COMELEC'S second division has ordered a recount of votes in the Cebu City 2016 elections for mayor,saying it found ex-mayor Michael Rama's protest "sufficient in form and substance."
Rama deems it "an early Christmas gift," saying he is "pleased." And he proclaims, "God is good," an affirmation of faith that, as gauge of individual happiness, depends upon whether Mike uses it only on large miracles or for every breath he takes.
Mike's rival Tomas Osmeña says he has left it to his lawyers and counsel Gregorio Larrazabal expectedly downplays it: "just procedural."
One step in a long staircase that may not lead to heaven (protest is won) and, if he does win, may not get him there (term expires). Consider:
-- The protest also carries a counter-protest. Recount won't be just of Rama votes but also of Osmena votes;
-- The same grounds are cited in both protest and counter-protest, namely, malfunction of VCMs or vote counting machines; ballots for Rama or Rama not counted by VCMs; "net gains" and "net losses" wrongly credited in clustered precincts; widespread substitution of votes and massive vote-buying.
-- If manual count of 20 per cent of the ballots justifies a full recount, the new tally won't just involve reading of names voted for; allegations on tampered or faulty VCMs as well as "massive" vote-buying are litigated.
No romp in the park. And with all protests of many other aggrieved contenders across the nation, with the appeals on disputed legal issues raised to the courts, it could take forever.
Yet it's not a loss for Rama, Making one step in his climb, when he could've been struck down, is not defeat.
Independent watchers though can't help note the futility of election protest. It doesn't expose and punish the cheater and, often, it just shows that one cheated more skillfully than the other.