Or did she move Comelec Chairman Abalos? Maybe both? Anyway over the weekend, on TV, TU candidate Miguel Zubiri was giving credit to the Virgin of Manaoag for the Comelec’s decision not to proclaim a failure of elections in Maguindanao.
anyway, so there will be special polls come June 20 in some ARMM places and a cluster of precincts in Batangas; the same article has this quotable quote courtesy of Zubiri:
“Through its decision, the Comelec has shown that the will of the people supersedes any legal technicalities, and therefore must be placed in foremost consideration,” Zubiri said.
Amen? Amen! But the Manila Times editorial says the Comelec’s in a pickle:
Pimentel’s lawyer had asked the Comelec to exclude the votes from Maguindanao and declare her client the outright winner. That petition was rejected.
On the other hand, almost all of the local winners, from governor down to town councilor, have been proclaimed (which is not really surprising because practically all of them ran unopposed). That, according to the Comelec chairman, is undeniable proof that the electoral process did run its course in Maguindanao. “You can’t declare a failure of election for one set of officials and then an election for another. If you declare a failure of election, it should be for all,” was how Abalos put it.
If elections failed in that province, special polls would have to be called. Abalos mentioned June 20 as the most likely date for them. That would be too close to the June 30 deadline.
We may be coming to the final chapter of the Maguindanao saga, barring new developments this week, when Abalos and other top election officials travel to Maguindanao. Their mission: find other documents that could be used as basis to reconstitute or reconvene the provincial board of canvassers that would tabulate the votes for senators.
(Not very different from what John Nery blogged in Inquirer Current some time back). To complicate matters further, now a PPCRV provincial official says there were elections, after all. Most interesting are Rep. Simeon Datumanong’s list of possibilities for the Comelec, and a local official’s belief that Zubiri will lose anyway:
Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong said on Friday the Comelec could not just set aside the tabulation of votes cast in Maguindanao because its commissioners could face an impeachable offense for violation of voters’ rights.
Datumanong said the Comelec can pick among three options to address the controversies surrounding the Maguindanao elections: 1) to go to the Supreme Court on the issue of special elections; and 2) to go back to precinct-by-precinct appreciation of municipal tallies, which, he said, could take a year-long process; and 3) for the Comelec en banc sitting as the National Board of Canvassers to constitute itself into a task force under its own directive to retrieve elections documents from the 22 towns.
Meanwhile, a local official said votes garnered by Bukidnon Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri in the province would not be enough to offset Aquilino Pimentel III’s lead over him in the national tally, if the Maguindanao CoCs were to be retabulated.
Provincial canvassing showed that Zubiri got 86,698 votes but Pimentel III garnered 29,485 in the province.
“So what’s the big fuss about their votes?” Shuaib Maulana, a member of the three-man Provincial Board of Canvassers said.
From Newsbreak, an analysis of the failure of the administration’s machinery in the last elections:
However, the rivalry between the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas) and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) cannot be the sole reason for TU’s poor showing in many of these provinces, as implied by TU candidate Miguel Zubiri in a recent news report. The TU slate was simply tough to sell, as the nationwide vote distribution shows….
…But the ruling coalition itself was divided – not just between Lakas and Kampi but within Kampi itself. Rep. Luis Villafuerte, Kampi president, admitted to Newsbreak that Ronaldo Puno, Kampi chair, made his “own nominations” that did not pass through official arbitration channels… He counted about 10 areas where Puno fielded his “own” candidates without consulting the arbitration panel.
As in past elections, when ruling parties opted to have free zones, the administration’s national candidates ended up losing. “There will always be jealousy [on both sides], and they will always end up minding their personal campaigns and not the national candidates,” a former ranking Lakas official, who experienced arbitrating local members’ competition for official party nomination, told Newsbreak.
In 27 provinces where Lakas and Kampi fielded gubernatorial candidates against each other (see list below), TU dominated – but not swept – the senatorial polls in only 8…
…Lakas and Kampi candidates also slugged it out in at least 57 congressional districts and numerous cities and towns. However, the results of the senatorial elections there are not readily available from the Commission on Elections….
The former Lakas official quoted earlier acknowledged that the contests between Lakas and Kampi candidates got so intense that they didn’t have time to mind TU’s senatorial candidates.
It can be surmised then that for the national positions, they allowed the voters to choose candidates. Or, the administration’s local candidates were too busy to protect TU’s votes.
The ex-Lakas official’s reading may be true in 7 of the Lakas-Kampi conflict areas where TU lost. Benguet, Masbate, Camarines Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur all went for President Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections.
The victory of opposition senatorial candidates there this year could indeed be explained by the locals’ focus on their own elections – in 4 of these, the Lakas gubernatorial bet won; in 3, the Kampi bets won. They are unlike some congressional districts and cities or municipalities where both the Lakas and Kampi candidates lost.
The most plausible reason for TU’s loss in most of the Lakas-Kampi conflict provinces, however, is that most of them are traditionally opposition areas.
Of the 27 provinces where Lakas and Kampi fielded gubernatorial bets, President Arroyo lost in 11 in the 2004 polls. All these 11 provinces, which voted for opposition bet Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) then, also delivered to the GO bets this year. The only FPJ country in 2004 that became pro-administration this election is Tawi-Tawi, where TU won 7 seats against GO’s 5.
On to the new Senate: much ado about Trillanes: military floats trial ballon –what if they simply don’t let him attend Senate sessions? That way, he can’t use the political ammunition some (anonymous) generals claim they’ll provide him.
Palace certifies bill to extend the life of land reform. The NPA burn another cell site. And San Juan becomes a city. Meanwhile, a far older city is embroiled in a major fight: it’s Tommy Osmena vs. Gwen Garcia over who owns the Fuente Osmena and why Cebu City residents can’t vote for the Cebu governor (when they used to in the past).
Overseas, Asia Sentinel on the implications of the recent anti-terror arrests in Singapore (interesting to me, as article hits Zachary Abuza, a counterterrorism expert I met during a symposium in Washington, D.C.; Abuza visits Mindanao from time to time); pressure mounting from Republican loyalists for George W. Bush to pardon his convicted factotum Scooter Libby has History Unfolding reflecting on the theory of “executive privilege,” and how it’s a myth: something relevant to us, since the present administration’s fond of invoking executive privilege. According to the blogger,
Raoul Berger, a rather elderly legal scholar and concert violinist, who published two remarkable books in the early 1970s, Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems, and Executive Privilege: A Constitutional Myth. He made it clear, as Sam Ervin did before all our eyes, that the inquisitorial power of the legislature really had no constitutional limits–executive privilege depended on what he called “bootstrap precedents” enunciated by successive Presidents from the White House–and that the power to question individuals who were paid by, and spending, taxpayers’ money under oath was really the only way to know what our government was doing, much less to do something about it.
My column for today is Topsy turvy. What’s changed since it was written (just yesterday!) is that Sec. Teves has decided not to quit (he decided against it just yesterday, too, according to Ricky Carandang), but the topsy-turviness remains, because now, Energy Sec. Lotilla has decided to quit (according to Carandang, too). See the Ricky Carandang entry I quoted in my column. See Business Mirror story in EO 625. Also, ABS-CBNNews.com story on cabinet confusion.
Ducky Paredes runs down the list of disaffected congressmen making noises they want to change the Speaker, for the good of the chamber, they say. But the real reason may be far from grand, but as old as democracy itself: people simply get tired if a leader lasts too long. Meanwhile, last week came and went, and the much talked-about scuttlebutt that Luis Villafuerte would be toppled as Kampi President didn’t come to pass -were things papered over last Friday at the Palace? But Villafuerte has come out swinging (yet again) saying Sec. Puno’s out to get him, confirming last week’s scuttlebutt.
Random Jottings on the fight for the senate presidency.
Former NEDA chief Cielito Habito looks at the 1st Quarter growth rate and examines what created it. Turns out election spending had something to do with it, after all:
What clearly propelled the surprising growth were unusually high government spending (public construction and government consumption, which grew 16.9 and 13.1 percent respectively) and good export growth (9.1 percent).
Unless you were born yesterday, it’s plain to see that the May elections were responsible for this. I should note that even the slightly better private consumption growth must have been pushed up by the massive spending on election campaign materials – not to mention vote-buying.
The problem is, news on government revenues has not been good lately. Unless this trend is turned around dramatically, government is in no position to spend as briskly as it did in the first quarter.
The other propellant of the growth had been exports. Here, the short term outlook doesn’t look encouraging either. Latest export data show a significant slowdown in April to just 5 percent growth.
Such a slowdown had been expected, due to generally slower demand for electronics in the global market – and we rely on this industry for two-thirds of our exports.
This tells me that it is investments we need to work hard on.
Foreign investments are not a problem, mind you; data tell us that they have been grown phenomenally in the past year or so. It is the stakes put in by domestic investors that needs a big boost.
And as for Trillanes, some views from Ramon Farolan (a good guide to what the senior retired officers are thinking), as well as reflections from bloggers Philippine Commentary and The Jester-in-Exile.
YugaTech asks why Filipinos seem glued to Friendster.