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May 25

Lanao invasion

Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos backtracks from proclaiming an initial batch of winning senatorial candidates:

When the NBC adjourned the canvassing at 6:15 Thursday night, it was still 8-2-2 in favor of GO.

It was also 8-2-2 for GO in the tally by Namfrel as of 6:03 Thursday night.

The tallies read out by the Comelec were from Navotas-Malabon, Tawi-Tawi, Antique and Northern Samar, bringing the total number of canvassed local CoCs to 69 provinces and 10 cities in Metro Manila, or 77 percent of the 103 local CoCs.

The handful of CoCs canvassed Thursday had no effect on the ranking of all candidates in the Magic 12 with the GO slate winning a sweep in opposition bailiwick, Navotas-Malabon.

They need more wiggle room, perhaps? The anti votes just keep rolling in.

The focus today and tomorrow will be on Lanao del Sur. Soldiers have been sent to Lanao del Sur, too. A showdown, says the Inquirer editorial. From the areas concerned themselves, Miriam Coronel Ferrer publishes eyewitness accounts of the fraud -and how local residents resent it.

There’s an illuminating report by Volt Contreras and Nikki Dizon explaining why fraud tends to mar Muslim Mindanao voting.

In the punditcracy, Amando Doronila says the election points an urban vs. rural divide, and an epic showdown to come:

…Struggling to crash into the 12th spot are Team Unity’s Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto, Michael Defensor and Prospero Pichay.

From the above figures, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against changing the ratio of the results, unless the administration, with the collusion of the Comelec, foolishly undertakes a massive tampering of the returns in Mindanao and other provinces. This picture underscores the futility of drastically changing the outcome without sparking a civil conflagration, of the magnitude that followed the walkout in February 1986 of computer technicians at the Comelec after the official tabulation wiped out the commanding lead of opposition presidential candidate Corazon Aquino…

…From where things now stand in the tabulations, the country is confronted by two sets of results, each presenting different electoral maps: one comes from the senatorial results and the other from the congressional and local elections…

…On the face of the results, two elections on two different levels, with no correspondence with one another, took place on May 14, drawing the electorally bifurcated map of the country: the Senate and the local elections.

Each sent different messages and mandates. This bifurcation emphasized even more sharply the great divide that ruptured the country — between the rural constituency of the President and the mainly urban constituency that was reflected in the Senate election vote.

Thus, the country stands divided, even more than it was during the past two years when their conflict came to a head in the two failed impeachment actions against the President and in street demonstrations demanding her resignation. The last election failed to heal these divisions. On the contrary, the two-level election results have set the stage for the epic showdown between the President and the opposition-dominated Senate for control of national agenda and policy in the next three years.

JB Baylon says its time for a public hanging!

Inthe blogosphere, in Inquirer Current, John Nery (pointing to a January column of his) points out the Palace effort to frame the election:

The Senate contest is not a referendum on the Arroyo presidency, because, well, the administration has lost the majority of seats at stake. But the congressional and local races? They are a referendum because the administration won most of the positions at stake.

Chasing Sass has a magnificent entry on the need for an undisputed majority for presidents. You have to read her entry, which ends with a sobering question:

In the last three presidential elections, not only that the elected presidents received a mediocre percentage of votes but they also received the lowest number of votes among the three nationally elected positions. Compare the votes of Mr Ramos, Mr Estrada, and Mrs Arroyo to the top senator during their respective elections. The votes of Mr Sotto III, Ms Legarda, and Mr Roxas III are significantly higher than the elected president. To add more insult to the insulted, these three presidents are the only ones who experienced this in the entire history of our fabulous democracy.

What exactly is happening here?

Patsada Karajaw says this election is the dirtiest ever. Exaggerated Anecdotes says the economy’s taken the cheating into consideration.

RG Cruz describes the President’s trip to Japan.

Demosthenes’ Game cheers on the President’s boosters and boos the President’s detractors.

Reyna Elena thinks a a centralized credit bureau’s a good idea.

Pine for Pine on a slang word’s etymology.

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119 comments

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  1. justice league

    Vic,

    A local executive from Bataan or Zambales tried to “serve” for more than 3 consecutive terms even though the Charter expressly forbade it.

    Sometime during his 3rd term; he got recalled. He ran in the recall elections and still won. He eventually served out the rest of that term. He then consequently ran for a 4th and even a 5th, reasoning that the recall interrupted the “consecutiveness” of his terms.

    During the 5th term, the SC eventually declared that he had indeed served 3 consecutive terms and therefore was not eligible for the 4th and 5th.

    What I’m tring to say is that there are instances when people challenge the spirit or even what is already written on the Constitution.

    Your dissertation is well and good but I’m sorry Vic as I feel that we cannot leave the fate of the nation on such.

  2. Jeg

    JL: I hate to say this but as to your post today at 11:07 AM, I think you are more referring to something like Venezuela where they can recall their President.

    Impeachment via people’s initiative? How does that work in Venezuela? I dont think that’s such a bad idea if the process makes sense.

    CVJ: Jeg, i think we need a run-off if no candidate gets an outright majority in the first round because it is relatively easier for an up and coming leader to gather support of an active minority but harder to get the acceptance of the majority.

    In the no-runoff scenario we have now, the elected plurality president is tasked with gathering the support of the majority by what he or she does after the elections. That means mending fences and building coalitions with those who opposed him or her during the campaign. The president ignores the opposition to his (and our) peril. The problem with the majority president is that he or she doesnt have to do this. The president can ignore the opposition when forming his or her government.

    There is of course the major problem of the pork barrel. Any coalition based on pork and not on principles is morally tenuous. But since the responsibility for electing presidents rests in the individual Filipino, this is one of the risks we have to take and hope that the people get it right.

  3. cvj

    Yes Jeg, i think building coalitions was something that FVR did well as minority president. By contrast, Erap after his landslide victory was not able to mend fences with the middle class. While the peril that a minority president not being able to bring the country together will always be there, i think that a run-off will go a long way towards minimizing that risk.

    In the case of a real majority president, the problem of ignoring the opposition because he or she has the genuine support of the majority is a real one. I think that is what is happening right now in Venezuela where Hugo Chavez is able to close down a TV station because their middle class failed in their own attempt at EDSA Dos. That will also likely happen to us because our middle class has become morally bankrupt with its support for Gloria Arroyo. It has abused its pseudo-majority status so it will not be in any position to assert its minority rights when the time comes.

  4. toniong pagod

    cvj:

    that’s a very serious indictment there, considering it’s the employed middle class that has to deal with any additional taxes the government puts up (because as a predominantly employed class, it has no choice but to pay taxes), takes the full brunt of any increases in fuel and basic commodities, is now having to send their children to public schools instead of private ones, and relatively, has the weakest voice in government.

    to generalize and call them a morally bankrupt, gloria-supporting bunch is unfair. i would like to believe that there are many middle-class folks out there with developed political consciousness.

  5. Bencard

    the drama is still unfolding but it looks like cvj’s hereo, hugo chavez, is in trouble of facing venezuela’s own version of our edsa 1 & 2. he came to power with the label “socialist” and now he is turning into just another garden-variety fascist, using force to stifle dissent. he may yet succeed in doing a castro and turn her country into another cuba.

  6. justice league

    Jeg,

    Recall is slightly different from impeachment and initiative.

    An official can be recalled for “loss of confidence”. The voters don’t even have to prove anything there.

    The 7 members of the minority group of the Concom proposed adding the power of recall over the legislators, VP and the President. We currently have it only over local officials.

    Which is one other thing I hate about the Abueva Concom recommendations. They proposed a parliamentary form of government but still did not consider giving us the power of recall over legislators who will also become executive officials of that new form of government.

    Hugo Chavez of Venezuela actually underwent a recall (some might say even before his time as there is supposed to be a time period BEFORE it can be done).

    Unfortunately for his detractors (which some might say include a foreign power); he won again.

    Recall is done by petition by a minimum number of concerned voters.

    In some cases, an actual recall must be asked through a vote by the concerned voters of the area. If the recall is affirmed, an election for the replacement is subsequently done. It thus gives rise to the official needing a majority vote to remain while the successor can win by plurality.

    In some other case, the petition is already the recall and the official concerned is automatically entered as a candidate for the subsequent elections.

    In certain instances, the concerned official is actually PREVENTED from resigning.

    I’m in favor of the power of recall.

  7. justice league

    Ooooopppps

    What I meant was that the “initiators of the recall don’t have to prove anything there.”

  8. cvj

    toniong pagod, where are they? in any other country, it would have been a no-brainer to withdraw support for Gloria after Hello Garci came out. Instead, the middle class has by and large chosen to remain apathetic and ‘move on’. All those things you mentioned can be cited as mitigating circumstances but i think the Filipino middle class will remain indicted before history just like their counterparts in 1972. Even this late in the game, you can see from the latest thread that at least one of them is buying the allegation that ‘there was cheating on both sides’.

  9. Bencard

    and who do you think is this puny blogger judging the entire middle class as though he is better than all of them? the overwhelming majority of the so-called middle class decided for themselves that they didn’t want to “withdraw” their support from GMA because that was what was good for the country, and that “Hello Garci” was a non-factor and that’s that. that’s what happened and let no one re-write history this early – some of us are not gullible, i think.

  10. cvj

    As the election results have shown, Hello Garci was a factor for the rest. The middle class will find out that ignoring cheating in the elections just because it was not their candidate who was cheated is myopic and ultimately self-defeating since it has weakened the institutions that it needs to keep our society working. As a group, it still has to learn the basics of reciprocity needed to maintain social cohesion. As it is, our stock of social capital has been further depleted under Arroyo. In practical terms, this will lead to higher transaction costs that will hinder productive business activity.

  11. Bencard

    speak for yoursel, cvj. stop acting as the spokesman for all the middle class (“our stock of social capital has been further depleted…”). YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO PRESUME THAT THEY ALL THINK THE WAY YOU DO!

  12. cvj

    i don’t know how you could mischaracterize a personal observation as an attempt to act as a ‘spokesman’.

    our stock of social capital has been depleted by the collective disrespect that the middle class has shown towards the vote of the masa. when the latter are finally able to reassert themselves as a majority (either democratically or through force), do you think they would be predisposed to respect our rights as a minority after the historical example that we’ve shown?

  13. Bencard

    are you saying that after your undefined “masa” is able to reassert itself as majority, it will abolish human rights, due process, rule of law, and respect for minority’s rights, because that’s the “example” it learned from us? you might get what you are wishing for if the so-called masa is indoctrinated and led by vindictive demagogues who have only one thing in their heart – revenge.

  14. cvj

    Bencard, yes and the only thing stopping this from happening (aside from enlisting Palparan and his methods which will ultimately be counterproductive)is if each group exercises mutual respect. Since the middle class is supposed to be the vanguard of democracy, we are supposed to lead by example. Otherwise, we are tempting fate by facilitating the breakdown of the social contract.

  15. Bencard

    then let’s make “middle class” out of the “masa” – let’s make them learn how to improve their lives by relying on themselves (not solely on the government), make their own little “fortunes” not by taking what isn’t their’s but by earning their own.

  16. cvj

    I agree, but before we try to convince them not to take what is not theirs, we have to give back what we kept which isn’t ours.

  17. Bencard

    i don’t know about you but i assure you, i earned whatever i have the old fashioned way – by working for it.

  18. tonio

    cvj:

    what specifically is this thing or things that we have to give back to the masses?

    and why must you make the middle class pay for it? is it because we’re the easiest targets? is it because we lack the wherewithal (capacity for violence, political clout, etc.) to defend what we have rightfully worked hard for to earn?

    and while i do not mean to offend, the masses’ sense of entitlement to government freebies is nothing more than a sign of dependent behaviour. taking the fish, and not bothering to learn how to catch your own, as it were.

    as for the middle class, are we not allowed our own voice? should we side with the “masa” now because they numerically outnumber us? should we now fear their vengeance because we didn’t go with the anarchy they espoused?

    it is precisely because the middle class has the benefit of a more informed view that they acted (or not acted) as they did. we know how recordings can be tampered with. we know how extra-national forces virtually hold us hostage with their bond ratings and travel advisories. yet we also know the sting of betrayal. we witnessed the perpetuation of patronage politics and our government turn a blind eye to corruption. but we took all of this into account. and acted the way we did. this is why a great many of the middle class were also disillusioned by the politics of this country.

    again, i am not denying that this government has a lot to pay for. but do we exact this price, again, with blood in the streets? or do we find another way?

    this recent vote, a process enshrined our basic law, is what the “silent” middle class used to declare its choice. while i may only speak of my own experience, when i voted in caloocan a few weeks ago, i was surrounded by the middle class, hard-working blue collar folk, college students, entrepreneurs who took their delivery jeeps (and their relatives and neighbours) with them to the polling precinct.

    it is these same people that volunteered to watch the vote, and watch they do. because they know, WE know, that a society is not governed on the street. it is governed by the rule of law, and such rule applies to everyone. so we sit here, with baited breath, hoping that at least once in recent history, the clear and honest voice of the people is heard and respected. never mind what anyone thinks of the peoples’ electoral choices. such choices should be respected. it is our right in a democracy to express such choice.

    i agree cvj, the masses are disenfranchised. they deserve a decent standard of living, and all the opportunities to work towards a better future. but getting them out of poverty is not something you assign to any one group. i believe responsibility should follow capacity, we all need to help, and those who can help more should (dare i say be made to) help more.

  19. cvj

    what specifically is this thing or things that we have to give back to the masses? – Tonio

    I was referring to their right to vote for their leaders without being cheated. The tacit support of the middle class is what allows Gloria Arroyo’s administration to continue to exist. As a member of that class, i think such behavior is irresponsible and short sighted. We should definitely fear the consequences of our inaction because, despite our supposedly more informed view we have signalled that it is expedience and not principle that matters. So far, we have not used our voice beyond expressing parochial concerns.

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