by Ronnie Estoque
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“Never again, never again, never again to martial law!” was a unifying chant that filled the streets of the Chinatown-International District (CID) on May 10, when Filipino activists held a march and rally from Dr. José Rizal Park to Hing Hay Park in protest of a Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presidency. Dr. José Rizal is a national hero of the Philippines, who aided in agitating Filipinos to lead a revolution against Spanish colonizers during the late 1800s.
The activists represented the Washington Coalition for Hope and Democracy, a recently formed group consisting of members from Malaya Movement Seattle, BAYAN USA Seattle, International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines, Solid Leni-Kiko Overseas, Bicol Association of Washington, and 1Sambayan USA – Washington.
The activists, who predominantly wore black, began to meet at José Rizal Park at 6 p.m. and marched to the José Rizal Bridge while chanting, and lowered a banner over the side of the I-90 overlooking downtown Seattle. Once they arrived at Hing Hay Park, several organizers led cultural performances and dramas illustrating the grave concern over another Marcos presidency.
Survivors of Ferdinand Marcos’ regime (1965–1986) shared their experiences protesting against corruption in the Philippines.
The May 9 election was facilitated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), who currently reports Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, at about 31 million votes compared to 14.8 million votes for current Vice President Leni Robredo.
President Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, who is running alongside Marcos as a vice presidential candidate, currently has 31.5 million votes compared to 9.2 for Philippine senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Robredo’s running mate.
On May 9, ABS-CBN reported that at least 533 vote counting machines had been reported defective, and 1,867 vote counting machines experienced technical problems according to COMELEC.
Kontra Daya, a campaign of various organizations committed to opposing election fraud and undemocratic practices during the Philippine elections, has also released a comprehensive map detailing reports from the election.
“Over the last 24 hours alone, massive disinformation, fake news, voter disenfranchisement, vote buying, vote counting machine glitches, harassment, intimidation, violence, and fatalities have unfolded at the polling stations across the Philippines,” the Washington Coalition for Hope and Democracy said. “For overseas absentee voters, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) grossly mismanaged the distribution and handling of ballots to the point that over 13,000 in the U.S. did not receive their ballots due to wrong addresses.”
The election results have also spurred Filipinos in the Philippines, with protests erupting outside COMELEC’s headquarters in Manila. Student organizations from major universities, such as the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University, have declared an academic walkout in response to the results.
Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.
📸 Featured Image: Seattle activists clad in black marched from Dr. José Rizal Park to protest the elections in the Philippines. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
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