A few weeks ago, Philippine News endorsed the candidacies of a dozen men and women whom we believed would become assets in the Senate of our beloved motherland.
We knew back then that they would all be facing long odds, given that they were mostly identified with the political opposition.
They had precious little funds, no political machinery to speak of, and none were inclined to resort to cheating or cheap political gimmicky in order to win.
What they were banking on was the support of an active group of 100,000 mostly young volunteers, as well as faith in the Filipino electorate being mature enough to make intelligent choices.
Perhaps this is where they failed. The Philippine electorate has not reached that level yet. Elections, especially for national posts, are still a matter of popularity over substance.
We did not endorse the Otso Deretso because they were oppositionists, but because they were all individually far superior to the official candidates of the Duterte administration. That line up included some of the most unworthy candidates to ever run for the upper house of the bicameral Congress, including two of three past senators who had been charged and imprisoned for their role in the infamous pork barrel scandal, as well as an ex-senator whose record as a senator was virtually non-existent.
At least two of the three senators involved in the PDAF scandal did not make it to the Magic 12. This offers us some comfort, at least.
But clearly the administration could have done better. It saddened us no end to witness the Duterte administration choosing candidates who, save for a handful, were popular but not qualified.
We do not regret our decision to endorse our choices.
Except for two, all of our endorsed bets lost. The two winners are Pia Cayetano and Sonny Angara, who return to the Senate bearing a past record of accomplishment, and a willingness to support laws that may be unpopular but necessary for the country to move forward. To them we offer our congratulations. A third, Bam Aquino, may or may not make it, as the final count will not be known until next week. We keep our fingers crossed for him.
We must add, however, that there have been some bothersome reports regarding the conduct of the May 13 elections that indicate the possibility that cheating had occurred, perhaps on a massive enough scale to affect the final tally.
For one, the so-called transparency server of the Commission on Elections suddenly stopped sending results in what was supposed to be the middle of the count. Worst, the Comelec could not offer a rational explanation for the failure.
Also, the graphs indicating the results from all provinces showed no fluctuations, which is highly improbable given that Filipinos usually vote along provincial lines. Bets from a certain province would always get more votes than non-provincemates running for the same position. One mathematician even called the graphs statistically impossible.
Finally, hundreds of voting machines nationwide failed although they had been cleared two weeks before the elections.
So what gives? We do not know. All we know is that the mid-term elections are over in the Philippines, and most of the winners have been declared.
We can only pray that most of them will be true public servants, placing the needs of the country above self. But if the majority turn out to be corrupt or incompetent, then God help the Philippines.