WITH the canvassing of senatorial votes scheduled in Maguindanao today, poll watchdogs are set to file administrative and criminal charges against election supervisor Lintang Bedol, who is at the center of the controversial 12-0 win of administration candidates in the province.
Bedol, who figured in the “Hello, Garci” scandal in the 2004 elections, had repeatedly defied the summons of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to appear before the poll body and explain why the municipal certificates of canvass (CoCs) were all of a sudden missing. Bedol appeared only once during the national canvassing, but failed to explain the reason behind the incident; he earlier said they were stolen. The original set of CoCs may show the truth behind the “statistically improbable” results in the provincial CoC.
With Bedol again missing, poll watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) over the weekend decided to file charges against the Maguindanao election official, and possibly, seek his disbarment and dismissal from the Comelec. The charges will be based on Section II, Chapter V of the Revised Penal Code regarding “infidelity in the custody of document.”
Under the law, any public officer guilty of removing, destroying, or concealing documents officially entrusted to him shall suffer imprisonment, which could reach up to 12 years.
Text messages were circulating over the weekend, saying that Bedol, in panic, had burned all copies of the provincial CoC. In an Inquirer report, Bedol allegedly burned the copies so that there would be no evidence against the 12-0 win of the TU candidates. Bedol, a source alleged, changed the figures of the provincial CoC.
SHORT of saying “We told you so,” election watchdog Kontra Daya blames Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. for the fiasco in Maguindanao, where reports of large-scale cheating and results-tampering have again pulled down the poll body’s already low credibility.
Kontra Daya spokesman Fr. Joe Dizon says his group repeatedly met with Abalos and warned him against allowing Comelec officials who were mentioned in the “Hello Garci” tapes from seeing action in Mindanao, among them Maguindanao elections supervisor Lintang Bedol.
To refresh your memories on how Bedol figured in the “Hello, Garci” recordings, click here and here.
“We were yelled at by Abalos,” says Fr. Dizon, when his group requested the transfer or exclusion of the so-called “Hello Garci” personnel from the 2007 elections. He says among those who were with him in that meeting were former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Bishop Deogracias IÃ±iguez and several other Kontra Daya convenors.
“He asked us to file charges, although the Comelec on its own, can and should investigate the ‘Hello Garci’ issue,” said Dizon.
WHILE majority of the governors who have been elected so far belong to the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and its allied parties, two opposition candidates clinched victories by espousing a different kind of politics.
“In our stint here in Pampanga it was very evident na ang mga tao po ang talagang naghahanap, umaasa, at gustong magtrabaho upang magkaroon pa ng pagbabago sa pulitika (that people are really looking, hoping for, and willing to work for political change,” said governor-elect Father Ed Panlilio via teleconference in a forum on political reform held last week.
Panlilio beat incumbent Mark Lapid and board member Lilia Pineda. Lapid has been accused of taking bribes from quarrying operations in Pampanga, while Pineda is the wife of an alleged jueteng boss.
Panlilio said that he would introduce good governance through leadership by example, by becoming a model. He also stressed that leaders should have the competence to lead, so that people would work with them, and with the government.
These may seem like the familiar platitudes spouted by many politicians. But Panlilio, at least, has some concrete plans. He wants to activate Pampanga’s local government council and extend the duties of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) beyond election season.
If Panlilio’s plan pushes through, the PPCRV would become the the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Politics.
There are many similarities between Panlilio and reelectionist Isabela governor Grace Padaca. Both of them had no previous background or experience in politics, and, they say, no desire to run for office.
YOU can be forgiven if you slept through the May elections. There were hardly any surprises there, which in itself is rather disturbing, considering that may mean we now take violence as part and parcel of the process of selecting our leaders and legislators.
In a post-mortem on the polls that is the closing piece for i Reportseries on the May 2007 elections, Manuel L. Quezon III argues that the results show a return to â€œtried-and-tested themes in our political history.â€ As expected, the administration maintained its grip on the House of Representatives. But the results of the senatorial race, which is often considered as a referendum on the sitting administration, clearly show that the public is not pleased with the Palace.
Quezon highlights what he calls â€œsignalsâ€ sent out loud and clear by the election results: â€œPresident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lacks a national following; her machinery could not counteract the national tide; the public expressed itself firmly in favor of checks-and-balances between the executive and the legislative and between the two chambers of the legislature; the military itself, which resisted the call to decide matters in February 2006, also revolted against its commanders and voted as it pleased.â€
IT’S been said that “victory finds a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” This quote accurately sums up the fate of three Catholic priests who threw their hats — or habits if you will — in the political ring in this year’s midterm elections.
While Father Ed Panlilio‘s electoral victory has been hailed as a triumph of good versus evil, and has even merited a statement from the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), which welcomed the “exceptional” victory, not a squeak was heard about the fate of two other priests who ran — but lost — in the May 14 elections. Their names, much like their crusades, have faded into political oblivion.
Panlilio, who ran for governor, anchored his campaign on providing a “credible alternative candidate” for the people of Pampanga. The incumbent governor, Mark Lapid, has been accused of pocketing bribes from quarrying operations in the province, while the other candidate, Provincial Board member Lilia Pineda, has been associated with jueteng, being the wife of alleged gambling lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.
Panlilio vowed to stop corruption and gambling in Pampanga. He won, despite being the subject of a smear campaign for allegedly fathering children with different women, a charge he vehemently denied.
In Occidental Mindoro, Father Ronilo Omanio’s gubernatorial bid seemed to mirror Panlilio’s: man of the cloth running for a local position, seeking to provide an alternative to long-time politician and incumbent governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato, and banking on the people’s sentiments against issues like mining and small town lottery.
ALMOST everyone running for public office believes that a considerable sum of money is needed for a respectable campaign. But as several candidates in the recently concluded midterm elections are finding out, pouring tens of millions of pesos into an ad campaign is no guarantee of a win.
Of those included in the media research firm AC Nielsenâ€™s list of top 12 ad spenders among the senatorial candidates, only four so far are among the Commission on Electionsâ€™ (Comelec) winning dozen. The number one ad spender by AC Nielsenâ€™s count, Team Unityâ€™s Prospero Pichay, occupies a far 16th slot in the Comelec list.
Some political strategists and analysts say that many of the candidatesâ€™ handlers simply misread the political landscape and thought people were still easily swayed by glitz and glamour. But Filipino voters have apparently wised up, and now look for substance in the people they will vote into office.
For sure, there are still those who fail to see the real persona behind a candidateâ€™s media image. Experts say, though, that more and more voters have become discerning — or at least try to be — and now look for clues on what the candidate will eventually do once he or she is elected into office.
For ads to appeal to voters and make them consider a candidate, therefore, the basic ingredients would be resonance, believability, and relevance, say experts. And these, they say, should not necessarily mean a hefty price tag.
We hope the piece, as part of i Report â€™s current series on Elections 2007, would help your readers look back at the elections in a new light — and perhaps reflect on how they arrived at their choices on election day.