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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    • Nick on May 25, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Excellent, just excellent, we are all on the same page. Lanao Del Sur, as I say in my blog, is at the moment… GROUND ZERO…

    • Nick on May 25, 2007 at 11:49 am

    The fate of Trillanes and Pimentel is at stake.

    The battleground is Lanao Del Sur

    The playbook is there for everyone to see.

    The AFP and PNP have already been dispatched… and the BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors) have been handpicked for the job.. Palparan and Lumibao are ‘observers’.. Bedol and Sumalipao have already proved their worth..

    Let all the watchdogs and citizen groups realize that all their hardwork will be for naught if Lanao Del Sur is able to be the stage of yet another “Maguindanao Miracle”..

    • Jon Mariano on May 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I think that the cheating has been accomplished and when the counting is done, those TU bets looking from the outside will end up inside the the top 12.

  1. Recto, Zubiri, Pichay, and Defensor are in a mad scramble against each other, unwittingly. Pimentel and Trillanes are no pushovers either. The eyes of the entire nation are focused on Lanao and Maguindanao, meanwhile.

    TU may just end up with tu (two) indeed. If it will come to that, what a prophetic name.

    • tagabukid on May 25, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    TU may just end up with tu (two) indeed. If it will come to that, what a prophetic name.

    TU = Two Unli?


    • gabriela on May 25, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    They gave themselves that name, didn’t they? TU [tu]. So from the very start, they knew they will only be two in the winning circle. That’s how bright the boys are. These tu TU’s are the ones who did not really quite kiss up GMA.

    If the reamining votes in Mindanao are only about 300,000 and Trillanes got 0 votes, the closest contender would not overtake him would he?

    • baycas on May 25, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Pokpok – an onomatopoeic slang word for a prostitute, bitch or slut. According to a blog, salba’s finest, pokpok came from the sound of a hammer as a nail is driven through a wood or something. The use of a hammer, in turn, was derived from the American slang word screw, for sexual intercourse. [The ever-creative Filipinos, I think, improved the coining of the slang word as the term pokpok when pronounced will right away suggest the meaning…(in contrast to roskas for screw).]

    Anyway, Salbadong continued on his definition…the function of the nail can be cited as one of the major properties of a screw (one of Archimedes’ major principle about simple machine), nails and hammer produces the sound “pok”, and prostitutes are used to be screwed; instead of using pok-pok-pok-pok-pok, some just used two “pok”’s to tell that she already is and indeed a prostitute.

    …and I’ve always thought pokpok is somewhat a misnomer…plok-plok could’ve been the right term…

    • Francis on May 25, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    This will be a great boon to our local tourism industry!

    Let’s all go to Lanao and witness it firsthand!

    • supremo on May 25, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    “If the reamining votes in Mindanao are only about 300,000 and Trillanes got 0 votes, the closest contender would not overtake him would he?”

    This is really a mess!

    The Senatorial election must be overhauled. Return bloc voting. Assign an electoral vote per province and city. The 12 candidates with the most popular vote in each each province and city get 1 electoral votes. The 12 candidates with the most electoral votes win nationally. These will shorten the counting of the votes and avoid hocus-pocus Abalos.

    • camry on May 26, 2007 at 12:33 am


    I support your idea.

    Otherwise another way is to elect senators by regional representation. I believed the nationwide way of selection has outlived its purpose & relevance in the present excercise.

    • cvj on May 26, 2007 at 1:16 am

    IMHO, any step towards localization of the Senate is a step backwards. We have to get used to making decisions as an entire nation of Filipinos and not just as Bicolanos, Cebuanos or Tagalogs. As a concession to counting logistics, maybe we can shift to an American Idol style voting system where the people will vote for their favorite Senatorial Candidate and with the top 12 Candidates being chosen. One Senator for national interests, one Congressman for local interests and one party list representative for issue based politics.

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 1:21 am

    Regional representation is a redundancy. It simply enlarges the parish. I like nationally elected senators because they serve a twofold purpose

    1. They balance parochial interests with national interest during legislative deliberations

    2. They have the same constituency as the president, In that sense, they are on equal but separate footing. The president cannot claim the high ground claiming only he/she has a national mandate when dealing with issues of national concern.

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 1:27 am

    I don’t like block voting. It’s a buy-one-take-all system. I want the right to pick and choose candidates based on their individual merits.

    And, with our current system the way it is, administration tickets will always have too much of an advantage. Plus cheating might become simpler.

    • supremo on May 26, 2007 at 1:32 am

    I’m also for nationally elected senators but counting should be overhauled. Bloc voting can be implemented right away without an amendment to the constitution. I think the electoral votes may not also require an amendment. I’m not so sure though.

    SECTION 2. The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines , as may be provided by law.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 2:06 am

    mlq3, thanks for pointing out the glaring contrast in the senatorial and congressional/ local election results. So why the feeding frenzy in this blog among the Gloria haters as though she has been “massively” (to use Tamano’s hyperbole) repudiated by the “people”, making her “impeachment” a virtual certainty?

    abe margallo, in another thread, talks about the (anticipated) election of Trillianes, Cayetano and Escudero, as a clear rejection of GMA, paving the way for another impeachment attempt. What about the impending election of Angara and Arroyo and possibly Recto, Zubiri, and Pichay (if not Defensor) whose tallied votes are within striking distance from Pimentel’s and Honasan’s? Are the votes for these TU candidates don’t count as part of the “voice of the people”? How about the “rejection” of Osmena, Roco, & Coseteng (did i miss any name)? How come nobody in the hate-Gloria club talks about them?

    On Chasing Sass’ query as to why the last three president’s have “mediocre” plurality rather a clear majority, the simple answer is, as I have pointed out before, the kakamemee idea of eliminating the two-party system – thus enabling half a dozen or more candidates vying for the presidency in the same electoral process. What a “brilliant” idea!

    • mlq3 on May 26, 2007 at 2:36 am

    just some quick notes as it’s 2am, re: senate elections.

    i’ve written elsewhere on the rationale for a nationally-elected senate and indeed, the rationale included the need for a national perspective -the experience with the prewar unicameral national assembly was that it didn’t do anything unless the president acted basically as the combined speaker and majority floor leader, and the national assembly was hideously prone to obsessing over purely parochial issues.

    bloc voting was an essential part of the establishment of a nationally-elected senate, to ensure a strong party role in the elections (even then it was foreseen that otherwise, the danger was the temptation for individual senators to spend fabulously for election, as a control over popularity vs. merit, etc.). but we forget that bloc voting, from the time it was established in 1941 until abolished in 1951 (because of the avelino-quirino intramurals) was optional. that is why, in the first national senatorial elections even with bloc voting (that ensured a shut-out of the opposition), there were still rankings. offhand i can only remember the top four, in terms of votes:

    1. claro m. recto
    2. manuel roxas
    3. quintin paredes
    4. jose yulo

    but the senators (24) elected had to draw lots. the first eight would serve the full six years; the next eight, four years, and the last eight, something like two. this would ensure that 1/3 of the senate would be up for election periodically. the war cancelled the 1943 elections and it wasn’t until after 1946, i believe, that the cycle was properly established. that’s why in the 1946-1971 period, eight senators were elected at a time.

    these two points point to the easiest reforms to institute:

    1. bloc voting
    2. elect 8, not 12, senators, at a time.

    the wisdom of no. 2 in particular seems to me, strong. since the senate was restored, it’s really the top 8 that are indisputable. it’s forcing an election of 12 that leads to the scramble for the last slots. practical, experienced politicians came up with the 1941 system and then, as now, they probably knew that 8 is about the number that can be unquestionably elected in a national slate.

    i am open to a regionally-elected senate, but only in the context of federalism. if we stay unitary, a nationally-elected senate makes sense.

    i saw prof. felipe miranda (of pulse asia) last night and asked him, in terms of public opinion, what’s the support for the senate?

    “8 out of 10 Filipinos are for keeping the senate as it is.”

    • mlq3 on May 26, 2007 at 3:08 am

    bencard, you have to go into voting behavior, and there you use political sense from observing past elections (senatorial and local), the surveys, what people say (anecdotal evidence) etc.

    first, that impeachment is a probability or even a possibility is a stretch, my own reasons being that if the 13th congress rules are adopted again (each chamber of congress adopts its own rules, the house for sending up impeachment, the senate for trying impeachment cases), why even bother. i am for the old rules, for ex. as used in the quirino impeachment (closer to american rules), i personally think the outcome would still be the same, but a political problem would be reduced in terms of the president at least demonstrating good faith and not just salvation through pork. but that’s just me, and that’s one of my biggest frustrations with the president’s tactics: it’s demeaned the house, and gotten her off by crass bribery. but hey, that can be part of the political process too. i think the public’s been sensible enough to demand impeachment as its preferred option, and everyone should have trusted the public more.

    second, to the house vs. senate results. as i’ve argued, no president, ever, including two of our most unpopular presidents, quirino and marcos, have ever lost the house, not a single president did -their control survived even the ill-fated reelection bids of quirino, garcia, and macapagal. that shows the particular dynamic of that chamber.

    the senate, however, since it’s the only part of government where officials are subject to the same constituency as the president, essentially allows a president to run by proxy, particularly so mid-term. a president’s slate appeals for votes to a public that measures the candidates according to the same biases, moods, etc. as it does presidents -and has been a consistent barometer of what would befall a president thereafter. quirino had the 1951 debacle, he was out of office in 1953; magsaysay did fabulously (as did roxas before him), had they lived they would almost certainly have been relected; garcia and macapagal obtained 5/8 and 4/8 respectively in their mid-terms, they lost close races with their competitors. marcos did very well in 1967, he was reelected in 1969, but the 1971 debacle showed his time was up -and his version of chacha was blowing up in the papers almost every day.

    third, taking the whole, above, and you’re talking about a political culture refined, in senate terms, for 66 years, everyone knows what it’s about, not least the president, the senators, and the electorate and the media. you look at the bellweather candidates, the ones that have been singled out for praise or abuse by the incumbent (any incumbent) and see how they do. in this case, cayetano and trillanes. the palace was out to get them by hook or crook. both are likely to make it. a vote for these senators would definitely be a very personal vote against the ones making them miserable -the president and her coterie of advisors. others in the opposition were elected on their own merits but also for achieving prominence in opposing the president: escudero, lascson, etc. gringo has a franchise on the macho vote, and was locked up prior to elections, adding to his legend: prof. miranda says the electorate when surveyed, votes for the gringos of this world along two lines: they belong to the 20% of the population that supports reform by means of military rule, or they believe such individuals should be given a chance to walk their talk in a position of civilian responsibility. as for joker arroyo and angara, they have never been close intimates of the president, are known for speaking their mind or not sticking by presidents through thick and thin, thus, they’re voted both on their merits and the trust they’ve earned over decades of public service. you then look at the candidates closely identified with the president, who have supported her wholeheartedly, who have, all else considered, equal or even superior qualifications to the opposition (zubiri, defensor, recto) and they sank like stones: defensor and zubiri have themselves said on tv their candidacies took a big hit because they’re identified with the president. no ifs and buts about it.

    the trust arroyo and angara enjoys makes them immune to switching camps or running with the president. not so with sotto or oreta, who left a defined constituency to join a new group that they’d demonized. they would lose more old voters than they gained. and a younger electorate looking for younger leaders was not about to waste time on john o. or nikky coseteng. roco simply didn’t run a campaign on par with those run by her late husband.

    striking distance may remain for defensor, zubiri, pichay, but it’s taken so long and the news keeps getting so messy, that again, victory for one will be pyhrric; for all, unbelievable, and people will grumble and that’s it.

    and bencard, i am 100% convinced of the need to have presidential run off elections, as i think this would still be more demcratic than trying to revive the two party sytem.

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 3:12 am

    So how does one explain the phenomenon where the same voters rejected TUTA candidates but voted for local candidates syompathetic or allied with Gloria?

    You can’t bifurcate that vote on a rural versus urban basis because the voter is the same and the phenomenon is nationwide and across gender, age and economic classes.

    • Francis on May 26, 2007 at 3:28 am

    We are on a “feeding frenzy” because we know GMAs superpowers will be in “check” if the GO wins the majority of the seat in the senate.

    That is the same reason why JPMorgan has upgraded our economic outlook from FLAT to BULLISH.

    • Francis on May 26, 2007 at 3:43 am

    BTW, GO never bragged that all 11 candidates will win, only TU did. Now they have eggs on their faces.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 4:44 am

    mlq3, rather than a runoff election (which could be an unecessary waste of energy and resources, not to mention the concomitant moral problems related to cheating and killing), why not re-institute the U.S. style conventions to select the best that each party could offer within a strong two-party system? Presidential wannabees can be winnowed beforehand until two shining stars are left for the electorate to choose from. At least, some measure of assurance will be there that the people will choose the best from among the best. Popular but shallow incompetents will have a slim chance of making a nuisance of themselves come election time. Political parties will rise in triumph, or fall by the wayside, on the strength or weakness of the candidate they offer to the electorate as well as the program of governance they espouse.

    • Nick on May 26, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Bencard, I’ve actually wondered about the same thing. How would this be introduced?

    And considering the different parties at the moment, how do you suggest this could play out in the next few years, if indeed this was feasible?

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 6:31 am

    Nick, the way things are, it looks like we would need a constitutional amendment to replace the current multi-party system, among other things. A lot of statesmanship and political will are needed from our current leaders plus, of course, a strong public demand.

    • camry on May 26, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Wait until 2010 and we will see more political parties.

    • Nick on May 26, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Exactly what Bencard may be alluding to, with regards to “political will”… How can the current set of politicians, both local and national, consolidate themselves into just two parties?

    • cvj on May 26, 2007 at 10:33 am

    How can we move towards issue-based politics if we straitjacket people’s choices into two parties? That would be as meaningful as having a ‘Team A’ and ‘Team B’ as seen in Survivor or other reality TV shows. (I realize that under today’s multiparty set-up, we are far from being issue-based, but that does not justify taking a further step back.) We may eventually end up with two parties but it should be a product of our own history (of voter’s choices over time) rather than imposed by Constitutional Ammendment.

    The additional cost of a run-off election must be weighed against the benefits of a clear mandate directly from the people. In these matters, we should not be penny-wise and pound foolish.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 11:06 am

    now, cvj, if that is not a “strawman’s” argument i don’t know what is. read my post, try to understand it, analyze it, then put forth your reasons why you think it should be done “over time” by historical evolution rather than immediately. Meanwhile, just live with bar room brawl of an election (regular and/or run-off) every six years where you have a dozen candidates fighting it out and the most popular and well-financed (albeit intellectually-challenged and platform-less) candidate is the last man/woman standing.

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    The multi-party system is superior to the two-party system. And the convention/primaries system is too limited. It’s like having only two nurseries to cultivate two varieties of the same flower. In America there is only one guiding principle/philosophy/ideology. The two parties differ only in the how. Let a hundred flowers bloom in a hundred greenhouses. That way we have a really wide field to choose from. And then have a run-off between the two top finishers.

    • supremo on May 26, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    I rather have the mayhem of a multi-party system than the monopolistic and oligarchic 2 party system of pre-martial law era.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    buencamino, the problem is the flowers that bloom in your greenhouses are mostly kantutay.

    supremo, you cannot promote your idea by using labels. articulate and, if you cannot, just forget it.

    • Mike on May 26, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    I thank Manolo for bringing up this very interesting topic. Reading the differing views here, I realize that a presidential election with run-off – as the French had recently – is much better than having just one round to elect one out of a dozen presidentiables. A chief executive with a strong and clear mandate will not be hobbled by credibility questions. And then we can really “move on.”

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm


    like your little Dubya smells like roses?

    Your last presidential election was a choice between a shit and an asshole. Which one did you pick?

    • UP n student on May 26, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Others who did not belong to the two US dominant political parties have campaigned for the US presidency, e.g. Ross Perot, Ralph Nader.

    • cvj on May 26, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Bencard, ok i’ve re-read your post and this is how i understand your message when stripped of the flowery language. You want a constitutional amendment limiting the number of parties to two (i.e. Team A and Team B). The members of each party would then decide who runs for President. Underlying your proposal is the assumption that the party (whether Team A or Team B) is able to pick ‘shining stars’ and avoid ‘shallow incompetents’. (The basis for this assumption is not stated.)

    In answer to Nick’s question to you on how to go about limiting the number of parties to two, you offer no mechanics beyond vague generalities(‘statesmanship’, ‘political will) and some wishful thinking (‘strong public demand’).

    Regarding your question on why i think ‘it should be done over time‘, i have to clarify that while i am open to the possibility of a two-party tradition eventually evolving as a result of repeated elections, i don’t necessarily think we should evolve in that direction. Even the United States Constitution does not mandate that there should only be the Republican and Democratic parties. It just happened that way over time. (According to wikipedia, the tendency for two parties to emerge in systems with plurality voting has been identified by Maurice Duverger and is known as Duverger’s law.)

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    cvj, one thing (very important) that you omitted from my post re mechanics of how to go about a revival of pre-election winnowing process, with a lot of fine-tuning as we go along, is CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDEMENT to rectify the grandiose mistake of the post Marcos experiment.

    A duplicative national election exercises would be nothing more that a duplication of the same alleged cheating, vote-buying, dagdag-bawas, goons and gold, mudslinging, comelec budget, cost of voting (transportation to the polling places, lost time at work, etc.), among other problems. but the biggest concern would be that the likes of Estrada and FPJ (maybe even Susan Roces), Trillianes or Honasan or God forbids, Cayetano, would constitute the first two who would get the plurality and would then slug it out, leaving the hapless elector with a choice between the beast and the abyss.

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 9:24 pm


    “but the biggest concern would be that the likes of Estrada and FPJ (maybe even Susan Roces), Trillianes or Honasan or God forbids, Cayetano, ”

    You forgot to include Gloria and her spawn

    • cvj on May 26, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    Bencard, if you re-read my comment, you would notice that i acknowledged your proposal for a Constitutional Ammendment in the first paragraph, second sentence. That part i understood. When i say that you haven’t explained the mechanics, what i meant was that you haven’t defined the process by which such an amendment will limit the choices to two parties. Will your ammendment limit the parties to Lakas and Kampi? Nationalista and Liberal? NPC and PDP-Laban? How do you decide which two parties will be accredited to field presidential candidates?

    Regarding the concerns in your second paragraph, if we clean up the COMELEC and make an example out of Gloria and her generals, the next set of political leaders will have less reason to act with impunity during elections and in an honest election, if it turns out that the run-off boils down to a contest between Trillanes and Cayetano, then you have to abide by the choice of the people. That’s how a democracy is supposed to work and the ongoing attempt by some (mostly from our upper and middle classes) to stack the deck to avoid such an outcome violates democratic principles.

    • vic on May 26, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Bencard suggestion of Party nominated or elected leadership and Party nominated candidates makes every sense in what I been oft repeating as the “in-house process of elimination”.

    This is the process in our Parliamentary system of strong Party adherence, where the party could go up or down on the strength or weakness of its leader or candidates. It also possible in a Presidential system, and in some instances be endorsed by the Leader and still be approved by Local association membership.

    Just to cite one example, the last Liberal Party Leadership convention where Stephan Dion was elected Leader, there were several “outstanding” Candidates nominated that anyone could be just as good. Mr. Ignatieff, the runner up is a noted Harvard Professor (although candidates don’t advertise their academic qualifications, instead their programs and policies)and Gerard Kennedy, no college education, but distinguished himself as an Ontario Cabinet Minister. And Candidates representing a party will also have to submit to election by Membership of every Riding or Constituency.

    Before they are ready for election, most candidates had already gone through the process where the only possible winners are nominated to face the final judgement. And it is the memberships’ contributions and that of the public that they are going to use for the campaign.

    And usually if the Leader senses that he or she is a liability to party or can not improve the Party performance, just give up for a better leader or the Members can always call for a recall.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    buencamino, be my guest. but that’s your own, not mine. re “shit” and “asshole”, how can you not like that? they are sources of your food, ain’t they?

    cvj, are you expecting me to give you details on how to effect a Cha- Cha? Why don’t we leave it to the “experts”? Afterall, I’m only a “two-bit” lawyer living in the States.

    • Bencard on May 26, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    and, cvj, i stand corrected on your mention of constitutional amendment. my apologies.

    • xavier on May 26, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    The assertion that the institution of the Senate “matters” because it plays a key role in our democracy implies that they, of all our institutions, are the true vanguards of democracy. I find this quite disturbing.
    True, a number of high profile cases involving graft and to a large extent the alleged assault by Malacañang to our civil liberties had been dealt in the Senate individually or collectively by the Senators. And if they act as a counterweight to the Executive branch is hardly surprising at all given the true function of this branch of government, a concept we copied from America since 1946.
    Let us take look at the fact that in the Senate seats up for grabs in this 2007 Senatorial elections, around 10 out the 12 possible winners are riding high on their platform of peace and order and against corruption.
    Critics of the administration (to the Executive Branch to be more precise) are patting themselves in their imminent landslide victory as a vindication of the people’s distaste for Gloria. Are they holier than thou Gloria?
    But fiscalization and expose alone are not entirely to their credit and their burden to carry and crusade as the emergence of civil societies in the post Marcos era, the inclusion of marginalized political parties in the House, our exuberant free press which is often called the fourth estate, the heightened awareness of our powerful business community and even our politicized military leave no doubt for avenues in the investigation of graft and corruption in all fronts.
    So we should ask ourselves, is this all of what is left of Philippine politics. What about the politics of governance? The accountability of the Senate to play a key role in bringing about unity, stability and economic progress to our country? Are these men and women elected in the august chamber the true representatives of our people?
    Political columnist and UP Political Science professor Alex Magno is aft in describing that every senator is bereft of party identification and too impervious to party discipline and see themselves as above the occupant in mere Malacañang to becoming a dysfunctional unit and we are forced to deal with each one of them who see themselves having autonomous power.
    Its is quite a pity to think about it – That the Fertilizer fund was hatched in order to fuel the GMA campaign that’s 728 million pesos gone bye- bye and the combined Presidential and senatorial elections campaign spending in 2004 amounted to a staggering 1.2 billion pesos! That’s 1,200,000,000.00! Did you lose count of the zeroes?
    This 2007 election alone, each camp could have easily spent around 1.8 billion pesos each in their campaign sorties for both national and local. A senatorial candidate alone is allowed to spend 150 millions pesos for the 2 months campaign. That’s a lot of money for a pittance 35,000 pesos monthly salary and even for a 200 million pesos pork barrel reward.
    So what else is new? An oppositionist Senate battling the Executive, and the people’s money being wasted in the skirmishes, each side trying to topple and cut each other’s throat.
    I see the ghost of Charter Change slowly materializing to get us out of this nightmare…

    • xavier on May 26, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    typo corrections:

    …Political columnist and UP Political Science professor Alex Magno is “aft” in describing that…

    should be:

    …Political columnist and UP Political Science professor Alex Magno is “correct” in describing that…

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 11:22 pm


    I am not one to question an expert on coprology. But seriously, who tasted better – Bush or Kerry?

    • xavier on May 26, 2007 at 11:22 pm


    …Political columnist and UP Political Science professor Alex Magno is “aft” in describing that…

    should be:

    …Political columnist and UP Political Science professor Alex Magno is “right” in describing that…

    • manuelbuencamino on May 26, 2007 at 11:58 pm


    Two things you have to know so you don’t fall for the bullshit of Alex Magno.

    1. The duty of every senator, or any politician for that matter, is to country first. Party comes a far second. The Senate is a co-equal branch of government. As a co-equal branch it is supposed to serve as check and balance to the other two co-equal branches. The Senate is mandated to exercise oversight functions. If you have senators who serve party before country then what you and Magno want is what the Lower House has become – an adjunct and a tool of the executive branch. It has surrendered its co-equal status.

    2. Magno is a worm.

    • mlq3 on May 27, 2007 at 12:02 am

    xavier, your views assumes checks and balances is unecessary, for that, see:

    bencard, i think we should bear in mind not even prior to martial law, here, and not even in the usa, have two parties been the limit. the rules favor two parties, but third parties and groups and even more, have existed prior to martial law, and at one point resulted in a plurality president, garcia, in 1957.

    as for the idea of party conventions, i’m all for it, but we have to bear in mind how the effort to reestablish them failed when the LDP convention nominated Ramon Mitra, Jr. and FVR refused to abide by it, and bolted the party.

    • cvj on May 27, 2007 at 12:25 am

    cvj, are you expecting me to give you details on how to effect a Cha- Cha? Why don’t we leave it to the “experts”? – Bencard

    Not on how to effect a Cha-Cha per se, rather, i was hoping that you could provide details on how you would go about the process of eliminating the excess parties. (For example, will the COMELEC be given the task of choosing which would be the two contending parties?) Once we know that, we can then determine if this is feasible within the framework of a democratic system. Yes, the ‘experts’ (whoever they are) can provide their inputs but they are not exempted from explaining themselves clearly and providing sound justifications.

    No apologies needed, i can see how that could be missed.

    What about the politics of governance? The accountability of the Senate to play a key role in bringing about unity, stability and economic progress to our country? – Xavier

    You are again trying to resurrect the artificial dichotomy between fiscalization and governance. Fiscalization is a key element of good governance as it helps keep impunity in check. Unity for its own sake would increase the probability that we will arrive at the wrong destination faster. The system of checks and balances is what helps preserve stability. Economic progress requires credible institutions and institutions become less credible when they start acting with impunity which points us back to the need for fiscalization.

    This 2007 election alone, each camp could have easily spent around 1.8 billion pesos each in their campaign sorties for both national and local. A senatorial candidate alone is allowed to spend 150 millions pesos for the 2 months campaign. – Xavier

    As to the cost of the campaign, why focus on the Senate race alone? JDV is estimated by political strategists to have spent 500 million pesos on his fight for a Congressional seat against Benjie Lim. (By contrast, Trillanes, who is running for the Senate, spent far less.) There’s no assurance that spending will decrease with a parliamentary set-up. On the other hand, it will be easier for someone to buy the Prime Minister’s post since he/she only has to bribe a majority of the members of parliament as the people will no longer have a direct say in the matter.

    • mlq3 on May 27, 2007 at 12:34 am

    personally, i’d be happy just reverting back to the 1935 constitution, but that’s just me. indonesia did a similar thing under sukarno.

    • justice league on May 27, 2007 at 1:10 am


    One of the things I hated about Abueva’s Concom recommendations were that they were trying to place party policies in a Parliamentary government which I felt in toto was not suited for us.

    I’m in favor of strengthening the party system.

    But the rules that you earlier said favored 2 parties must be laws passed by Congress because I don’t sense such favorable provisions in the 1935 Charter.

    If those are indeed laws then we have to get those laws back too even if we revert back to the 1935 Charter.

    But then we also face problems like the cop out of the SC on judicial review, declaration of Martial law, etc…

    • Pilipinoparin on May 27, 2007 at 1:10 am

    from inquirer….
    “Five Bohol towns that delivered a 12-0 sweep for the
    administration’s Team Unity (TU) senatorial slate will each get P 2
    million worth of projects as a reward from Malacañang.”

    Is this legal? Is this ethical? What can we do about it?

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