‘Standing by the road’

‘Standing by the road’

President-elect Bongbong Marcos was showered with red roses up the stage by die-hard supporters during a provincial sortie by UniTeam in Koronadal, South Cotabato a month before the May 9 poll

Earlier this week, during the canvassing of votes by the Senate and the House of Representatives, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, we had the impression that Vice President Leni Robredo, through counsel Romulo Macalintal, was conceding defeat to presumptive President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Macalintal, who ran for the Senate in 2019 but lost, manifested on Robredo’s behalf that her camp would not be putting up a fight at the Congress canvassing of votes.

Macalintal manifested publicly that they would not object to the inclusion of all certificates of canvass validated by Congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers.

The 75-year-old lawyer, an alumnus of the University of the East, also said they – the Robredo camp – would be waiving their appearance before the joint session of Congress where they were canvassing votes for president and vice president.

Underlining his manifestation, Macalintal referred to speeches made by Robredo – far as we know still in the United States – past midnight after election day on May 9 and during her thanksgiving rally.

In that rally, she called on supporters to listen to the voice of the majority.

Macalintal quoted Robredo’s original in Tagalog which, translated, would read thusly: While the picture is getting clearer, we need to start accepting that the results of the election are not in accordance with our dreams.

Marcos’ spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez and has since been nominated to be the president-elect’s Executive Secretary, praised, quick like some thunderclap, the 57-year-old Robredo for a display of what he described as patriotism after recognizing the results of the 2022 presidential elections.

Likely that he got the impression Robredo, through Macalintal, had in fact conceded defeat.

According to Merriam Webster, to concede means to acknowledge grudgingly or hesitantly, or to accept as true, valid, or accurate.

Macalintal concluded his manifestation by reciting the second stanza of Berton Braley’s (1882-1966), which we found a sincere gesture – of concession – on Robredo’s part.

The second stanza of The Prayer of the Sportsman reads: And if I should win, let it be by the code/ With my faith and my honor held high;/ And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,/ And cheer as the winners go by.//

Beautiful and worth quoting indeed. For the second stanza means the winning should be in the correct manner, and if the game is lost then we should cheer the winners – and if Macalintal’s manifestation were to be given weight, the language can be submitted.

Clearly, the poet – in this case Robredo through her lawyer Macalintal – wants to shout only tributes and good things and no slanders or abuses. Even if she has lost the game, she wants the strength and courage to smile and be happy for the winning party and if she wins it she wants to win by her merit and skills and not by unfair means.

In the final and official tally, on which Robredo’s camp did not interpose any objection, Marcos garnered 31,629,783 votes or 58.77 percent of the total votes cast, more than double the 15,035,773 votes cast for Robredo.

But wait.

Like us, and presumably Marcos’ spokesman, many interpreted Macalintal’s manifestation as Robredo’s conceding defeat to Marcos, who scored a landslide win in such election since 1969 when his father, Ferdinand Sr., ran for re-election in 1969 as allowed by the 1935 Constitution, beat the Liberal Party standard-bearer Sergio Osmena, Jr. of Cebu.

A columnist of the yellow-supportive The Philippine Star asked Macalintal in a text message after the lawyer’s manifestation before the National Board of Canvassers.

Macalintal, asked if Robredo had in fact conceded, said “I did not say Leni concedes – I merely read her statement she ‘accepts majority’s decision.’” The majority here obviously refers to the 31 million plus voters who chose Marcos.

Pressed by the columnist if Robredo conceded. Macalintal was quoted as saying, “Not lost but accepts the results – she did not lose. It was the people who lost her.”

Somewhere in the text exchange, we lost the credible sight of the sportsman Macalintal had quoted.


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