was all set to grant Filipinas its much-sought independence. On 23 April 1946, national elections were held to determine major governmental positions, from the presidency all the way to local government units. Sergio Osmeña was then the president, having replaced Quezon who had died while in exile (he served as Vice President under Quezon). Challenging him was then Senate President Manuel Roxas who had just formed the Partido Liberal and had full support from the US. During the campaign period, only Roxas was visible; Osmeña was busy helping his constituents who were still suffering from the ravages of war. The result: Roxas received 1,333,392 (53.94%) of the total votes. But Osmeña wasn’t too far behind with 1,129,996 (45.71%) of the votes. Nuisance candidate Moncado gave it another run, but only received 8,538 votes (0.35%).

JOSÉ P. LAUREL Roxas was not able to complete his term as he had died of a heart attack in 1948. Replacing him was Vice President Elpidio Quirino. Quirino decided to continue his presidency by joining the 1949 presidential elections (November 8). Challenging him were former president Laurel and Senator José Avelino. Quirino won another mandate when he got 1,803,808 (50.93%) of the votes. Laurel and Avelino received 1,318,330 (37.22%) and 419,890 (11.85%), respectively. This was the second time that a former non-elected president ran for the highest office of the land (the first was Aguinaldo). In addition, the 1949 elections was the only time when the duly elected president, vice president and senators all come from the same party (Liberal Party).

ELPIDIO QUIRINO The 1950s belonged to Defense Secretary Ramón Magsaysay, already popular by thwarting the Communist threat, particularly the Hukbalahap movement. He was already a shoo-in for the 1953 elections. The result was overwhelming: 2,912,992 (68.90%) of the total votes cast went to him while Quirino got 1,313,991 votes (31.08%). Joining the race was Gaudencio Bueno, a political unknown who received only a total of 736 (0.02%) votes. Carlos García was the Vice President during Magsaysay’s term.

JOSÉ YULO The 1957 presidential elections marked the first time in our history where a president was elected by a plurality rather than a majority because seven people —including legendary poet and nationalist Claro M. Recto— aspired for the position. It was also the first time when the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates came from different parties. García was already president during this time, replacing Magsaysay who had died in a plane crash. He decided to run for a full term and won. He got 2,072,257 (41.28%) of the votes; Retired Chief Justice José Yulo ended up second place with 1,386,829 (27.62%) votes; Manuel Manahan, head of Magsaysay’s Presidential Complaints and Action Commission, ended up third with 1,049,420 (20.90%) votes; at fourth place was Senator Recto who received 429,226 (8.55%); Judge Antonio Quirino, brother of former president Quirino, garnered 60,328 (1.20%); cult leader Valentín de los Santos got 21,674 (0.43%), and; US annexationist leader Alfredo Abcede got 470 (0.01%). Had Yulo won this election, he would have been our first president who had become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

CARLOS P. GARCÍA Dubbed as “The Poor Man From Lubao”, Diosdado Macapagal won the 1961 presidential elections with 3,554,840 (55.05%) while reelectionist President García followed not so far behind with 2,902,996 votes (44.95%). Others who joined this contest were never got more than 10 votes each. These were Abcede with 8 votes, Germán Villanueva and Gregorio Llanza with 2 each, and Praxedes Floro with 0. Floro became the second presidentiable to have received a zero vote, after Moncado. After his loss, García retired as an ordinary citizen though he made a brief appearance a decade later when he was elected as a delegate to the Marcos regime’s 1971 Constitutional Convention. He died of a heart attack days after his election.

DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL The 1965 presidential elections were participated in by 12 aspirants, the most for a presidential election by that time. Among the candidates was President Macapagal. Despite the number of candidates, his fiercest rival was then Senate President Ferdinand Marcos of the Partido Nacionalista. Marcos popularized himself by claiming that he was a World War II hero, a claim that is now contested. On election day, Marcos garnered 3,861,324 (51.94%) votes, deposing Macapagal who received 3,187,752 942 (88%) votes. Third place was Raúl Manglapus who got 384,564 (5.17%) votes. The rest were considered nuisance candidates: Gaudencio Bueno with 199 votes; Aniceto Hidalgo with 156; Segundo Baldovi with 139; Nic Garcés got 130 votes; a returning Villanueva improved with 106; Guillermo Mercado and Antonio Nicolás, Jr. garnered 27 votes each; Blandino Ruan got 6, and; Floro finally received 1 vote after receiving none on his first try four years earlier. The nuisance candidates thus shared 0.01% of the total number of votes cast. Macapagal retired from politics after his loss, returned in 1971 to become the president of a constitutional convention, and eventually became a vocal critic against the Marcos dictatorship, even publishing a book against the strongman.

SERGIO OSMEÑA, JR. The 1969 presidential elections saw Marcos winning for a second term, the only presidentiable to do so. He got 5,017,343 (61.47%) votes against Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr.’s 3,143,122 (38.51%) votes. Serging filed for an electoral protest citing massive cheating. The protest dragged on for years but was rendered moot with the declaration of Martial Law. Third place was Racuyal with 778 votes (0.01%). Others who participated, also sharing 0.01% of the total number of votes cast, were as follows: Baldovi with 177 votes; Pantaleón Panelo with 123 votes; Villanueva with 82; Bueno with 44;  Ángel Comagón got 35; César Bulacán with 31, and; Espiridión Buencamino, Garces, and Benilo José got 23 each. Osmeña, Jr. subsequently retired and died of a heart attack in 1984. He was the second Osmeña to have placed second in a presidential elections.

CORAZÓN AQUINO The 1986 presidential elections proved to be the weirdest in history because it was the only time when the second placer in the presidential polls became president.  It was an election called earlier than expected (“snap elections”) as Marcos, who still had more than a year left on his term, was facing an escalating public discontent borne out of his declaration of Martial Law and was under pressure from foreign allies, particularly from the US. While Marcos received the most number of votes: 10,807,197 (53.62%) against Cory Aquino’s 9,291,716 (46.10%), allegations of massive cheating from the camp of Benigno Aquino’s widow, as well as the ensuing coup d’état led by AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile (a long story which I assume all of you already know), resulted in his ousting. Others who participated were Reubén Canoy who got 34,041 (0.17%) votes, and Narciso Padilla  who got 23,652 (0.12%).

MIRIAM DEFENSOR de SANTIAGO The feisty lady from Iloílo was leading the 1992 presidential elections for the first five days. But on the sixth day, she was was overtaken by Ramos who was fresh from his stint as Cory’s Secretary of Defense. In the end, Ramos won with 5,342,521 votes (23.58%)  against Santiago’s 4,468,173 (19.72%). They were followed by Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. with 4,116,376 votes (18.17%), Ramón Mitra, Jr. with 3,316,661 (14.64%), Imelda Marcos with 2,338,294 (10.32%), Jovito Salonga with 2,302,123 (10.16%), and Salvador Laurel with 770,046 (3.40%). Losing by only a margin of 874,348 votes, Santiago filed an electoral protest citing power outages in several voting precincts. But the protest went nowhere. She participated in two more presidential elections: the one in 1998 which was one by Joseph Estrada and this year’s elections won by Duterte. But she was no longer as popular as she used to be in 1992. After Cory, Santiago was the second lady presidentiable who ended up second place in a presidential election. The difference is that Cory ended up as president.

JOSÉ DE VENECIA Vice President Joseph Ejército Estrada won in a landslide victory with 10,722,295 votes (39.86%) against rival José de Venecia’s 4,268,483 votes (15.87%) in the 1998 presidential elections. Third place was Raúl Roco with 3,720,212 votes (13.83%). They were all followed by: Emilio Osmeña (former President Osmeña’s grandson) with 3,347,631 votes (12.44%); Alfredo Lim with 2,344,362 votes (8.71%); Renato de Villa with 1,308,352 votes (4.86%); Santiago’s second try got her only 797,206 votes (2.96%); Juan Ponce Enrile received 343,139 votes (1.28%); Santiago Dumláo got 32,212 (0.12%), and; Manuel Morató, who ran simply as an irritanto to Erap’s presidential campaign, got 18,644 votes (0.07%). Erap, however, was not able to complete his term when he was ousted by another EDSA revolt. Replacing him in controversial fashion was his Vice President, Gloria Macapagal de Arroyo, who was mandated by the Supreme Court to complete the remaining term for Erap (up to 2004). Erap was eventually imprisoned, tried, and sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. He was later pardoned by Arroyo. Many people though, believe that his trial and sentencing was a farce.

FERNANDO POE, JR. Though an effective and highly productive leader, President Arroyo proved to be highly unpopular because of the fact that she was never voted to the presidency. Challenging her at the 2004 presidential elections was Erap’s best friend: movie legend Fernando Poe, Jr., known throughout the country as FPJ. FPJ’s popularity was more enormous compared to Erap’s. However, Arroyo still won with 12,905,808 (39.99%). FPJ trailed not very far behind with 11,782,232 votes (36.51%). Because of the small lead, allegations of cheating naturally followed. The allegations proved to be true after all when, on the following year, audio recordings of a phone conversation between Arroyo and then Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, allegedly talking about the rigging of the 2004 national election results, were released to the public. But nothing came out of it because Arroyo was saved by her allies in congress from an impeachment case. Other candidates in this elections were: Pánfilo Lacson with 3,510,080 votes (10.88%); Roco with 2,082,762 votes (6.45%) on his second try, and; cult leader Eddie Villanueva with 1,988,218 votes (6.16%). Had FPJ won, he would have been the second film actor to have been president. He died later that year due to complications from a stroke.

JOSEPH EJÉRCITO ESTRADA It was expected to be a three-way fight between Noynoy, businessman-Senator Manuel Villar, and Arroyo’s annointed one, Gilberto Teodoro.  But the results of the 2010 presidential elections proved to be surprising when a dark horse emerged. That dark horse was none other than former President Erap who got 9,487,837 (26.25%) of the total number of votes cast. But still, 15,208,678 voters (42.08%) sent Noynoy to the presidency. Nevertheless, his victory was later deemed by political analysts to be the result of sympathy voting because his mother, former President Cory Aquino, had just died of cancer a few months prior to the elections. Following Erap was Villar who got 5,573,835 votes (15.42%). The administration’s standard bearer, Teodoro, ended up fourth place with 4,095,839 votes (11.33%). Rounding up the rest of the candidates were: cult leader Villanueva, on his second attempt, received 1,125,878 votes (3.12%); outgoing Senator Richard Gordon got 501,727 votes (1.39%); sustainable development activist Nicanor Perlas got 54,575 votes (0.15%); outgoing Senator Jamby Madrigal received 46,489 (0.13%), and; John Carlos de los Reyes, the youngest among the candidates, received 44,244 (0.12%).

MANUEL “MAR” ROXAS From the get-go, Duterte was already a shoo-in for the presidency. The tough-talking mayor from Daváo City got a huge 16,601,997 votes (39.01%) while Mar received only 9,978,175 (23.45%). Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of former movie legend and presidentiable FPJ, received 9,100,991 (21.39%) of the total number of votes cast. At fourth place with 5,416,140 votes (12.73%) was Vice President Jejomar Binay who suffered from his very first electoral lost. Veteran presidentiable Santiago was at the tail end with only 1,455,532 votes (3.42%). Had Mar won this one, he would have been the second Roxas to become president. After Mar’s emotional speech while conceding to Duterte last May 10, the last time we heard of him was he was having a burger.

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