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How to Prepare to Accept the May 9 Election Results

In case you candidate doesn't win.
by Clara Rosales
Just now
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Three days before Election Day, Vice President Leni Robredo sought to calm nervous supporters sayting that no matter the outcome, the important thing is that its campaign well fought. 

It's that feeling of anxiety and stress that has gripped Filipinos across all political colors with so much at stake in an election that has sowed so much hate and division. That worrying feeling is real, but the reality that comes after is just as sobering: accepting the results.

“Eto na kasi yung chance ko, chance natin to choose someone who can lead us to a better country. Six years din kasi nakasalalay dito. Pagod na kasi tayong lahat, we just want change. Pati friends ko dati na walang pake, pumila to register to vote,” Jing, a 20-something first-time voter said. All her older relatives are also registered to vote.

“Wala na akong kilalang former classmates or friends na hindi pa registered to vote,” she added. The Commission on Elections recorded 63 million registered voters as of Sept. 11, 2021, exceeding its goal of 60 million registered voters.

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NEWS YOU CAN USE: Elections 2022: Everything You Need to Know About Voting on May 9

There’s a lot at stake for a nation struggling to recover from the financial tolls of a global pandemic. It’s been two years of lockdowns, resignations, and mental health problems and Filipinos want change after everything that’s happened.

Gen Z will be voting for the first time, alongside once-apathetic first-timers who renewed the registration or finally registered after years of skipping elections.

EXPLAINER: Inside Youth Volunteers' Fight for Leni-Kiko, 'It's Now or Never'

Results have to be trustworthy

Accepting the election results begins with trust. According to the Kofi Annan policy brief titled "Confidence in elections and the acceptance of results,’ “The basis for public trust is shaped by the broader political context in which elections take place, not just by the quality of the electoral process itself.”

“A genuine election is ultimately one in which the outcome reflects the freely expressed choices of the people,” according to the study.

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ALSO READ: Dirty Tricks Allegations Mar Last Days of Election Campaign

Allegations of fraud has long hounded Philippine elections from the 1986 snap vote that served as one the catalysts of Corazon Aquino's ascent to the presidency to the "Hello Garci" wiretaps of 2004 that purportedly showed how then President Gloria Arroyo used her influence to ensure that she got a second term.

“The higher the stakes in an election, the greater the possibility that results may be mistrusted or challenged,” the brief said.

Election losers can question results, which could lose momentum over time or drag on in the form of a formal protest. In 2020, former U.S. President Donald Trump refused to accept defeat against democrat bet Joe Biden. Trump said it was “far from over'' despite the final count.

Before their 2022 rematch, Bongbong Marcos fought five years to nullify Leni Robredo's victory as vice president, which ended in the Supreme Court upholding Robredo's win.

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How to accept the results

Life goes on

It’s important to remember that life continues, regardless of who wins. 

"What's important for people to understand about the election outcome is that—-number one—you have to come to terms with it," said Dr. James Bray, former president of the American Psychological Association.

After countless family fights over dinner, jabs against strangers online, and even in-person disagreements with supporters from the rival camp, everyone has to accept the results.

Things will change

"You either won or your candidate won or your candidate lost. It's not permanent. It will change in the future,” he said.

It will be a six-year wait, but you can’t spend all six years wishing you could unvote the votes cast in favor of a candidate you don’t like

Focus on things you can control

It’s tough to swallow if your candidate doesn’t win. Take the time to assess your well-being and do what you can to keep living healthily. Bray recommended exercising, eating healthy, and talking to loved ones. Take a step back from social media or the news.

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Cross the bridge when you get there

There’s no saying what a leader will do or fail to deliver once they’re seated. It’s too soon to say what will happen. Once a winner is declared, the people can react and move as seen fit, Bray said.

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