May 2007 Archives
Sometimes we can read too much into the "meaning" of a particular vote. I found Raul Pangalangan's last column, on the meaning of the Honasan-Trillanes vote, a provocative read. I especially thought this particular passage was right on the money.
By manipulating the various arms of government to harass its enemies and protect its own, the Arroyo government has weakened the rule of law. It has conditioned the people to look to end-results ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ stop corruption, improve education, expand health care, make housing more accessible ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ and be indifferent to the means, constitutional or not. It has lowered the bar, so to speak, that the law has placed to guard against extra-constitutional power grabs.This weakening of the rule of law ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ "culture of impunity," anyone? ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ must be counted as one of the main legacies of the Arroyo administration.
Priest-turned-politician Eddie Panlilio should shut up if he can't prove his allegations that his closest rival, Board Member Lilia "Baby" Pineda, committed fraud in the Pampanga gubernatorial race. As of this writing, Pineda had widened her lead over Panlilio, with the incumbent, Gov. Mark Lapid, coming in third. (Panlilio was proclaimed the winner last nightÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å"Editor) Panlilio should stop being a crybaby and admit that he lost in a fair fight. He is barking up the wrong tree since Pineda is not the incumbent. I'm not saying Lapid cheated, but the sitting official usually has the capability to cheat because of power and machinery.Now, who should shut up? Thank you for telling Father Panlilio to stop being a crybaby, because as of the moment, all his tears are of joy! And who are you to say that Baby Pineda has no capacity to cheat? Come on, I am from Pampanga and I really don't know if you live here. Mr. Tulfo, I think you're the one barking at the wrong tree; anyway, dogs really do that sometimes. The next time you write about the results of elections, see to it that you have correctly seen the COCs. What gave you the idea that Baby Pineda won? Strange, really strange. I will just wait for the apology that you will address to Father Ed. Learn your lesson. Thank you. -- Raffy Punzalan Simbol, Arayat, Pampanga
- What will happen now to Baywalk and the other projects that beautify Manila?
- What will happen to Unibersidad de Manila (formerly City College of Manila)? Will it go back to the old PNB building along Escolta?
- Are we going to see a radical change in governance?
ASIAN foreign observers expressed deep regret over the failure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct peaceful, honest and orderly elections last May 14 in the six provinces of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).And the observation did not end in ARMM, as I reported on Tingog.com; other reports included: Voters disenfranchised in Tondo, soldiers harassing foreign observers at a Cebu checkpoint, observers being caught in midst of soldiers and crowd in Guimba, blatant cheating and chaos in Lanao Del Sur polls, as well as irregularities in Quezon... Not that any election is perfect, but it seems the international media picked up on Arroyo's statement the other day, and concluded that the election was fairly peaceful. It's good to note, however, that some foreign observers do have confidence that our election process will improve, and one observer also emphasized a move toward computerized elections.
In a democracy, it's the will of the majority that decides to vote, that counts.
The other interesting thing is, is it premature to write the obituary on the command vote? In 1998, I wrote that as far as presidential elections were concerned, the days of party machinery determining the outcome were over (the aberration would prove to be 2004: and that was a questionable election). This election marks 100 years since we've had lower house elections; and 66 years since the first national senatorial election. We are only a young democracy in terms of our personal memories. I've put together a summary of the elections from 1907-2004, and it is in the context of all these past races that the present one should be considered. Please take a look (unfortunately, 1971 is a kind of "ghost year," I've never been able to find the House results for that year, though we have the Senate results).
The Commission on Elections has asked the two television networks ABS-CBN and GMA 7 to stop the quick counts as they are "unauthorized."Details to follow. Keep visiting the Eleksyon 2007 running account for updates.
Educator Bro. Manny de Leon said the emerging poll results would indicate that popularity alone would not spell victory in an election. He said that Custodio was no match to Pacquiao in popularity but she compensated for that weakness by using her solid machinery. "The political machinery of the Antoninos is still strong. They had a well-organized campaign down to the purok level and they sustained it up to the finish line," De Leon said. "I am inclined to believe that people want nothing but real change. But we have no choice. The people are wise enough to vote for (one) who is more competent." According to De Leon, another drawback of Pacquiao's political bid was the perception that he was a yes-man of Malacañang. De Leon's view was supported by Fr. Angel Buenavides, spokesperson of the Diocese of Marbel.Counterintuitive democracy The second observation to be made is the decline in the voters' turnout which is pegged at 75%, down from 77% in 2004 and 85% in 2001. This also goes for the overseas absentee voters where there is a drastic drop from 65% in 2004 to a dismal 15% now. A caveat has to be made about the OAV however, since voter mobility (workers moving from one country to another) is one major reason why a lot didn't get to vote. Citing some articles now,
In the first issue of "Election Forensics 2007", Professor Bobby Tuazon of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) said the continuing decrease in the turnout of voters showed that the people are getting more disillusioned. The cause of disillusionment, according to Tuazon, include reports of missing or misplaced names, missing precincts, unreadable master list, harassment from supporters of candidates, police and the military, and violence. "With recent surveys showing 70-percent of Filipinos predicting the occurrence of massive fraud in the mid-term elections, there is a high probability of an increasing number of the electorate staying away from the polls. This pessimism and other factors would explain the possible low turnout in the May 14 polls," Tuazon said. (source: Advocacy group cites disillusionment for low voter turnout)
Only 78,360 out of the 504,110 overseas Filipinos who registered for the May 14 election, or 15.5 percent, actually voted. But Ambassador Generoso Calonge, vice chair of the Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat, said the fact that more than half a million overseas Filipinos registered for the poll exercise was already a success. "The election is composed of two things, registration and actual voting. The fact that 504,110 availed of the privilege to register is a big accomplishment..they may have not chosen to exercise that [voting] right but they signified their intention to vote," Calonge said. "The mission of government is to provide the opportunity. Like in a highway, even if there is no car passing, you provide the opportunity for a better environment for driving," Calonge said. Colange said the low turnout this year may have been due to the high mobility of overseas Filipinos, particularly workers, who transfer from one employment to another and from one country to another. Absentee voter turnout only 15.5% -- DFAI think it is quite counterintuitive to argue that a decreasing voter turnout is good for democracy. Even if the results are more manageable, can one really advocate that less people vote, or worse, that only capable and intelligent voters vote? Do we allow the less determine what is good for the more? This may sound absurd but the strange thing is that there is some merit to this argument -- if we were in the 18th and 19th centuries and limited suffrage to certain elites, colors, faiths and genders. I always say that we are a young and learning democracy, but I couldn't take myself to say that we must devolve our democracy. After all, the problem with Philippine democracy is not with the people who value it but with the institutions that manage it. The recent elections have made this clear: Many people really wanted to vote but not many of them could. A lot of people couldn't find their names or their precincts. And as stated in the CenPEG study, people weren't too optimistic about how their votes would be handled. People are not pessimistic because they are simply being pessimistic; the system simply did not give them enough reason to believe that their votes mattered. The right to vote So people are becoming more capable voters, but fewer people are voting. Now, more than ever, the right of suffrage must be guaranteed. By guaranteeing that right, it isn't enough to "provide the highway" as Ambassador Calonge would say. That highway must have signs to guide drivers to their destinations, and should allow fueling exits and emergency shoulders. It is one thing to put up a highway, it is another to put up a highway that works. Just take the old North Luzon Expressway before and after its rehabilitation; people don't mind paying the higher toll fees since it works pretty well. Taking off from this metaphor now, reforming the Comelec is a foregone conclusion. But as to why we can't take confident strides into automating our elections is beyond me. The cynics have come to the most reasonable conclusion -- that perhaps this will jeopardize many candidates' monopoly on cheating. This is a political psychology we must simply transcend and we begin that by injecting new blood into the political system. I hope the youth catch my challenge here. But beyond reforming the Comelec, another solution can be gleamed from one of the most effective management dogmas: play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses. And the greatest strength of Philippine democracy would be our people. Deep down, we believe in democracy. The ethos of our political culture can be summarized in two words: People Power. The way forward I propose is something that will take time and effort. What our general public needs is a political education that will enlighten them on various democratic process and principles. After all, half the reason why people give in to vote buying or cheating is because they cannot perceive the wrong they do when the do so. (The other half is that they need to put food on their table, so I'll let the economy -- and its support groups -- do its work.) I volunteer every election for the PPCRV and I really wish that more work be done in teaching the voters how and why they should vote since that is the first thing that comes to mind with the phrase "responsible voting" (RV). There really is so much we can do to make our elections work. Let us not allow our institutions to be the excuse why our democracy fails. In the end, it's all about the people. Many are willing to vote, but not many can't. I don't know about you, but that's half the problem solved. The real paradox here is how badly we want our democracy to work but not many are willing to pitch in. That's where you come in.
MANILA, Philippines--The Department of Education (DepEd) is trying to determine whether the allowances for teachers who are working as election officers this Monday will be released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), an official said. Ramon Bacani, DepEd undersecretary for regional operations, said that the agency has no direct involvement in the release teachers' honorarium.
...arm yourself with camera phones, contact bloggers and media outlets if you notice any fraudulent and criminal activities. Upload videos of illegal activities to Youtube. This is a special moment in our history because for the first time, I think citizen media can play some part in the election watch, albeit maybe just a minor role.Great media institutions are already doing their part. GMA Network, INQUIRER.net and the Philippine Daily Inquirer are all working overtime to bring everyone the latest news. But they can't be everywhere. But you, the ordinary Filipino citizen, armed with your camera phone or your video phone, can capture fraudulent and illegal activities on the spot... So, don't just sit there, take part, and help make the election a fair and honest one.
MANILA, Philippines--The campaign against loose firearms in the 2007 elections has so far resulted in the recovery of 2,176 firearms, 195 explosives, and 303 bladed weapons, police records showed. The campaign has also led to the arrest of 2,301 suspects, according to the same records. Of the 2,176 firearms, 1,446 are high-powered while 730 are low-powered. The 195 explosives include 108 improvised explosive devices and 87 grenades, according to the police tally as of Sunday, the eve of the mid-term elections.
MANILA, Philippines -- Most of the voters who were aware of election observers for Monday's polls prefer that the observers be Filipino, while a fourth prefer that they be both Filipino and foreign, according to a Social Weather Stations survey conducted last month. One in every five Filipino voters (21 percent) have "heard or read of May 2007 election observers," the SWS survey conducted from April 14 to 17 showed. Of this number, 67 percent preferred Filipino observers, 24 percent preferred both Filipino and foreign observers, while 8 percent preferred foreign observers. Awareness about election observers was higher in Mindanao (27 percent), among members of classes ABC (30 percent) and among college graduates (28 percent).
MANILA, Philippines - This is it, the moment of truth! Today is the time to exercise your right to choose your leaders. Go to the voting precincts and vote for your candidates. Choose the candidates who you think will serve your community best. Don't sell your vote. The candidate who offers, directly or indirectly, to buy your vote is no good. He is not yet in office and he is already violating the law. If you vote for him and he wins, he will do more of the same. He will bribe his way through life. He is corrupting you. He is one of the persons who cause so much corruption in our government. And he is one reason you and many others are suffering.
If you accept his offer, you yourself will be violating the law. The law punishes not only the vote-buyer but also the vote-seller, that's you. For a few hundred pesos you will spend a number of days in jail. You will have a prison record, a blot on your reputation for as long as you live. You will be called a "jailbird, an ex-convict." All for a few hundred pesos, which would be spent and gone by tomorrow anyway. And you will have that nagging guilty feeling for the rest of your life.Check out INQUIRER.net's Eleksyon 2007 running account.
- a very old man who should have retired but felt that no one can fill in his shoes yet; and
- someone who dared not to be proclaimed by presidents he previously asked to resign (nevertheless, if he is not married to a megastar he would not have that "principle."
- We have bright young lawyers who talk too much but work too little (if they did their homework, they could have impeached GMA)ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have returning political veterans who never achieved anything substantial other than spark EDSA Dos by blocking the opening of the second envelopeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have children and relatives of heroesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ but we all have heroes' blood in all of usÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have millionaires who swindled banks, depositors and house buyers to accumulate wealth (sipag at tyagaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ at maraming pagbalimbing)ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have populistsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ they do not understand a single word they are harking (ever thought about the consequences of abolishing VAT or not paying our national debt)ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have local government officials who came from provinces that are not known for their progress or unparalleled developmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have political neophytes with no clear understanding of the legislative processÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have glorious men in uniform whose greatness was shot down because of women in their lives (one was asked by his mother to stop a mutiny, the other was caught in his female friend's house)ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have action stars who brawl on national TV and it is not part of a movie or a showÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
- We have a dumb bar topnotcher who disgraces two universities with his un-common sense
Villanueva said he suspected military men to be behind the attack, but Chief Superintendent Ismael Rafanan, Central Luzon police director, said that still had be to be determined by an investigation.
"That's what they [Villanueva] claim..but we are still conducting investigations to precisely point what really happened..and who started the firefight," said Rafanan in a phone interview. Rafanan also said that what transpired was not an attack. "It was not an attack. There was a misunderstanding sa grupo nila dahil yata sa pagdidikit ng mga posters [There was a misunderstanding in their group over the posting of campaign posters] ," said Rafanan.
THE SECOND week of the ongoing Overseas Absentee Voting ended this evening. While there was a slight increase in the number of voters who cast their votes this week compared to last [week] at the embassy here in Riyadh, still it is much lower than we expected. But the sight of three company buses transporting voters to the embassy was a good sign, and we hope the remaining two weeks will really see more company buses bringing in more voters.Ask anybody, especially government officials, what they think is the reason why the turnout of voters has been very low, [and] the most common answers you will get are that: many overseas Filipinos think that since this election is not a presidential election it is not so important; many think that it is useless to cast their votes because these will not be counted anyway; and many say "nakakatamad naman kasing pumunta sa embassy." At one point I did believe that maybe those are the valid reasons. But this afternoon, I realized that those earlier statements may not be the reasons at all... In relation to our Go Out and Vote campaign here in Riyadh, we designed a campaign ad that centered on why we should cast our votes. The message was conveyed by the following lines that were printed on the poster/flyer:
Ipaabot ang nagkakaisang tinig Gamitin ang karapatang marinig Ang Boto mo, pahalagahan mo. We had the poster designed by a young OFW for free, but the printing of the four-color poster cost us SR 2.50 each for the A4 size, and SR 50 for the A3 size. By Thursday night we had the number of posters we needed ready. This morning we started placing those posters in areas around Riyadh where many Filipinos usually hang out especially during weekends. In one supermarket the Filipino cashier commented: "Nag-umpisa na pala ang botohan?" In one restaurant one employee asked, "Taga-Comelec po kayo?," while a jolly barker in the fastfood center said, "Huwag kayong magalala, kabayan, akong bahala dyan," referring to the poster that we stuck on a suggestion box. When I heard the supermarket cashier say, "nag-umpisa na pala ang botohan," I asked myself how many Filipinos like him are not aware that the overseas absentee voting period already started two weeks ago; maybe a hundred, or maybe a couple of thousands? Could this not be the main reason why there is a low turnout of voters? What really made me smile was the question from the waiter at the Thai restaurant. When asked, "taga-Comelec po kayo?" we simply said we are not from Comelec, but are from various OFW organizations. But he's got a point. Bakit nga ba kami ang nagdidikit ng mga OAV posters na yon at hindi ang mga taga Political section ng embahada? [Comelec] Commissioner [Florentino] Tuason [Jr., chairman of the Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting,] proudly announced during the OAV Forum at Intramuros last March that the OAV cost per voter this year compared to that of 2004 is very very much lower. That of course was great for the budget department. But given the experience of 2004, the Comelec could have spent some amount on information materials like posters and flyers. If posters were sent to the Posts a month before the start of the voting period, and the Posts were able to distribute these to the major companies and community organizations, as well as display some in areas where Filipinos usually hang out -- like what we did today, chances are the turnout could be better than what we are witnessing now.
But if Comelec cannot even send postal voting materials and voters ID on time, can we expect them to be able to think of those little, yet very important, things?It [makes my heart] bleed when I think of how little the government cares about us who are sacrificing to be away from home just to [let] the Philippines survive. Perhaps when the bleeding stops, time will have been ripe. But for now, today is just another day.
MANILA, Philippines--President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's decision to call out the military to help police disband private armies, man 24-hour checkpoints and stop political killings has prompted ex-Senate President Jovito Salonga to warn that the May 14 elections could turn out to be as "violent and fraudulent" as the Marcos-era polls.
In an open letter sent Tuesday to the President through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Salonga called on Ms Arroyo to ensure the peace and the credibility of the midterm elections so as not to worsen current problems, including the continuing killings. Salonga said Ms Arroyo's order for more checkpoints nationwide was "what [the dictator Ferdinand] Marcos also ordered in the 1969 elections, described by Newsweek (Nov. 24, 1969) and Time (Feb. 16, 1970) as the dirtiest, most violent and most corrupt in modern Filipino history."
"As far as we are concerned, we don't want election duties, so there will be no issue against the Armed Forces," Navy vice commander Rear Admiral Amable Tolentino told reporters Wednesday. "Even if we just do our jobs, it will be linked to the election issue."
"If possible, we don't want to be involved [in the elections], but we have the MoA [memorandum of agreement]. We still have to offer our capability and assets if needed," said Tolentino, who inspected disaster response troops in this Navy base south of Manila. The Navy vice chief was referring to the MoA signed by the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in October 2006, which limits the role of soldiers during elections to responding to "serious armed threats" as determined by the poll body.