The Lanao del Sur voting continues to be the focus of news: besides canvassing not yet taking place, reports of shenanigans continue to multiply: Cheating went on in Lanao despite troops, monitoring groups.
Not to mention COMELEC takes blank ERs from Lanao Sur treasurer. Ricky Carandang has been filing reports that may go down in media history as among the most intrepid by Filipino TV journalists, but he has gotten death threats because of his persistence (an interesting reaction -the rival network’s- is in Chasing a fading concept; see also a viewer’s reaction in brinknotes.org). To place the whole story in context, read Newsbreak‘s story, ‘Garci’ Men Assigned In Lanao Polls, Take Custody of ERs. Other media have other stories too, including a car chase involving election inspectors and an election watchdog group.
The goings-on in Mindanao have triggered a manifesto of common concern among GO candidates. But all’s not well within the opposition, either.
The Inquirer editorial blasts the Tonypet Albano-Romeo Macalintal declaration to seek a failure of election in Metro Manila. Macalintal denies it, but a close reading of his statements shows he said -essentially, nothing:
“Maybe, as an ordinary layman, he’s just saying ‘failure of election’, but there’s no such thing as a petition for failure of election that would be filed, and if I would be asked by them (TU), I will be the very first to tell them, do not file that kind of petition,” Macalintal told reporters at the Philippine International Convention Center where the national canvass for the senatorial elections is being held.
He explained that, as far as he knew, Team Unity would seek a “recanvassing or retabulation” in selected precincts in certain cities or provinces, and not move for a recount in the entire area.
In other words: Albano did not use lawyer-like precision in his statement, but he was essentially correct in pointing out what TU intends to do. And Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, TU media bureau chief and campaign strategist, has joined the fray, this time taking watchdog groups to task:
…Evardone… said the party came across over 100 cases of electoral fraud in Metro Manila and other places where the GO candidates had won by large margins. These incidents were overlooked or ignored by poll watchdogs, he said.
The failure or refusal of these watchdogs to cry fraud when they did so in pro-administration bailiwicks only fueled suspicions that they were in cahoots with the opposition to vilify the May 14 elections, Evardone said.
He also accused the GO of being in cahoots with leftist and ultra-rightist elements in raising charges of fraud against TU senatorial candidates.
The pithiest explanation of the Abano-Macalintal dog-and-pony show comes from Uniffors: GO bites TUTA? Anyway, the whole thing’s produced results: counting bogs down.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Comelec gives the Bart Simpson defense: Ididn’tdoitnobodysawmedoityoucan’tproveanything!
The strong Peso’s leading to complaints from seaweed traders, and concerns over remittance rules from OFWs; importers upset over new government fees. And news of Philhealth fraud to the tune of 4 billion Pesos.
Lakas spokesman Heherson Alvarez says the President will eventually have to weigh in to help decide who gets the speakership; Palace so far won’t take the bait. But Luis Villafuerte continues sniping at de Venecia. Kampi quota of concessions obviously hasn’t been reached.
Note The Lonely Vampire Chronicle’s analysis of the political math:
Based on the list, here is the breakdown:
LP: 18 (both wings)
UNO: 2 (Those who list themselves as UNO with another party are excluded from this count)
1. In order for Luis Villafuerte to wrest the speaker’s seat away from Jose de Venecia, he needs to get all Kampi votes, plus those from its Coalition allies.
2. This list does not reflect the areas where Coalition allies fought and beat each other.
3. If you know the party affiliation of those winners with no parties listed after their names, please leave a comment (list the name and the party).
My Arab News column for this week is Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire. A related reading is an account in Mindanews, of a proposal by Archbishop Quevedo to establish a kind of electoral college voting system in Mindanao -one disputed by other Mindanaowons, including the scholar Patricio Abinales.
(I finally got to see what my column actually looks like in Saudi Arabia!
Amando Doronila who’s now based in Australia, reports how the President’s visit is being treated in the media and responded to by Australia’s academe. Among other things, the Australian National University declined to give the President an honorary degree, despite government lobbying for the honor. (A gift of boats from Australia to the Philippine Navy is a great thing to my mind: we need a decent navy, if we’re to do something about smuggling, etc.)
The Business Mirror editorial asks, what happened to the so-called 7-8-9 economic plan of the administration? NEDA Chief Romulo Neri apparently thinks it’s a dead duck:
Secretary Neri is now saying it would be difficult for the country to achieve a 6.2-percent economic growth next year unless the government spends P20 billion more in pump priming. This year, the growth rate is pegged at a rather modest 6.1 percent.
Neri said it is “theoretically possible” to jack up growth rates, even hit the 7-8-9 goal eyed by then Presidential Management Staff chief and now newly elected Albay governor Joey Salceda for 2007 to 2009, if only the government would spend its budget on time.
But the scaled-down target is not surprising given the revenue shortfall in the past months and the government’s commitment to achieve a balanced budget by next year, according to Neri. Thus, the administration would find it difficult to get the additional funds for pump-priming the economy.
“If we didn’t have the revenue constraint, it would have been easier to achieve a 6.2-percent growth. For the 0.3 percent [additional growth], you only need about P20 billion in additional spending,” he said.
Manuel Buencamino has a naughty, imaginary conversation with the Queen of the Enchanted Kingdom:
“So you’re not conceding defeat?”
“Defeat? In the congressional and local elections, the victory of the overwhelming majority of candidates sympathetic to the administration shows a vote for political stability and economic reform. I won, honey.”
“Any other message to your subjects?”
“I want to thank in advance the five million voters whose votes await canvassing by Abalos. They are the true voice of the people.”
“You better believe it. Like the man said, ‘who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?'”
On the other hand, Sec. Ricardo Saludo says the presidential sunset has a warm afterglow indeed. So he belongs to the “legacy” camp in the cabinet.
Bloggers were swift to react to the Albano-Macalintal declaration: chizjarkace asks,
…it is very seldom we hear that the incumbent is complaining of being cheated. As the party of the incumbent administration, who would dare cheat Team Unity? And who has the capacity to do so? Besides Team Unity is the one bragging about their machinery. Does their machinery only include getting them votes and not protecting it?
Another point is that most of the areas where TU says cheating happened is from Metro Manila. Why can’t they believe their candidates were crushed here? Metro Manila, since the Garci scandal, has been opposed to the administration. An almost sweep victory for the opposition here is something to be expected and you can have the surveys to prove it. It is very much unlike the accusations of cheating in Mindanao areas where TU is expecting to get most of their votes. Mindanao’s election credibility has been tainted with doubts since the 2004 presidential elections.
And Patsada Karajaw points out,
But isnt this the same Tonypet Albano who boasted that they will swept the senatorial race because of the command votes of the administration local candidates? Now, they cry that they are victims of fraud. How come? They have watchers, the COMELEC is more sympathetic to them. They all have the resources to do what it takes to win so how come they can be cheated? It looks like this allegation is not believable given the facts. But the greatest proof why the administration will never be cheated is the Hello Garci tapes. The cheating operators are on their side as what the tapes would show.
He also doesn’t like the way some Mindanao officials are trying to rally the locals:
Two administration charged the Genuine Opposition of sourgraping for keeping on shouting fraud in Mindanao. Rep. Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur and Rep. Roseller Barinaga of Zamboanga del Norte that the administration won fair and square in Mindanao because the Opposition failed to field candidates 100 percent in the area. Again, these two solons argue that the command votes would deliver victory for Team Unity and urge the opposition to stop tarnishing the honor of Mindanaoans whom they say are good fearing people. The subtle intention of this two fellows in using the term Mindanaoans is to rally the people of Mindanao against the allegation of cheating by GO. These two hopes that a backlash against the GO candidates by Mindanaoans will be realized. Alas, these people are proven wrong, instead of a backlash, more and more people surfaced to tell the tale of massive and nauseating cheating in Mindanao. Witnesses say, they can no longer stomach the brazen cheating done over and over again every election.
The Philippine Experience calls Albano’s arguments a “statistical overstretch,” Mga Diskurso ni Doy calls for the Comelec’s commissioners to resign.
In Inquirer Current, John Nery is puzzled by conflicting estimates of voter turnout.
Philippine Commentary discusses the education budget. Red’s Herring presents some thoughts on the different parts that comprise the body politic.
Four-Eyed Journal gives some reasons as to why he’s proud to be a Filipino.
Technorati Tags: Blogging, elections, journalism, media, military, philippines, politics, president, Senate, society