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May 29

Where there’s smoke there’s fire

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:

Lakas-CMD: 57
Kampi: 30
LP: 18 (both wings)
NPC: 17
Independent: 5
NP: 5
LDP: 4
PDP-Laban: 3
UNO: 2 (Those who list themselves as UNO with another party are excluded from this count)

NOTES:
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!
Ann P08 30052007 Ed1
Woohoo!)

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.”

“Huh?”

“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.

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49 comments

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  1. tonio

    as expected. delay produces opportunity.

    now, more than ever, is vigilance required. will it be vigilance in the face of bullets, maybe. but mindanao is definitely a battleground, and i pray that fate finds our countrymen over there safe.

  2. manuelbuencamino

    where there’s smoke, there’s a there’s TU…blowing it out of its ass.

  3. manuelbuencamino

    blowing it out of its collective ass, If I may add

  4. Schumey

    Nice one MB. The absurdity of Tonypet’s assertions only shows where his head is, in his a*s.

  5. tonio

    mike defensor conceded.

    well, just wanted to add that.

  6. Schumey

    Where there’s smoke there could be birthday candles! Happy birthday Manolo. May God shower you with more blessings.

  7. Jeg

    And news of Philhealth fraud to the tune of 4 billion Pesos.

    I remember a line from The Godfather book by Mario Puzo:
    “A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.”

    To that we can now add, “but a doctor with a stethoscope couldnt be that far behind.”

    (Haberdey, MLQ3.)

  8. Bokyo

    “I concede to ease the tension on the ground and to dismiss [a] notion that there may be illegal acts committed to attain my victory. I concede so as to enjoin my allies and friends who may want, in their desire to have me win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle,” he (Defensor) said.

    Does this mean that those who have not yet conceded have also friends and allies who will want and pursue, in their desire to have them win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle?

  9. tonio

    jeg:

    not to mention it’s these guys who were up in arms because under a new law they will be unable to hold live patients or dead bodies in their facilities because they were too poor to pay up.

  10. tonio

    bokyo:

    sneaky, very sneaky… but you know how imprecise a medium language is.

  11. tagabukid

    Happy Birthday MLQ3!

    More power to you and your blog…God bless!

  12. manuelbuencamino

    . I concede so as to enjoin my allies and friends who may want, in their desire to have me win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle”

    “I concede because I love my family and I want my children to learn that there is honor in defeat”

    Good. Now get out of our face and go get yourself a real job!

  13. jhay

    Happy birthday sir! Thanks for the link love.

  14. john marzan

    hindi ko ma-access yung chasing a fading concept.

    missoverstride.livejournal.com/14355.html

    ano ba sinabi doon?

  15. baycas

    jm,

    a forbidden-access may 29, 2007 entry by mary rose (news writer at QTV 11) entitled:

    No story is worth a life…

  16. vic

    Philhealth Fraud? Doctors, Politicians, Lawyers, Businessmen, Taxi Drivers, all in a Game.

  17. justice league

    Any group has its share of bad eggs.

    The terrible thing with doctors is that as their numbers decrease here; the proportion of the bad eggs (who stay and do this fraud) to the not-bad eggs increase.

    Certainly can’t say the same with politicians as far as their numbers.

  18. john marzan

    can somebody please post the chasing a fading concept article here.

  19. renmin

    Re mike defensor’s concession speech-

    1. it’s an unexpected public admission that he has “allies and friends” who will cheat for him;

    2. however, whether he intends it or not, his withdrawal can be taken by the dagdag-bawas operators in Mindanao as a go-signal for them to shave Defensor votes and use them to pad the votes of the TU bets still in the running (Zubiri, Recto, Pichay).

  20. Nick

    You’re right, no lawyer talk there. Maybe some kindergarten talk..

    “If they will do that, then we will do it to them too”,

    I wonder if a 7 year old made their speech?

    Manuel, all this time writing for the Arab News, they haven’t sent you a complimentary copy?

  21. Jeric

    Thank you for linking me. 🙂

  22. ay_naku

    The namfrel link (car chase involving election inspectors) is honestly one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. How can those goings-on be considered normal here?

  23. baycas

    Re: Chasing a fading concept

    the link above points to a 403 forbidden message:
    Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access /14355dothtml on this server.

    but i got the article in bits and pieces (thanks to google blog search):

    (1)
    No story is worth a life…
    29 May 2007 by missoverstride
    but Ricky Carandang seems undisturbed by it. Last night, Bandila aired an exclusive which was filed by reporter-anchor Ricky Carandang. It was a very compelling story which is hard to top even by its no.1 competitor, GMA.

    (2)
    It was a very compelling story which is hard to top even by its no.1 competitor, GMA. Carandang and crew was able to capture ERs being brought by election officials from Lanao del Sur to a hotel in Iligan City.

    (3)
    But it seems Carandang is like a rabid journalist who has insatiable appetite in telling untold stories. Instead of coming home despite the threat in his life, he has stayed there–to get killed…este to get the full story.

    —–

    mlq3 and john, an “interesting reaction” by mary rose indeed. (incidentally, i saw her profile at multiplydotcom. she looks interesting.)

  24. camry

    Mike Defensor’s concession was an honorable act. I wish to see more of this instead of charging and counter-charging of cheating.

    The winners need to be proclaimed soonest. Let the country move on.

  25. Dirk Pitt

    Let everybody monitor the votes of Defensor, we’ll surely know if some of his votes will go to somebody else.

  26. realist

    Happy Birthday, MLQ3! More to come ha.

  27. camry

    Ricky Carandang is just doing his job. If more of his tribe do the same, we will see a balanced, fearless, & fair reporting.

    In turn, the government agency concerned should also do their share in bringing justice to the election. Let us work hard for the future of the country. I am concerned on the future of Filipino children. If we will not care, who else?

  28. DJB

    “Islamic Democracy” (your PDI column today)?

    “One Warlord, One Vote” is what the Shura surely means.

  29. Bencard

    the silence in this blog about what is happening in chavez’
    venezuela is deafening. where are the self-anointed guardians of human rights and press freedom who love pontificating against PGMA’s effort to preserve the presidency from anarchists and power grabbers of this land?
    are they showing their true colors – obsessed only with the parochial interest in ousting PGMA – and not at all concerned with (other than paying lip service to) universal principles of freedom. Is it because Chavez is anti-American leftist/socialist, a Castro wannabee? Or is it because the rebellious action is being undertaken by the “middle class”, professionals, enlightened students and business people?

  30. Jeg

    With all due respect, Bencard, bringing up Chavez here is a red herring, not to mention OT.

    But to comply with your request: Hugo Chavez is a despot and the Venezuelan people has my prayers as they, like us, try to find their way.

  31. tagasulung

    Bencard,

    Why bring up the Chavez red herring as Jeg puts it? And why question Chavez’ rule at all? Did you not just say to follow the rule of law and observe due process in your yesterday’s post? You think such course of action would have worked in this country during Marcos’ time during which Marcos claimed that his rule was one showcase of democracy? What happened to you between your post the other day and today? A miracle like Saint Paul or is it your other personality writing? Indeed, you are a typical person, much like our trapos in politics: changing sides whenever convenient.

  32. cvj

    Bencard, regarding your Red Herring, perhaps you just missed it but i did refer to Chavez in an earlier discussion with Jeg here. As stated in this post over at the libertarian (aka conservative) blog MarginalRevolution, the Venezuelan middle class sort of had it coming. That’s a situation i wish we could head off here if only we the Filipino middle class regain our moral bearings. If not, having a Chavez eventually becomes a State imperative.

  33. Bencard

    jeg, tagasulong, cvj: are you one and the same person? uncanny how you think and talk alike. obviously, you have no problems bringing up foreign events, situations, persons or entities when they suit your rant, e.g., bush, u.s., cuba, thailand, international “human rights” tribunals, u.n. “rapporteur” alston, icj, etc., etc.

    who are you to limit the topics of discussions in this blog to your “exclusive” agenda and brand of ideology? i say only the owner and moderator of this blog has the right to call a subject matter “red herring”. unless the three of you are mlq3 in disguise, you are as much as interlopers as i am here.

    the fact alone that you felt alluded to in my post (which did not mention any of you), and react defensively, says it all.

  34. Bencard

    tagasulong, and where specifically in my post in this thread did i advocate self-help measures through street violence for the venezuelans? they can show their opposition peacefully and try to remove chavez following the rule of law, e.g., recall – as justice league cited, or impeachment if that is a valid recourse under their constitutional system.

    what on earth is this “miracle of St. Paul” you are talking about? if that is not a “red herring”, i don’t what is.

  35. Bencard

    correction: if that is not a red herring, i don’t KNOW what is.

  36. Dirk Pitt

    Whenever I want to amuse myself, I read and re-read and re-read entries of Gloria’s apologists and admirers.

  37. cvj

    Bencard, i had to respond because you specifically said that…

    the silence in this blog about what is happening in chavez’
    venezuela is deafening.

    …where in fact there was no such ‘silence’ in the first place. Perceived silence is sometimes a sign of deafness.

  38. Bencard

    cvj, if the silence was “perceived” then why did you, along with like-minded colleagues, label the first mention of it “red herring”?

  39. john marzan

    http://missoverstride.livejournal.com/14712.html

    Re: Chasing a fading concept

    the link above points to a 403 forbidden message:
    Forbidden
    You don’t have permission to access /14355dothtml on this server.

    but i got the article in bits and pieces (thanks to google blog search):

    (1)
    No story is worth a life…
    29 May 2007 by missoverstride
    but Ricky Carandang seems undisturbed by it. Last night, Bandila aired an exclusive which was filed by reporter-anchor Ricky Carandang. It was a very compelling story which is hard to top even by its no.1 competitor, GMA.

    (2)
    It was a very compelling story which is hard to top even by its no.1 competitor, GMA. Carandang and crew was able to capture ERs being brought by election officials from Lanao del Sur to a hotel in Iligan City.

    (3)
    But it seems Carandang is like a rabid journalist who has insatiable appetite in telling untold stories. Instead of coming home despite the threat in his life, he has stayed there–to get killed…este to get the full story.

    interesting na ginawa niyang inaccessible ang blog post na yon. she also said she’s leaving the philippines to stay in the US for good na raw this october raw!

    http://missoverstride.livejournal.com/14712.html

  40. cvj

    Red Herring is defined (in Wikipedia) as “a type of logical fallacy in which one purports to prove one’s point by means of irrelevant arguments”. It is a red herring on two levels. On one level, it can easily be seen that Hugo Chavez’s actions in Venezuela have nothing to do with Gloria’s actions here in the Philippines. They can both be despicable in their own ways. On another level, your accusation of the alleged (and subsequently disproven) ‘deafening silence’ on the part of Gloria’s critics is just another attempt to focus the discussion away from Gloria to matters of secondary concern (i.e. the commenters themselves). At both levels, your introduction of this topic, in this thread can be labeled a red herring in that it attempts to distract from the main subject of discussion.

    Of course, since Manolo himself brought up the topic on the subsequent thread, your comments over there as far as this topic is concerned have improved from being a red herring, to being just run-of-the-mill whiny.

  41. cvj

    sorry for the unclosed italics.

  42. Bencard

    cvj, what in my post in question constitute an irrelevant “argument”. i was commenting on the “silence” of the usual “advocates of freedom” in this blog to what is happening in chavez’ venezuela wherein i asked about the reason for such silence. where is the “irrelevant” argument that you and your ilk call “red herring” (which now you have pompously upgraded to “run-of-the-mill whiney”?

  43. cvj

    Bencard, to clarify, on this thread it’s still a Red Herring. It’s on the next thread where your comment is run-of-the-mill whiney. To repeat, the irrelevance has to do with your attacking the messenger(s) and not the message which should be the proper topic of discussion.

  44. Bencard

    cvj, you have to have your eyes check, if not your head. you are reading something that isn’t there. you define “red herring” as irrelevant argument. i’m asking you: what argument did i advance on this thread? just answer the question then we can quit this childish exchange.

  45. cvj

    Bencard, i’d refer you back to my comment above (June 1st, 2007 at 11:53 pm).

  46. Bencard

    cvj, the way i see it, you are a master of using perjorative labels whose meaning you can research but which your intellect cannot grasp. sometimes you even invoke latin classification of spurious argument (as what you accused DJB of using in a succeeding thread) which you often rely on to wiggle out of an untenable point of view. too bad, this is only a free-wheeling blog and there,s no sanction for such transgression (not even shame because of the shield of anonymity).

  47. Bencard

    “ignoratio elenchi” – the label cvj tags DJB’s argument with in a subsequent thread.

  48. cvj

    bencard, while we’re at it, your comment above (June 2nd, 2007 at 9:57 pm) is argumentum ad hominem at the one that follows (at June 2nd, 2007 at 10:19 pm) is naghahanap ng kakampi.

  49. Bencard

    cvj, except your homespun “naghahanap ng kakampi”, you must be using wikipedia too much. it fits your level.

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