By Kristine L. Alave Inquirer FORMER congressman Robert âDodotâ Jaworski Jr. has vowed to continue his fight for the post of Pasig mayor as the Commission on Elections will start recounting votes from 1,317 of the cityâs precincts Monday. âI want to get closure. In my heart, I know I won in the last elections. I won ât give up the fight. This is for the sake of the people,â Jaworski told the In quirer. He reiterated his claim that the official results of the cityâs mayoral race in the May 14 elections did not tally with his watchersâ numbers. The Comelec Second Division recently ordered the Pasig City Treasurerâs Office and its local division to conduct an inventory and seal ballot boxes from the 1 ,317 precincts, the first step in the recount of votes. Jaworski earlier requested the Comelec to open and recount all the votes from t he second district of the city which has 1,067 precincts. In response, Eusebio, who was declared the winner, filed a counter-protest for the recount of votes cast in 250 precincts of the cityâs first district. Based on the Comelecâs finally tally, Eusebio garnered 116,463 votes against the 107, 141 cast in Jaworskiâs favor. The Comelec, meanwhile, ordered Jaworski and Eusebio to pay P868,676 and P246,1 60, respectively, to defray the expenses for the revision of the ballots and ot her incidental costs. The two were also directed to shoulder the salaries of th e canvassers. The fight over the mayoralty in Pasig City was one of the most closely-watched contests in Metro Manila, with Jaworski and Eusebio trading allegations of vote buying and election tampering over the course of canvassing. Based on the Comelecâs order, its local division should make an accounting of t he ballots Monday at the cityâs covered court, which is being used as a distrib ution center for the city governmentâs âPaskong Handogâ project for indigent re sidents. Some parts of the court are also under construction. Ma. Anne Gonzales, Pasig election office, said they want to reschedule the inve ntory until after the project is finished. Jaworski said this is the second time officials of the Pasig City Hall had aske d the Comelec to reset the inventory. He expressed fears that his rival could b e behind the delay. He added that his lawyers had sent a âstrongly wordedâ letter to the Second Div ision opposing a reschedule of the inventory. If the Comelec does not rule on the issue, Jaworski said he expects the invento ry to begin on Dec. 18. âI donât understand why theyâre delaying it. If I were the Comelec, I would be glad that it would be out of my hands. Maybe they are anxious about the content s of the ballot boxes,â the former congressman said. Gonzales, on the other hand, denied that the local Comelec wants to delay the i nventory. She said the area where they are supposed to conduct the inventory is ânot safe.â She added that the Comelec office in Intramuros would rule on thei r request today. âThe designated space is open and there is a road. If somebody throws something at us, then what would happen? I have a responsibility to my employees,â Gonza les said. The Inquirer contacted Eusebio but he did not answer his phone. However, his la wyer earlier scoffed at Jaworskiâs claim that he should have been declared the winner.
HERE are two video clips INQUIRER.net reporter Veronica Uy took during the oath taking of Senator Manuel Roxas II as Liberal Party president at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City on Nov. 26. Here's a video of the actual oath taking. And here's Mar talking about the LP's platform of government. Is this a prelude to 2010?
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--The Commission on Information and Communications Technolog y (CICT) will begin its six-month evaluation to determine which technology the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will use for automating the 2010 presidential elections. CICT chair Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua said eight vendors have been selected to test their solutions within the six-month period in selected areas nationwide. âThese vendors have solutions that use OMR (optical mark reader) and DRE (direc t recording electronic) machines,â Roxas-Chua said during a meeting Wednesday w ith the IT Association of the Philippines (ITAP). As CICT chair, he heads a technical advisory committee tasked to help Comelec w ith its computerization efforts. By law, the Comelec should undergo computerization in the May 2010 polls but wh atever solution selected should be tested in a prior election practice. The CICT is looking to deploy automation in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Min danao special elections. "Automation is not only about cost," Roxas-Chua said. "That is why we are condu cting a detailed study to find out how the public would react to these technolo gies." The Comelec was supposed to automate this year's May senatorial polls but did n ot push through with the plan following the controversial P1.3-billion contract with MegaPacific Consortium that was nullified by the courts.
By Beverly T. Natividad Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--If the police canât do it, perhaps the citizenry can. Now considered as a âfugitive from justice," Maguindanao election supervisor Li ntang Bedol is now being offered for citizen arrest. As Bedol continued to evade an arrest warrant issued against him, Commission on Elections Acting Chairman Resurreccion Borra cited on Monday the right and the power of every citizen to arrest the poll supervisor on site and bring him to the nearest local police. âAny arrest is welcome for that matter as long as heâs incarcerated,â said Borr a in an interview. Despite media reports that Bedol has been able to dodge arrest in Maguindanao, Borra said as of Monday, the Comelec was awaiting a formal report from Chief Su pt. Joel R. Goltiao, the Philippine National Police (PNP) director of ARMM, reg arding the matter. âHe is a professional soldier so he has to make a professional report to tell u s of his compliance or non-compliance with Bedolâs arrest order,â said Borra. The ARMM police chief, he said, has not contacted any of the poll body commissi oners to apprise them of the situation. He added the Comelec needed Goltiaoâs o fficial report on Bedol to have a formal basis in evaluating and acting on the situation. Before government offices took a break for the long "All Saintsâ" weekend, the Comelec sent a resolution compelling Goltiao to carry out the warrant of arrest against Bedol issued last Oct. 23. The Comelec felt that Goltiao was âdilly-dallyingâ in his implementation of the arrest warrant. Talking to the media last Saturday, Goltiao announced that the ARMM police was unable to track down Bedol in Maguindanao. The warrant of arrest against Bedol was based on the Comelecâs August 2007 ruli ng which found him guilty of indirect contempt. His conviction was based, among others, on his failure to appear before the Comelec despite repeated summons t o answer questions on alleged cheating activities in Maguindanao. The Comelec is still set to file new charges against Bedol for various violatio ns of the Civil Service law.
By Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Diosdado Macapagal spent his vice presidency campaigning n on-stop, because President Carlos P. Garcia wouldnât give him a job. Back then, the basic unit of our government was the barrio, and Macapagal never hesitated to boast that he had visited nearly every barrio to shake hands with nearly ev ery voter. To be sure, obsessive attention to voters, in retail and wholesale t erms, is the mark of any successful politician. But Macapagalâs personal touch proved incapable of overcoming the challenge mounted by Ferdinand E. Marcos, wh o believed above all else in the ability of political machinery to overcome all odds. Marcos renamed the barrio the âbarangay,â and this latter-day rajah ensured tha t the barrio captain of old would become the barangay chairman of today, the pe tty âdatuâ on whom money is periodically showered by MalacaÃ±ang. Marcos distru sted the traditional party machines and wanted to build personal ties between h is supreme chieftainship, and the village chiefs he created and made dependent on his good graces. It is no coincidence, then, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo governs with a combination of her fatherâs retail obsession and Marcosâ wholesale penchant for bribing all opposition into submission. She roams the country with her fath erâs zeal and holds cash buffets in MalacaÃ±ang in a truly Marcosian manner. At the apex of the patronage pyramid, she knows as well as her legionaries in the House of Representatives do, that the bedrock of their shared political machin ery are barangay officials. Which is why the true story of the recently concluded barangay elections is tha t they were about cash, political infrastructure, or, put another way, providin g for the future of the President and her people. By now we are reasonably cert ain that the congressmen and governors plied with cash in the Palace a few week s ago were lining up for doles they could give out, in turn, to their barangay machinery. The supposedly nonpartisan nature of barangay governance be damned. It was payb ack time. The President owed the congressmen, who owed the barangay officials, in turn. All would pay their debts, since after all, payment would come in the form of public funds. To repeat: The barangay elections were a partisan exercise, with partisan goals in mind. Instead of giving adequate time for the reform of the obviously flawe d and highly corrupt barangay system -- including, as we pointed out, the essen tially useless, except for dynasty-building, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Counci l) -- the President solidly supported the insistence of the House of Representa tives to go through with the elections, despite the Senateâs initial reservatio ns. Nothing would be allowed to delay the payback. The first dividends were immediately encashed by the President when she showed that more congressmen supported her than her erstwhile ally, Speaker Jose de Ve necia. Then we saw it in the way governors tried to gang up on Pampanga provinc eâs Gov. Ed Panlilio, who exposed the cash distribution in the Palace. We will see in the coming months, the additional dividends the President expects to ear n from her cash buffets, whether in terms of blocking a new impeachment effort or in simulating grassroots support for Charter change. Everything -- the lavish spending on posters, marching bands, motorcades, the v iolence and intimidation, the bribing of voters -- that has characterized the b arangay polls is as nothing compared to what they represent. They are part of a continuing and increasingly brazen process of governing, not in the exercise o f the will of the people, but according to the Golden Rule that whoever has the gold, makes the rules. With a new generation of young dynasts in the Sangguniang Kabataan, with their fathers, mothers, uncles and in-laws in more senior barangay positions, with th e congressmen having paid off their local leadersâ debts and by so doing, incur ring new debts of gratitude and themselves grateful, in turn, to the President, everything is in place. Ritual calls for barangay reform will be made, and eve n if they have become an exercise in futility, we support those calls. However, we should all be aware that the entire political class benefited from this exe rcise, and this is what sets apart their interests from the broader public.
By Joey A. Gabieta, Edwin Fernandez, Charlie SeÃ±ase Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Two elected village chiefs were killed in separate inciden ts hours after voting ended in Mondayâs barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kaba taan (Youth Council) elections, according to reports culled by INQUIRER.net. The latest reports have increased the number of cases of election-related viole nce to 50, police said. A Philippine Daily Inquirer report from Shariff Kabunsuan said that in Sultan K udarat, Samsodin Lumbos, a newly proclaimed village chief of Balut, was shot to death by unidentified suspects late Monday. Another Inquirer report from Tacloban City said Marcos Anquillo, who was reelec ted village chief of Zone 3 and a village watchman, identified as Roger Reyes, were shot dead earlier on the same day. The Inquirer report from Shariff Kabunsuan quoted Superintendent Ismael Ali, Sh ariff Kabunsuan police director, as saying that Lumbos was killed near the Sult an Kudarat Municipal Hall around 11:30 p.m. Monday. "The victim had just been proclaimed winner defeating an administration candida te when he was shot dead in a dark portion near the municipal hall," Ali said. He said the incident was the second election-related killing in the province. On Oct. 18, reelectionist Senditan barangay chairman Hadji Akmad Abdullah and v illage councilor Monib Ali were killed in an ambush by unidentified gunmen.
By Veronica Uy, Thea Alberto INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--Despite several incidents of election-related violence and failure of elections in some areas, the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kab ataan (Youth Council) elections were generally peaceful, poll and police offici als said Monday. Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon Jr. said there were n o major occurrences recorded in most of the 42,000 villages nationwide, as he c alled the elections the most peaceful in recent years. "The 2007 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will probably go down in history as the most peaceful and widely participated electoral exercise in rece nt years," said Razon. Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez attributed the peaceful conduct of the polls to more attentive coverage from the media, the high visibility of police officers, and candidatesâ lack of money. Acting Comelec Chairman Resurreccion Borra said a total of 315 cases of electio n-related violence have been reported to their office and were being verified. He said these incidents included fistfights and did not exclusively involve fir earms. Of this number, taken from the election period from September 29 up to 1 p.m. M onday, about 40 resulted in deaths. The PNPâs count, said Razon, was 48 incidents of election-related violence --25 resulting in death and 28 in injuries -- from September 29 to October 29 in 42 ,000 villages around the country, compared to 159 incidents in 2002. Razon said that from 7 a.m. to the close of polling precincts at 3 p.m., there were only seven violent incident, including the killing of a village chief in B asilan and his companion. The latest PNP tally showed that five of those killed were candidates for villa ge chief while two were running for village councilor. Seven of those killed we re incumbent village officials. Four of those wounded were village chief candid ates, it added. But Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, head of the Directorate for Operations, agreed that their figures were lower compar ed to the 158 or 159 election-related deaths in the barangay polls in 2002. "This is because 30 percent of the cases in the 2002 elections happened on Elec tion Day itself," said Alarcio. But despite the generally peaceful assessment, this yearâs elections was not wi thout its share of irregularities, with failure of elections being declared in some areas, poll and police officials said. Failure of elections was declared in the provinces of Sulu, Lanao, and Masbate, and in Pasay City, Comelec officials said. All in all, Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, chief of the directorate for operations, said failure of elections was declared in 16 Lanao del Sur village s, seven in Sultan Dumalungdong town and nine in Luraba Kaugnayan. In Sulu City, failure of elections was declared in the villages of Kalinggalang Kalwang, Panddan, and Pang. Problems were also recorded in all barangay of Pan glima Estino were also named, said Alarcio. In Shariff Kabunsuan, failure of elections was declared in Barangay Kidama, he added. Quoting lawyer Julie Vidzfar, Sulu election supervisor, Sarmiento said there we re no elections in the whole town of Panglima Estina, after all members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) failed to report; Sunugan and Panabuan villa ges in the town of Indanan, after the Department of Interior and Local Governme nt refused to release ballot boxes; Tumtangis, Lambayong, and Sasak villages in the town of Indanan, after the BEIs delivered the official ballots to the wron g polling precincts; Barangay Tagbak, still in Indanan, after the BEIs and the military stopped voting due to violence; Barangay Liubud Pantao in the town of Talipao, where a police officer was gunned down; and in Barangay Tulayan, Capua l, Angilan, and Lahing-Lahing in Luuk town, where all BEI members failed to rep ort for work. Sarmiento supervised the elections in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Lu zon, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Sulu province Borra, commissioner-in-charge of Metro Manila, Western and Eastern Visayas, and Lanao Del Norte, noted an upsurge of irregularities in the Autonomous Region i n Muslim Mindanao. âAs in many places in ARMM,â Borra said that in Marawi City the election office r and the municipal treasurer were reported missing, causing the non-distributi on of election paraphernalia in the area. Borra said he ordered the field lawyer to arrest the two and to appoint the ele ction assistant as the election officer to handle the distribution of the elect ion materials. âAs of 12 noon, the elections have started,â he said. In Dumalondong, also in Lanao Del Norte, Borra said two groups had been firing at each other, causing even the military and the BEI members to withdraw from t he area. Borra also noted the delayed start of voting in Marantao, and the absence of BE Is in some places in Masiu town. In Metro Manila, Borra said voting started late in Taguig where the BEIs were h arassed while some Pasay voters were delisted, causing the BEIs to temporarily stop the voting after a mob had started to form. In Murcia town, Negros Occidental, Borra said two candidates had a shooting due l. Although neither one was hit, a stray bullet hit a passing motorcycle rider although he survived because the bullet hit his helmet. In Cebu City, there was a reported lack of ballots for the SK elections. Sarmiento said except for the relief of the chief of police of Dingras, Ilocos Norte, elections in Regions 1 and 2 were generally peaceful with no reports of delays or violence. It was not the same however for Nueva Ecija where a fire at 4 a.m. was reported in six classrooms in Pantabangan and a fistfight was reported in Bongabon, Sar miento said. Sarmiento said that in Region 9, the BEIs in Barangay Tikala in Zamboanga Del S ur were fired upon by unknown groups. Unlike the May elections, May when Abra was on the list of election hot spots, Commissioner Romeo Brawner said it had been peaceful in the province except for one incident of indiscriminate firing in Bangued and the ambush of a candidate , where the suspect had been arrested. Lack of ballots was the problem in the Kalinga and Apayao provinces, said Brawn er. This was resolved by using emergency ballots duly authenticated by the loca l Comelec officials and the local treasurers, he said. In Tawi-Tawi, rains and rough seas delayed the distribution of election materia ls. Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, in charge of Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and Basil an province, said there were lots of problems, especially in Basilan, where vot ing was delayed because of the exclusion of names on the votersâ list. Ferrer, also in charge of the gun ban, said he would go after a gun dealer in S an Carlos City, Pangasinan, who had a fake exemption. He promised to personally deal with the recidivist, who was caught last May for a similar offense. Razon has placed the 120,000-strong PNP on full alert to guard against fraud an d violence. More than a million candidates are vying for nearly 672,000 posts in 42,000 bar angay. Elected to three-year terms, they fill grass-roots posts in the country of 89 million people that range from overseeing garbage collection to weeding o ut suspected insurgents in their neighborhoods. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo voted in her hometown in Pampanga province, n orth of Manila, waving and smiling to a small crowd. Her ousted predecessor, Joseph Estrada, whom she pardoned last week after his p lunder conviction, voted in a suburban Manila school for the first time since r egaining his freedom. Razon said troops were helping police secure the balloting in about 4,500 villa ges considered security hotspots due to the presence of communist or Muslim gue rrillas or a history of intense political rivalries. Police were concerned that communist guerrillas could use force to ensure the v ictory of sympathetic candidates, Razon said. "Our intelligence assessment indicates a massive effort ... to field sympatheti c candidates in the elections in order for the movement to regain lost ground," Razon said in a statement Sunday. He also said the PNP will remain on full alert, anticipating that the counting and proclamation of the winning candidates will be more crucial. "We are still on full alert to be able to maintain the situation," said Razon. "This is the phase that we guard the counting process, we guard Comelec officia ls, elections returns and safeguard election paraphernalia." Ahead of the voting, communist guerrillas abducted a candidate for village lead er in Basey town in the central province of Samar. Elizabeth Gutierrez, who was kidnapped Wednesday, was running against a relative of a rebel commander, poli ce said. A former rebel aspiring to become a village head was killed by suspected commun ist gunmen last Monday in Villareal town, also in Samar, about 600 kilometers ( 375 miles) southeast of Manila, police said. Arroyo has repeatedly said she wants to end the communist rebellion -- one of A sia's longest -- by 2010, when her term ends. The 6,200-strong rebels have been fighting for a Marxist state for 39 years and have stepped up raids on police and military outposts as well as commercial establishments in recent months.
With a report from Associated Press
By Thea Alberto INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--At least 43 cases of election-related violent incidents we re listed by the Philippine National Police, with at least 23 persons killed an d 20 others wounded as of 9 a.m. Monday. The updated tally showed that five of those killed were candidates for the vill age chief post while two were running as village councilors. Seven of those kil led were incumbent village officials, according to the tally. Meanwhile, four of those wounded were village chief candidates. Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, head of the Directorate for Operations, said this year's village elections were less violent compared to the one in 200 2, when his office listed a total of 159 cases. Alarcio added however that the present number might still increase. "This is because 30 percent of the cases in the 2002 elections happened on Elec tion Day itself," said Alarcio.
By Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--A Catholic prelate has appealed for more active participat ion in the upcoming barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataang (youth council ) elections on October 29 as candidatesâ campaigning ends Saturday. In a statement, Catholic Bishopsâ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) presiden t Angel Lagdameo said that if the faithful could take interest in how their chu rches or parishes operate, they should similarly give the same attention to the ir villages. Lagdameo has also asked the faithful to consciously participate in the affairs of the villages since it serves as a breeding ground for future leaders. He stressed that the people should guard against partisanship in the elections to protect the villageâs role in providing for the common good. Bev erly Natividad
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. Inquirer ILOILO CITY, Philippines--An outgoing Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chair was shot dead in her home in Lambunao town, Iloilo province, Tuesday evening, the first violent incident in the Visayas involving a youth council candidate less than a week before the barangay (village) and SK elections. Bona Marie Catedral, 22, died from a gunshot wound in the left chest after she was shot at close range at around 6:30 p.m. at her family's residence in Barang ay Jayubo, 15 kilometers from the town proper. Lambunao is around 48 kilometers north of Iloilo City. The victim is the fourth of five children of Lambunao Vice Mayor Pancho Catedra l. Her remains were brought to the Solano Funeral Homes in Lambunao. Investigators are still verifying reports that an unidentified gunman approache d and shot the victim as she was about to close a window of their house. Senior Inspector Elmer Armada, Lambunao police chief, said they were still inve stigating the circumstances of the shooting. Armada would not confirm if politics was being eyed as angle in the shooting. H e also refused to reveal the probable motives of the crime saying they were sti ll in the early stage of their investigation.