Two Quick Takes on Holy Week

As I write this column, the country is deep into its observance of Holy Week. It’s Maundy Thursday, which roughly corresponds to the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper in the canonical gospels. This will then proceed to Good Friday, which marks the passion and death of Christ; Holy Saturday, which coincides with his temporary burial in a cave tomb; and finally, Easter Sunday marks his resurrection.

Campaigning is prohibited on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. As such, those two days represent a suspension of political time- a brief period when partisan fever is set aside for Filipinos to observe “high spirituality”.

However, the ban on campaigning will be lifted by Holy Saturday. For those so inclined, it would be an opportune time to talk to family members about the elections. After all, many families will be together during this time. It will be worth remembering that- according to a September 2021 Pulse Asia survey- 45% of Filipinos see family and relatives as a source of news. 37% also see friends and acquaintances similarly.

Speaking of resurrections, it appears that the Marcos family is due for one if the surveys are to be believed. In the decisive final month of the campaign, candidate Bongbong Marcos retains a massive 30-point lead over his closest rival, Vice-President Leni Robredo. Robredo spoiled Marcos’ campaign for higher office in 2016. But without her “fresh” image and the Liberal Party machinery in this year’s elections, Robredo is struggling to cut into Marcos’ lead.

A Bongbong victory in May would be bittersweet. His inauguration would take place just three months before the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. And it would be roughly two decades since the division of the Solid North in the 1992 Presidential elections between Imelda Marcos, Danding Cojuangco, and Fidel Ramos.

The opposition should brace themselves for such a scenario. For one, most of their stalwarts would face exile: Vice-President Robredo and Senator Drilon are both likely to retire. Senator Pangilinan has forfeited his election bid. In the Senate race, only Risa Hontiveros somewhat close to the “Magic 12”, while Antonio Trillanes IV, Leila De Lima, and Chel Diokno remain far behind.

To quote the Lord as he knelt in Gethsemane: “If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, Your will be done!”

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