There’s something in this report, which I find very, very troubling:
“This is now the strategy of Team Unity, to have the CoCs deferred even if the defects of the CoC are not as substantial as those pointed out by the opposition. They are now taking the offensive stance,” Leila de Lima, counsel for the GO’s Cayetano, told reporters…
In a move that can further delay the proclamation of winners, the TU is filing with the Comelec an appeal for a recount in Metro Manila and 15 provinces where the GO dominated the canvassing.
At a press conference, TU deputy spokesperson Tonypet Albano said Monday the TU move to direct its lawyer, Macalintal, to seek a recanvassing of the votes in GO bailiwicks could lead to a “failure of elections” in these areas.
These areas could affect 7 million votes.
Albano said a retabulation of CoCs would further delay the proclamation of winners.
Macalintal is expected to file up to 130 cases of election fraud with the Comelec against the GO, using affidavits of witnesses, tampered election returns, similar thumb marks, wrong tallies and election documents without watermarks.
Albano said the TU’s appeal was not unlike the plea of the GO in the Maguindanao elections in which the opposition claimed the administration cheated in forcing a 12-0 sweep of the Top 12.
“We’re just doing to them what they are doing to us. They are questioning how we swept Maguindanao. So we will also question them how they swept us in their bailiwicks like Makati and General Santos City,” said Albano.
“If the Comelec granted the GO’s appeal, I don’t see why we should not be granted the same,” he said…
Albano only named Makati, San Juan, Caloocan and Pasig as the main targets of its appeal for retabulation of the CoCs.
This is scorched-earth governance again. But is it a serious proposal or:
1. a diversionary tactic to take pressure off Mindanao, or a delaying tactic,
2. both a diversionary tactic (since pressure from the public is intense) and really something being cooked up? Read the Newsbreak account of the latest monkey business in Lanao (and other reports, too). Watch this video, too.
Anyway, Tony Abaya says it’s crucial Namfrel conducts a 100% count, this time around (as Civilization of Love points out, via a GMA News report, Namfrel’s running out of steam). Businessmen, the Business Mirror reports, have already factored in an opposition senate, anyway.
The Manila Times details the latest twist in the de Venecia-Villafuerte intramurals: Villafuerte angling to be minority leader? Is the situation contained, or can it spin out of control? I’ve learned to read Bel Cunanan for insights into how the Speaker is currently thinking.
First, she gives a snapshot of the motivations of congressmen like Luis Villafuerte:
The floating of Garcia’s name came as a surprise, as many had suspected that Villafuerte himself, one of two brilliant Bicolanos (the other being Rep. Edcel Lagman) who fought the two impeachment moves against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, would challenge De Venecia in De Venecia’s quest to create history by running for an unprecedented 5th term as Speaker.
But in the days immediately following the elections, rumors circulated that Villafuerte wasn’t interested in the speakership, but would gladly settle as chair of the most powerful committee on appropriations. Another congressman being eyed as a possible challenger to De Venecia was Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles, his capable majority floor leader, but then logic seemed to dictate that it would be better for Nograles to seek to succeed De Venecia, who will be on his last term this time.
Then, she suggests that there’s larger, tactical considerations at stake:
The floating of Garcia’s name may actually be rooted in deeper issues. Villafuerte said in the media that a new leader could strike a better rapprochement with the Senate, to work out a more effective turnout of laws. The inference was that after De Venecia unsuccessfully pushed Charter change, his relationship with the Senate could be tough to mend. But a cooperative Senate may be a pipe dream, given that the four or five presidential hopefuls in the Senate are not expected to give President Arroyo a chance to look better.
At the heart of this new challenge could be the Charter change issue itself. De Venecia is perceived as not giving up on Charter change as the vehicle for economic take-off, preferably led by himself, whereas Pabling Garcia fought the people’s initiative right up to the Supreme Court.
And here’s the zinger: basically, she wonders if it isn’t time to call the President’s bluff, since the speakership is a position the president determines:
Ultimately, the speakership issue, as all House members know, is one vote, that of the President. Villafuerte was quoted as opining that this issue is “an internal matter” to the House, and that Ms Arroyo would stay “neutral.” Most pundits would agree that the speakership issue is directly related to her own perception of her survival.
If President Arroyo thinks that a third impeachment move against her has utterly no chance, she could strengthen the candidate of Kampi, the group she built up to push her personal agenda. This group could be expected to push for Charter change to try to keep her beyond 2010. In case she swings support to Garcia, she should calibrate her moves very well, as abandoning the man who rallied to her no less than three times, on July 8, 2005 and in two impeachment attempts, would make her look very Machiavellian indeed, confirming what her worst critics have long been asserting.
Overseas, political excitement brewing in Thailand. And Australia and the Philippines poised to ink a security pact.
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