Philippine election’s Novak Djokovic

By Alex P. Vidal

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”—Robert A. Heinlein

BEFORE the start of the recently concluded Australian Open, tennis scribes, sports and Aussie authorities for that matter, wasted a great deal of time tackling the vaccine woes of erstwhile world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as if the world of tennis would come to a screeching halt if he didn’t compete in the prestigious Aussie tournament.

They trained their guns exclusively on Djokovic as if he was the lone superstar and a sure winner.

When the smoke was cleared, all the hysteria, saber-rattling, sound and fury and prolonged media coverage proved futile when the Serbian tennis star failed to compete and was eventually deported.

When the saga of Djokovic’s struggle to stay in Melbourne for the important tournament was finally over, authorities and the scribes realized Australian Open, or tennis in general, could still proceed normally—and more colorful and exciting—even without the Serbian brat.


In fact, while Djokovic’s tiff with immigration authorities was getting the lion’s share of media attention, nothing or very little publicity was given to the other seeded players who were supposed to share the limelight with Djokovic if the vaccine hullaballoo didn’t take center stage.

The epic final tussle between 20-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev became poetic justice.

It turned out the Spanish and Russian finalists deserved more attention than the deportee.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. could end up as the Novak Djokovic of the May 9, 2022 Philippine election.

When retired Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon declared Armageddon against fellow Commissioner Aimee Ferolino days before her retirement on February 2, the bone of contention was the Negrense lawyer’s disqualification vote against Marcos Jr., which wasn’t anymore counted under the rules now that she has retired.


During the days before Guanzon’s retirement, she blasted not only the “grand conspiracy” to bump off her vote and Ferolino, but Marcos Jr. himself whom she repeatedly called “a convict” and “guilty of moral turpitude.”

Media enormously played up Guanzon’s rant and Marcos Jr. reaped all the derogatory assaults from a machine gun mouth.

Commentaries by election experts sought by reporters focused on a scenario where Marcos Jr. “would be replaced by the duly elected vice president if the Supreme Court disqualified him.”

Like Djokovic when he was trying to fend off efforts to deport him following a weeks-long battle surrounding his Covid-19 vaccination status and his eligibility to be in Australia, Marcos Jr. has been getting all attention from the media and election analysts as if he’s a sure winner in the May 9, 2022 election.


By shoring up a possible Marcos-will-be-disqualified-by-the-Supreme Court-and-will-be-removed-from-office scenario, election analysts, like the press and tennis authorities who focused only on Djokovic weeks before the Australian Open, have failed to consider that all the blunderbuss and hoopla on Marcos Jr would be an exercise in futility if Leni Robredo, like Rafa Nadal, will be the winner.

In the Australian Open, the moment Medvedev and Nadal breezed through the final in the men’s single, Djokovic had been forgotten.

At this stage, no can still underestimate Isko Moreno, Manny Pacquiao, Ping Lacson, and Leody De Guzman.

If any of these gentlemen will win, no one will talk about Marcos Jr. anymore.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)