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May 28

TU: Proclaim failure of elections in Metro Manila

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.

Uh-oh!

Overseas, political excitement brewing in Thailand. And Australia and the Philippines poised to ink a security pact.

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48 comments

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  1. takesaku

    failure of elections?
    more like failure of comelec.

  2. toniong pagod

    it’s all tactical maneuvering still at this point. i have no solid comments yet.

    have to read…

  3. inodoro ni emilie

    don’t they get it? maguindanao is both a statistical and electoral aberration: apart from a tu sweep, singson had to top it!

    with malacanang insulting gensan’s intelligence by fielding pacquiao, why would maca-linta still be surprised by go’s sweep in the city?

  4. marichulambino

    Hi Manolo! thanks for mentioning my blog post yesterday. by the way, ANC today deserves an award for best scoop or “exclusive stories” for their Monday reports on: “snowpaked” ER’s, and Boy Macarambon’s hauling off of ER’s from the provincial treasurer and driving away with them in different directions, he still has the ER’s, as i understand it.

  5. toniong pagod

    Well, at the outset, TU’s initial remarks are rather assinine. “The opposition started this, so they shouldn’t start crying foul.” What is that all about? Maguindanao just didn’t fit the pattern. I mean, Singson was #1? Why not Kiram, who is Muslim. The alleged magic (as this has not been conclusively proven), while effective, was not quite believable. This is why Maguindanao (and by proximity, other areas in Mindanao, which is within striking range of ‘Garci’s” influence) was made the subject of the GO protest.

    I don’t think Albano’s remarks are helping TU’s cause, but the selection of CoCs for retabulation targets Makati and San Juan, which I’m guessing would be in an uproar if anything other than a GO victory results from the retabulation.

    Another question is South Cotabato, where Darlene Antonino-Custodio has already been proclaimed. Would a populace irked by the Pacquiao candidacy turn around and be better disposed to TU? Again, because of lack of evidence, I can’t say anything conclusively.

    What I can say is this: any delay increases the perception that this vote is going to be rigged. And this is one thing that the government can ill afford to have.

  6. DJB

    Hi Manolo–Just getting back from a week-long trek in the Cordillera. (Lovely! But not the place to describe my recent escapisms…) Just like Bel Cunanan’s chatty name-and-occasion dropping, Tonypet Albano’s nervous impishness reveals much about the Palace angst. They know the impeachment calculus and have perhaps decided they cannot risk a Hanging Senate with that impeachment-inviting two-thirds Opposition and may try to swing a wrecking ball at the whole election.

  7. Jon Mariano

    So Bel Cunanan is advising GMA to plan well so that her detractors will not cry “I told you so” if she decides to stay in power beyond 2010?

    I think that GMA can’t ditch JDV yet because JDV can still round up 80 congressmen to impeach her, if he feels threatened by Kampi.

  8. Arbet

    Tonypet Albano is the Rabadash of the Philippines.

  9. tagabukid

    Tonypet squeals the real deal: It’s FAILURE to WIN the ELECTIONS!

  10. tagabukid

    Tonypet Alabano is hilarious…(Come to think of it, his name is so unique nobody, except his parents,ever thought that you could combine Tony and Pet to come up with a name, they must be laughing their hearts out when they did)

    Anyway, Tonypet Alabano is hilarious, the giant networks should give him a late-night show ala Letterman. Then he can have his own segment of Top Ten Lists!

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, Im your lovely host Tonypet Albano and here’s the Top 10 reasons why TU almost got swept in the May 14 elections:”

    10. Antonio Trillanes had more media mileage than Sultan Kiram and Cesar Montano.
    9. Mike Defensor confused the voters with double-talk: he now denies he’s in 15th place, he’s just three notches out of the magic 12. Liar, Liar.
    8. Batangas thought Ralph was running for governor. Vilma won via landslide.
    7. Tito Sotto could have appeared in Bulagaan everyday for 30 seconds and claim it as political ad!
    6. The Migz Zubiri jingle really sounded: “Boom Corrupt, Corrupt! Boom Corrupt, Corrupt!”
    5. Chavit Singson topped Maguindanao and was 18th in Ilocos Region. Nakalimutan lang mangampanya ni lakay sa Ilocos!
    4. People wrote PECHAY instead so the votes were declared stray. Tsk, tsk, tsk, di nya na matutupad ang pangarap natin.
    3. Tessie Aquino’s “Im sorry” ad worked! The people forgave and forgot her.
    2. Ben Abalos did not campaign hard for Juju Cayetano.

    and the number 1 reason why TU lost:

    1. Me and my Frothing Motor Mouth!!!

  11. tagabukid

    *For some reasons, an extra “a” kept on appearing in Tonypet’s surname.

    Just the same, Tonypet ALBANO is still hilarious… nyahahahaha!

  12. toniong pagod

    er… is this quezon.ph or comedycentral.com?

    hee hee hee

  13. manuelbuencamino

    I hope I’m not accused of name-calling again but Tonypet Albano’s voice and behaviour reminds me of a Chihuahua in heat. So I thought, how appropriate that he’s TUTA spokesman

  14. jhay

    Failure of the elections?! They should cry about failure of the machinery. hahaha

  15. rego

    o yeah I saw tonypet on TV about this cheating… I wanted to laugh upon watching it. But then I realized, if they have proof and can present them in proper venue, why not.

    Further, I was thinking, people are crying out so loud that this is the dirtiest election ever. If so what deos that say that about the legitimacy of winning candidates?

    Then I saw one man who was being asked by a lady reporter, “why are you helping them write on the ballot. I saw it twice already”. The man answered, “I still waiting for the third”. Made me cringe…..

    I just hope that all allegations of cheating from both side should really reach the court.And noyt just in this forum.

  16. Bencard

    as the “trite”, “oft-repeated” saying goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. now, mlq3, “scorch-earth governance”? what has TU calling for failure of election in places dominated by the opposition anything to do with governance? you are not asserting that anyone and everyone in the opposition is incapable of mischief, are you?
    Elementary fairness, that’s what we need!

  17. cvj

    With her counter accusations of cheating, Gloria is pushing the ‘projection’ strategy to its limit. I can’t blame her. Maybe it’s worth a try if there are enough people like Rego who can be made to accept that ‘there was cheating on both sides’.

  18. Bencard

    i’m just wondering what these name-calling cynics and mockers in this blog will use to label niki coseting and sonia roco for questioning the votes in metro manila and elsewhere apparently favoring “overwhelmingly” their team mates in the top 12. will these bad-mouthers call these women some kind of non-human entities? or will they also attribute coseteng’s and roco’s “accusations to “Gloria”?

  19. justice league

    Metro Manila is the virtual house, backyard, frontyard, sideyard, etc.. of the COMELEC.

    To be deceived in a land faraway might already be perceived as disastrous, how much more in your own home?

    Its like a Shabu Tiangge across City Hall where appointed officials like a Police chief have shown how inutile they are.

  20. mlq3

    bencard, as with investigating all crimes, it boils down to motive. a winner has less motive to cheat, at the very least. that, and plausibility. an administration victory in makati? san juan? and so forth? implausible.

  21. toniong pagod

    i want to see the evidence. i just hope, as some on this thread have expressed, it gets to the proper forum.

    at the very least, it will be interesting.

  22. camry

    Failure of elections or failure for TU to win?

    Wala na talagang magawa ang administration. Well, let them do what they believed will help them remain in power. They should remember that the Filipino people are watching closely.

  23. manuelbuencamino

    Bencard,

    “i’m just wondering what these name-calling cynics and mockers in this blog will use to label niki coseting and sonia roco for questioning the votes in metro manila and elsewhere apparently favoring “overwhelmingly” their team mates in the top 12. ”

    Okay, so GO stole votes from each other and so TUTA is demanding a failure of election in Metro Manila and elsewhere.

    I guess I won’t call anybody names because you just turned me into a laughing hyena.

  24. manuelbuencamino

    Rego,

    “Further, I was thinking, people are crying out so loud that this is the dirtiest election ever. If so what deos that say that about the legitimacy of winning candidates?”

    Let’s see…the losing senatorial candidates belong to the coalition whose titular head appointed the Comelec chief and the AFP/PNP/DND/DILG/DECS/DBM/NPO bosses…in short they belong to the ruling coalition…

    they also controlled an overwhelming majority, to use Gloria’s favorite words, of local offices from congressman to governor to mayor all the way down to barangay officials…

    So they could brag about machinery and command votes……

    And you want to know what that says about the legitimacy of GO’s victory?…

    Or maybe you were thinking about the winners of local races… an incestuous cannibal feast where coalition (family) members turned on each other…

    And you want to know what that says about the legitimacy of GO’s victory?

    “But then I realized, if they have proof and can present them in proper venue, why not.”

    Yes, why not?

    Why not prove that TUTA lost due to massive cheating by the out-numbered and out-financed opposition?

    Why not prove that GO made a mockery of the people’s will?

    And make sure you raise your voice so it can be heard above the laughter of the entire country.

  25. Bencard

    but mlq3, 5 million votes still to be counted are nothing to be sneezed at. there is yet no “clear winner ” in this senatorial election – even legarda or escudero (if shown to have substantial invalid or non-existent votes counted in their names) may end up losers.
    as my old professor used to say: perception and fact are two different animals. so,let’s hold our horses, shall we?

  26. mlq3

    bencard, anything is impossible, indeed. but even as you hold your horses, keep surveying the terrain.

  27. supremo

    “These areas could affect 7 million votes”

    Zubiri (9.5M votes) will be number 1 if he gets all these 7 million votes. But that is impossible. If Zubiri gets half it’s only enough to overtake Aquino who is number 6. TU needs to question a lot more CoCs to reverse the 8-2-2 situation. Namfrel should really go for 100% count just to counteract any hocus-pocus Abalos.

  28. supremo

    “Compared to Zubiri’s 318,405 votes from the two provinces and two cities, Pimentel garnered a total of 443,277, with 72 percent of his votes coming from Quezon City.”

    TU’s strategy is to question as many tabulated CoCs where GO won and force a 6-2-4 situation. COMELEC will then tabulate as many untabulated CoCs from TU bailwicks and then force a proclamation. I don’t know who will say ‘noted’ when this happens.

  29. inodoro ni emilie

    “but mlq3, 5 million votes still to be counted are nothing to be sneezed at”

    indeed.

    5 million favouring GO is nothing to sneezed at. it would give gma convulsion. so is dr abalos preparing to provide this ounce of prevention?

  30. toniong pagod

    Well, the got kicked out of the auditorium, but at least they have the cafeteria. NAMFREL should finish their count. The fact that they’ve scaled back their operations is disheartening. I agree with the 100% count. NAMFREL should do it, and do it FAST. Where’s that Lasallian spirit now? I think the school should support NAMFREL more.

    Treading carefully… this is something everyone should do. Impunity is NOT something anyone should think they have, especially at this time.

  31. ay_naku

    Hats off to GMA and the rest of her team, tuso talaga. Onga naman, offense is the best defense.

    Uhm, are they really serious? Our country’s surreal scenario can top any of Kafka’s works.

  32. Shaman of Malilipot

    Even TU’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, thinks Tonypet Albano’s “contrary reactions” are crazy, well, ok, funny. He said the Philippines would be the “laughingstock” of the world if Albano had his way. He denied that the administration would file a case for failure of elections in Metro Manila.

  33. ay_naku

    JDV has no fighting chance against our Magnificent Empress. All hail GMA!

  34. tonio

    ay naku:

    that sounded positively terrifying.

  35. ay_naku

    Tonio, I might accept our future reality now. GMA is The Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships. Resistance Is Futile.

  36. zerline

    happy birthday manolo!
    be well!
    =p

  37. tonio

    mlq3:

    well, salutations to our host! bon anniversaire!

    ay_naku:

    let me see if i can remember my ST:TNG:

    “We are Borg. Resistance is Futile. We will add your diversity to our own. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. Prepare for Assimilation. We are Borg…”

  38. tonio

    apologies. here it is:

    “We are The Borg, lower your shields and surrender your ships. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance Is Futile.”

  39. mlq3

    zerline, tonio, thank you very very much!

  40. torn

    “NAMFREL should finish their count. The fact that they’ve scaled back their operations is disheartening. I agree with the 100% count. NAMFREL should do it, and do it FAST.”

    I agree completely. NAMFREL has been described by social scientist Lotta Hedman as “the mother of all election-watch movements” and is one of the few areas where the Philippines leads the world (dagdag bawas is another, but perhaps we won’t go there). When Cambodia, another country wracked by crooked electoral politics, was looking to set up a secondary count it looked to NAMFREL as a model.

    After all, what is the point of a half-hearted effort? Every one knows that it is the last 10-15% of votes that makes the difference.

    And as for speed, for NAMFREL to be overtaken by COMELEC, possibly the world’s slowest counting organization, is very strange.

    When the country needs it most, NAMFREL seems to be fading away …

    Disheartening, as Toniong Pagod says.

  41. tonio

    you would think that instead of limiting their updates to twice a day, in this crucial final phase of the counting, NAMFREL should be at the forefront.

    well, perhaps it’s passing the torch.

    i wonder who’ll take it?

  42. tagasulung

    rego, et al.

    In this country, merely hoping for cheating in elections to reach the proper forum makes sense only if the cheat is anti-administration.
    When it is the administration and pro-administration doing the cheating, not even news reports showing the “snow-paking” of SOVs and returns can open the eyes of Comelec’s Abalos who readily finds justifications therefor instead of looking into it, at the very least.
    SInce election officials are unwilling to act even when evidences are right before their eyes, hoping that allegations of cheating reach the proper forum would only be a dream.

    And in the first place, the court of public opinion has never been an “improper forum” when the subject involves the government or public affairs. It is in relegating public discussions to the sidelines, labeling or implying such as an “improper forum” (much like restricting public assembly to “public parks” while not even requiring permits for religious processions or prayer rallies), that ensure that the “hoping for the cheats to be brought to court” remains merely that — a mere hope.

    And that is exactly what we have allowed the present administration to do, leaving those of us who write about these things in blogs like this to indulge in our intellectual masturbations, unwilling, as the Comelec, to do something about it.

    Saying “Tama na! Sobra na!” is good only when public opinion matters and institutions, like the prosecutors, police, the courts, etc., can be trusted to do what they are supposed to do.
    The question, as it should always be, is “what are we to do about it?” When will “Palitan na!” be added to that sacred phrase most popular during the Marcos years? And, more importantly, when will the words be accompanied by actions?

    Nah! Better to indulge in intellectual masturbations, never you mind not having an ejaculation. Or is it?

  43. tonio

    what, pray tell, should we do in order to “get off”, following your analogy?

  44. Bencard

    tagasulong, in a country of laws and representative democracy, a “proper forum” is the exclusive body empowered to adjudicate legal issues and whose final decision is binding on every one in its jurisdiction.
    the “people” (whether at large or majority) cannot take the law into its own hand without violating it. while said people, in proper circumstances, may change the laws through its elected rtepresentatives, it cannot directly make its own rules, regulations and statutes.

    So, rather than “masturbate” (your word) intellectually, you would do well just abiding by the law and observing the due process of law, assert your rights and, if you are patient, you may get results – sooner or later.

  45. UP n student

    Namfrel may not want to complete the count because the odds are that the Namfrel numbers will be different from the Comelec numbers.

  46. benj

    Slightly tangential question, how many votes are needed by Party Lists to get a seat in congress? It’s at 2.0%, right? What would that be equivalent to in raw numbers?

  47. gabriela

    I thought I heard Abalos and administration rah-rah boys say this election is generally peaceful and allegations of cheating are mere allegations and cases are just isolated. If Makalintal himself says the GO cheated, is this not an admission of the weakness of the COMELEC, whose head GMA herself appointed? And Mr. Makalintal, even gradeschoolers would laugh at the way you and the defenders of TU justify the beating youa re getting. Unang-una bakit ganuon ang line up ng candidates ninyo? Wala na bang iba na kasing brilliant ninyo at ni GMA? Bakit si Chavit? Bakit si Sotto? Bakit si Oreta? Sino si Kiram? At ang political ads ng TU gasgas na. No touch of what is really now and new. and command votes spell v-i-o-l-a-t-i-o-n of the omnibus election code.

  48. justice league

    Benj,

    The % of the partylist vote depend on the number of votes cast for partylist.

    Example:

    Total of votes cast is 20 million but only 1 million ballots had votes for a partylist representative.

    So in that example; 20 thousand is the raw number of votes equivalent to 2%.

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