There were fears supporters of opposition leader Maria Leonor Robredo won’t accept the election results if the only son of the late dictator Ferdinand Maros would win the balloting next month.

There were speculations they would take to the streets to protest the results, resulting in chaos and political instability.

There were also speculations that some elements in the security forces might intervene to restore order.

These are not unfounded speculations. There could be some truth to fears of political instability.

But it was wrong to put the blame on the vice president. There are no statements, news reports and even videos to support the claims Robredo had made warnings of political instability if Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. won the May elections.

But two other presidential candidates – Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales – warned of political instability if Robredo lost the polls on May 9.

They claimed they had received reports that some elements backing the vice president who have close links to “communist front” organizations would lead street protests and foment violence if Marcos emerged the winner in the elections.

The warnings appear to be credible and reliable. As a former defense secretary and a former national police chief, respectively, Gonzales and Lacson have access to intelligence information.

But the information may not be 100-percent accurate. It could be propaganda, an attempt to link the vice president to the so-called “Communists.”

In short, it was red-tagging.

There is no clear evidence Robredo has been working closely with the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military arm, the New People’s Army (NPA). There could be some left-wing personalities and groups that support the vice president’s campaign.

But there’s nothing wrong if people believe in communism as an ideology as long as they do not take up arms and attempt to overthrow the government. As long as they adhere to parliamentary struggle, democracy allows that, such as the case in Western Europe and Japan.

Communism has been the government’s bogeyman for decades.

The late dictator used the Maoist-led rebels’ threat to take over the government in 1972 to impose martial law, perpetuating himself from power.

Marcos won the elections in 1965 and was re-elected in 1969. Under the 1935 Constitution, he was no longer eligible to seek a third term.

In short Marcos grabbed power through the imposition of martial law and used threats from a ragtag NPA to scare the country. His narrative was made credible by the rise of Communist regimes in Southeast Asia.

Three years after he declared martial law, Indo-China—Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam—fell to the Communists. Marcos was America’s best friend, hosting two large overseas military bases in Clark and Subic.

Washington tolerated Marcos’s power grab but nearly a decade and a half later, it was instrumental to his ouster as dictatorship threatened democracy in the Philippines and Marcos’s kleptocracy was exposed.

There was a real danger of a Communist takeover as the NPA strength grew to more than 26,000, with strong influence in about 25 percent of the country’s 42,000 villages. In some remote villages, a rebel “shadow government” existed as elected local officials did not show up to exercise their duties.

But the restoration of democratic space, the improvement in the economy, and the adoption of a holistic approach in counter-insurgency cut down the NPA’s numbers to an estimated 2,500 armed members by early 2022.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has also become efficient and effective in its anti-rebel campaign, increasing the lethality of its force after acquiring modern firepower, mobility, and communications, and improving its intelligence and logistics.

There is no way the NPAs can win and achieve strategic victory as the rebel army lacked a clear ideology and was reduced to banditry, extorting “revolutionary taxes” from businesses and ordinary people in the rural areas.

The insurgency is fueled by frustrated, angry, and hungry people who have experienced injustice, inequality, and neglect from corrupt politicians and powerful business elites.

There are no more Communist ideologues. Jose Maria Sison, who founded the CPP in 1968, and a few of his colleagues are a dying breed. There were few second- and third-layer cadres.

People who are drawn to the rebel movement are no longer attracted by the Communist ideology but are forced because of the political, social, and economic conditions.

But the government continued to use the CPP-NPA threat as a scarecrow through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).

Rodrigo Duterte has been using the CPP-NPA as a political tool to harass, intimidate and demonize his political enemies even if he had acknowledged close relations with rebels when he was the mayor in Davao City.

He even interceded for Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago, when the army had cornered him in his lair in Davao. He had close ties with Parago, and was able to secure the release of captured soldiers in the region.

In fact, when he won in 2016, he declared himself as the first socialist to be elected president. Afraid he would lose support from the army and could be toppled, he switched sides, purging his government of known left-wing personalities and cracking down on the rebels.

Overnight, the socialist Duterte turned into a right-wing fascist.

Even during the pandemic when he should be discussing how to respond to the anti-coronavirus disease (Covid-19) measures, he was harping on the CPP-NPA.

It was no surprise that the CPP-NPA was an issue in the May elections. It was used to discredit Robredo to pull down her popularity.

Lacson and Gonzales have joined Duterte in linking Robredo to the CPP-NPA by equating the support of progressive party-list groups, like Bayan Muna, Migrante, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan and others to her campaign.

As the presidential campaign enters the last two weeks, Duterte and other politicians who feared a Robredo victory would hype the alleged Communist support to the vice president’s campaign.

They will scare voters by warning of possible destabilization efforts after the elections, pointing to left-wing elements in the vice president’s campaign.

There could be some sectors, diehard supporters, who will not be pleased with the results of the elections, whether Marcos or Robredo wins on May 9. There could be some street protests.

These are perfectly normal activities under a democracy when people are free to express opinions and sentiments. But it’s a stretch if some people warn of bigger chaos and potential destabilization efforts.

It is too premature to mount another “people power” or even a coup if Marcos wins. In the same way, the people would be tired of organizing a mob similar to EDSA 3 if Robredo won.

Let’s stop scaring people of chaos, confusion, and destabilization. These political tactics and theatherics will not help the political process of clean, honest, and credible elections.