As the votes start to get tallied for one of the biggest elections in Philippine history, Filipinos are already in an uproar over the projected results. The second place position of the convicted plunderer and ousted president, Joseph Estrada, in the presidential race has people all over the country scratching their heads in sheer incredulity. And though the predicted landslide victory of Noynoy Aquino has some in rapture, others have been overtaken by pessimism, with the impending defeat of their bets. In the face of seemingly bleak prospects, Filipinos once again turn to God.
While the Appointed Son of God Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s “next president” continues to slip in the polls and the hope of the Evangelical right wing, Eddie Villanueva, braces for another multimillion peso rout, prayers still continue to stream from people hoping that the Creator of the entire universe will make good on the promises they had imagined made to them. To be fair, the Lord of all seems to have delivered good news to the Iglesia Ni Cristo in spades.
Incompetent candidates seem to have flooded the top ranks of the election results and there is no other way to rectify this situation with an omnibenevolent God than to say that “He has a plan” — the glorious exemplar of non-thinking that appears at the end of every wild theodicean goose chase.
“Lord, Ikaw na bahala.”
“Jesus, take care of the Philippines”
“I will accept the will of God.”
These are some professions of faith one would find through a cursory look at a Facebook or Twitter feed as we wait for the final results from COMELEC. Apart from a classic depiction of the Filipino at a loss, grasping for any semblance of control, however illusory, these prayers are thinly-veiled admonishments by the religious against people who didn’t follow their will. Behind the ostensible humility portrayed by each of these declarations is a believer bewildered and disappointed that their focused psychic intentions appear to have no sway over the direction of the universe.
Prayer permits people to think that they are doing everything in their power to turn the tide without leaving the election coverage on television. Faith that, whatever happens, God will work things out in the end has replaced critical thought and activism. It has allowed people to compromise on platforms and ideologies in favor of celebrity and facade. For as long as people rely on the year-round Santa Claus to fix everything, we will remain mired in the society that we deserve — one with Congressman Manny Pacquiao on the floor of the House of Representatives.