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A Coin Toss Can Decide an Election, That's Why You Need to Vote to Be Heard

Don't let luck determine your future.
by Pia Regalado
Oct 12, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock
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In the last 10 years, a coin toss decided the election victories of a Pacquiao relative and a Jesus Is Lord scion, proving that in hotly contested elections, power, money and prayer need to bring voters to the precincts.

That's why Ja, a 21-year-old medical laboratory science student lined up for six hours to register so that she can vote in a presidential election for the first time. Too much is at stake in this pandemic to sit this one out, she said.

"It just doesn't feel right anymore to remain passive and complacent when I know one simple action could change the future for the better," Ja told reportr. She refused to disclose her full name for privacy concerns.

The Comelec counted 63 million registered voters as of Sept. 11, overshooting its 60 million target and registration is extended until Oct. 30 after a break to give way to candidacy filings. In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte was catapulted to the presidency on 16 million votes.

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It can come down to a toss coin

A coin toss breaks ties in local contests, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez told reportr. 

While a toss coin tie breaker has not happened in national elections, a slim margin opens the winning candidate to protests, such as when Vice President Leni Robredo beat ex-senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in 2016 by just 263,473. The Supreme Court upheld Robredo's victory and two will square off in 2022 for the presidency.

"If you need a reason to vote, remember this: bad officials are elected into office by good people who don’t vote," Jimenez said.

A coin toss decided Sen. Manny Pacquiao's younger brother Roel's victory in 2013, making him the president of Association of Barangay Chairmen with an ex-officio seat in the General Santos City council.

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That same year, a coin toss broke the tie for the mayoral race in San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro. Marvic Feraren and Boyet Py got 3,236 votes. Ferraren won the coin flip and the deadlock ended with a handshake and an embrace.

In 2016, Joni Villanueva, daughter of televangelist and lawmaker Eddie Villanueva, won the mayoral race in Bocaue, Bulacan on a coin toss defeating opponent Jim Valerio. The young Villanueva said it was "God's will" that she picked the winning side -- tails.

In the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, contests in seven barangays in Cebu province were decided by coin toss, according to a Philippine News Agency report.

In 2019, the mayoral race in Araceli, Palawan boiled down to a best-of-three coin toss, with former mayor Sue Cudilla reclaiming her post from then incumbent mayor Noel Beronio.

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Your vote is your ambag

In toxic social media, where those who complain are asked for their contribution or ambag, your one vote is the answer, said Ces Rondario, founder of Vote Pilipinas, the official voter information registration campaign of Comelec.

"Kung feeling natin something was wrong and there's nothing to be done, the question is, what have you done?" said Rondario.

"Can you imagine if they said, 'futile naman 'yung pag-asa ng Pilipinas e'. Saan tayo pupulitin ngayon if nobody fought in the streets back in EDSA. We'd still probably be in martial law," she said in a Sept. 28 interview with QuaranTalk.

Elections are the great equalizer, as every vote counts regardless of social class. "Why wouldn't you take that chance?" she said.

"If you have the time to register, utilize it. One vote is still a vote. You’ll never know what and where your simple initiative can bring you unless you act on it," Ja said.

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