• An outbreak of democracy, or an epidemic of madness?


    In a novel awaiting publication, I write of a country where political insanity reigns. It is ruled by a despot who has rid her country of unwanted children and seniors; closed the sexual divide between men and women; outlawed marriage among the poor, except those of the same sex, and those who, although of different sexes, are sterile or past childbearing. Here, everyone may be put to sleep upon reaching seventy-five years or earlier, if sick or bed-ridden. The rich may still contract inter-sex marriage, but only if they are sterilized or agree to destroy any accidental offspring.

    Here, the Empressident is the law, controlled by outside powers. She likes to believe she has popular support, but she manufactures that support by rigging all surveys and elections. When the people threaten to march against the unrestrained cheating, she shifts to public lottery as the method in choosing their leader. The qualifications and disqualifications for the highest office are expanded and anyone with all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications is instantly a candidate. This means thousands, if not millions, running.

    The people observe ninety days of prayer and fasting, after which they hold the lottery at the capital’s biggest public square. The name of every candidate is written on a small piece of paper; this is rolled into a ball and thrown into a giant metal bin where the lucky winner is drawn. As soon as the lucky paper ball is drawn, all the other paper balls are dropped inside an incinerator and burned. Then the winner is proclaimed. No propaganda surveys, no public debates, no media ads anywhere, no political campaigning, no election-related violence or killings.

    A lone critic protests that “the lottery does away with the people’s inviolable right to choose their own leader,” but the public, supported by the mass media and the official pollsters, dismiss the objection, saying, “just when did the people exercise such right to choose their own leader?” One well-known Bible scholar points out that lotteries have always enjoyed a sound standing in Scripture—the Apostles drew lots to choose the man who would replace Judas, after he hanged himself for betraying Christ, the Son of God, his Lord and Master. The objection vanishes like soap bubble, and the lottery stays as the means used for picking the nation’s leader.

    I TRIED TO FOLLOW what was going on at the Commission on Elections on Friday, last day of filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2016 presidential elections. I could not believe what I was hearing. By 3:30 p.m., as I went on board my regular weekly taping of my Sunday TV program on GNN (Destiny Cable), I was told 89 presidential candidates had already filed. I was momentarily distracted by reports that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had finally decided to run for president, after saying no and no again the day before for the nth time, and filing his COC for mayor of Davao. The reports turned out to be completely false, although a Comelec spokesman was quoted as saying Duterte has until December to replace his party’s secretary-general Martin Dino, who has filed for president, without any chance of any respectable showing.

    For a while I thought life was finally imitating art; that the Comelec had adopted my fictional idea of a lottery as the method for choosing the President; and that everybody who thought they had all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications had decided to file. By Saturday morning, the major newspapers reported 130 presidential filers, 19 for vice president, and 172 for senator. Although the Constitution imposes minimal requirements for the presidency—-i.e., one should be a natural-born citizen, a registered voter, able to read and write (on election day), 40 years of age, and a resident of the country 10 years immediately preceding the election—-it became clear that President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s dismal performance in office had set the bar so low that even mere tricycle drivers think they can now run the government. Others thought they could run without complying with the constitutional requirements, as evidenced by one who is not yet 40 but claims to have exceptional academic credentials to compensate for her not being of age, and by Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is neither a natural-born citizen nor a resident of the country for the last 10 years immediately preceding the elections.

    Exactly what are we seeing here? One newspaper calls it a sign of vibrant Philippine democracy. I call it an outbreak of insanity. If indeed “RPS Philippines” under Aquino is a sinking ship, as many of us have been saying until now, and it is a scientific fact that rats are the first to swim out of every sinking ship, then we should be witnessing a massive exodus of vermin from this one. But what kind of rats are these that are racing to board it? These are not rats but patriots wanting to save the nation, we are told, and there should be thousands, if not millions, running for president. In fact, we should all be running for president, if we were intelligent than we are. It is the patriotic thing to do.

    But can there be any real patriotism in taking part in an election that promises to totally wreck the democratic process? The greater patriotism, it seems to me, lies in exposing and opposing it, in making sure that we abstain from our customary “elections” until the State is finally able to guarantee a truly clean, honest, transparent and truly credible process, without any tinge or stigma of Smartmatic’s outrageous “hocus PCOS.” Otherwise, we must accept the fact that the inmates have taken over the asylum for real, no longer merely as a figure of speech.

    Indeed, a real insanity epidemic has broken out, far more dangerous than any of the epidemics that had migrated to our shores over the past so many years from the dark African continent. The least prepared individuals would like to procure the most important positions for themselves, creating all the necessary theatrics to distract the nation from the necessary task of ensuring a clean, honest, transparent and credible process. Instead of debating whether the nation should hold an election where the voting machine has been divested of all the safety and security features and accuracy mechanisms required by law, it is compelled to debate whether a non-Filipino with an American family should be allowed to run for president, just because she is backed by a powerful conglomerate that believes it should own the next government, and she is said to be rating high in the paid propaganda surveys.

    In the wake of this development, it has become absolutely necessary to require all those seeking high office to submit to an extensive psychiatric test, as a requirement for allowing them to pursue their bid for the office. What happened to us in the case of Aquino should not happen again. In 2010, candidate Aquino nixed such a test just by dismissing the proposal with contempt, saying he would not dignify it. The result is now history. We all know he is mentally sick, except that we do not know the exact name of his illness. We should not repeat our mistake. All 130 “candidates” should be subjected to a rigorous test as part of the qualifying process. While the tests are ongoing, the “candidates” should probably be quarantined and not allowed to mingle with the population; their relatives, friends, associates and private psychiatrists should be given “visiting hours.”

    Whether or not they pass the psychiatric test, they should all be asked to declare whether they are prepared to accept the results of any kind of elections in 2016. The members and supporters of the National Transformation Council are not. They will resist any farce, not just passively but actively if necessary. And the numbers of those ready and eager to reject another farce (after the 2010 and 2013 exercises) are increasing every day around the country. This is where we need not just hundreds but thousands, if not millions, of patriots who will want to lead.

    TODAY, pursuant to the Comelec rule that petitions for the disqualification of candidates may be filed only after the deadline for the filing of COCs, which fell on Friday, Oct. 16, I will be filing before the Comelec a petition for the disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares as a candidate for president. I will be assisted by Atty. Manuelito Luna, who is the counsel on record in the quo warranto suit against Mrs. Llamanzares before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). SET petitioner Rizalito David has joined the 130 for whom I am recommending a psychiatric test, but I don’t believe the SET petition is affected by David’s unexamined desire to become president.

    My petition is purely constitutional; based on the Constitution, and the admitted facts of the case, Mrs. Llamanzares is not even legally a Filipino citizen at this point, she could be naturalized as a Filipino, but as of now she is actually stateless. Not all the beer in the world could change that. Two top business executives, accompanied by a public relations practitioner cum newspaper columnist, were earlier reported to have met with a Western diplomat to ask if it was all right for them to bankroll the candidacy of Mrs. Llamanzares. The answer was reportedly vague, but it was clearly one way of asking whether the diplomat’s government supports Mrs. Llamanzares. After the phenomenal success of “Heneral Luna,” especially among the young, that would be a dangerous exercise.


    ERRATUM. In my Friday column, an error occurred. The PAL airborne incident occurred not two hours before landing in Vancouver, but two hours before landing in New York, after stopping in Vancouver, the plane’s only stop. Sorry for the glitch.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. Dear Sen Kit

      The problem of leading prez bets is because it starts with letter C.

      Grace Poe – Citizenship
      Mar Roxas – Competence
      Jojo Binay – Corruption
      Miriam Santiago – Cancer

    2. What Noynoy actually means when he says there must be continuity in his Daang Matuwid is to allow all occupants of the National Mental Hospital to run for President in 2016.

    3. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      19 October 2015

      A psychiatrist test for all of those 130 presidential and 19 vice presidential filers, as suggested by Manila Times columnist Francisco S. Tatad, appears sane at first blush!

      The problem with his suggestion is that the Constitution does not limit the number of candidates who can be a candidate for President, for Vice President, for Senator, or for any other elective public office.

      And so his suggestion will not “wash!”

      I would suggest, instead, that he “tickle” the SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL into ruling on the citizenship of GRACE POE LLAMANZARES asap, but before she goes out campaigning.


    4. Dapat DNA test ay kay Rosemarie Sonora at dis Grace Kalat na ang balita na si Rosemarie Sonora ang nanay dis Grace. Bakit si Susan Roces ayaw magsalita tungkol sa bagay na ito, dahil alam
      niya na si dis Grace Nk ni Rosemarie. Iyan ang dapat malaman tungkol sa DNA ni dis Grace at Rosemarie. Iyan boboto pabor kay dis Gracia dapat bigyan lecsiyon yan, d pa nang manumpa sila Puprotectahan nila ang ating Saligang Batas, Dapat bigyan sila ng actionng matauhan iyan ang mga iyan, nakakahiya mga senador pa naman sila.

    5. God Bless Philippines!!! yes that’s true, we are sinking ship and rats are going abroad to find employment!!!!

    6. Marcelo Garcia on

      There is really a barrage of disinformation about the citizenship of Grace Poe. Most are deliberately omitting relevant facts to sway the thinking of the large majority of the electorate who are ignoramuses when it comes to the constitution and other laws on citizenship.

      A classic example is Tatad planned petition against Grace’s citizenship based on constitutional ground. I doubt if he has read thoroughly the 1935 Philippine Constitution that had primary jurisdiction over Grace’s citizenship. The citizenship provision there did not dwell on the status of Grace’s citizenship as a foundling in the Philippines, more particularly in Jaro, Iloilo. Former Pres. Manuel Roxas, as one of the framers, aptly contended that the constitution need not include provision/s on citizenship of foundlings like Grace’s. Why? There were enough principles of interanational about it that the Philippines adopt as part of the law of the land. The articles written by former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban cited several of these principles. One simply has to read it.

      What about the press release of the Senate of the Philippines declaring Grace Poe a natural-born citizen? Will the senator-members of SET disregard it despite the press release being somehow the sense of the Senate?

      Back to the 1935 Constitution. This constitution never defined or distinguished who the natural-born Filipinos are yet if required candidates for President, VP, and senators to be one. We can only determine who they are by using the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. Now we know that natural-born Filipinos are those who need not do anything to acquire or perfect their citizenship. There are only two types of Filipino citizenship under the 1973 and 1987 constitutions – natural-born and naturalized. Naturalized Filipinos are those foreigners who underwent naturalization under the Philippine Naturalization Law. These foreigners must not be below 21 years old to qualify, among other requirements.

      Applying the principles of International law on the case of Grace Poe, the Philippines has to respect the presumption that the unknown parents were Filipinos
      and therefore Grace Poe is natural-born. Since another principle is the recognition that a child has the right to a nationality at birth (to prevent statelessness), Grace Poe therefore is a natural-born Filipino at birth.

      The case of Grace Poe is so simple; yet for those with hidden agenda, becomes so difficult to the point of deliberately disregarding other relevant facts to convince themselves of the truth they want to believe.

      Dare to publish this comment!

    7. How to join, be a member of the NTC, please Mr. Tatad, include that in your next column! Ms. Grace Poe should not ignore the call for her to settle first her case before thr SET. Do not hurry Ms. Grace Poe, do not the people behind you decides for you, you are still young and destiny to become President will not fade if it is really for you!

    8. The reason why so many people are running for president is because nobody believe in Philippine elections anymore or many elected officials are clowns anyway, so all other clowns want to be elected as well. That simple!

    9. Let’s not be coy. Ramon Ang and his cronies are behind Poe’s candidacy and they are looking at billions in windfall and so much power if she manages to win. Poe is a willing puppet, period.

    10. All candidates who wishes to hold public offices must undergo psychiatric test. Let it be obligatory.

    11. Sen. Tatad:

      I am interested in joining the NTC. Is it possible for you to PM your contact number to my Facebook account inbox? Thank you.

    12. Sir,
      Kung nabubuhay lang po sila Andres Bonifacio,Jose Rizal, Heneral Luna at ang iba pang magigiting na Pilipino, e baka po na bitay na po ang mga yan.
      Insanity may be an excuse to the commission of treasonous crimes.

    13. how come a biased opinion writer (Tatad) who files a case against Grace Poe & continue to discuss the merits of the case in this newspaper?

      • Ye you yellow turds, when you yellows discuss it? It’S alright you one eyed BASTARDS. What the good senator says is right. Grace is an opportunistic liar. If she had some sense of delicadesa she should quit now. She is just shameless.

    14. Sir, if I may say, give Sen. Poe the benefit of the doubt and let us wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling on her case.

      • With due respect, it is not a good idea. Assuming Ms. Llamanzares wins before the SC resolves her case, it will be a very complicated situation. It is not a simple task to unseat a sitting president. Better to resolve Ms. Llamanzares’ questioned qualification now.

      • if you wait for the SET, then you might lose the window of opportunity to file a disqualification case with the comelec. as sotto who is a member ot the SET and number 1 campaigner of llamanzares, has said the SET might come out with their decision by end of november. ang tagal pa baka mag tapos na ang time given by comelec rules to file a disqualification case against any candidate

      • Mr Mike

        this is a free country, let kit do his thing
        and you can do yours

        besides if you have read the pertinent provisions
        of the constitution, I N E N G L I S H
        you do not have to be a Supreme Court Justice
        to make your own judgement


    15. Mr. Tatad: What steps are currently being done to avoid this possible hocuspocus of this coming election? These surveys showing Roxas as increasing his survey points are prelude to a massive and concerted efforts to rig this election. Are we just sit down and do nothing? These poll survey companies are plain and simple prostitutes. They will cater to the highest bidder!!

      • These surveys showing Roxas as increasing his survey points

        Surveys results depends on who pays for them, they are propaganda tools for the rich.

    16. Rizalito David on

      Per Senator Tatad’s view, the assertion includes me. Perhaps at face value I am. But it is not as a matter of personal desire for power and fame but rather because of a desire to keep my word on an obligation that I must fulfill for my own religious community and fundamentally for my Faith. If the venture fulfills itself, then we are in for even greater miracles. This is not insanity. This is spreading the faith; inspiring hope; and keeping the love alive.

      • At first, I was mystified as to why you would want to run for the presidency. You have already performed a great service to the Filipino people by questioning Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares’ right to occupy her senatorial seat. I had hoped that you would do the same once she filed her COC for the presidency.

        Faith is something for which no rationalization is required. You have made a choice and now have a platform from which you can spread the Faith in your own way. Good luck and God’s blessings to you!!

    17. Good news! Thank you, Mr. Tatad. The primacy of the Philippine Constitution is at stake, and must be pursued vigorously. The more disqualification complaints filed against Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares, the better it is for the Filipino people. Someone has to act for the poor and impoverished “bobotantes” and zero or low-information voters who, day after day, are so preoccupied with procuring the basic necessities of life that their political literacy is virtually nil.

      Maybe this time, Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares will submit her so-called DNA test results. Her lawyers made quite a bit of production about these DNA tests, but so far, no results have been produced or submitted to SET. Perhaps the results are not favorable to her?

      Those two business executives who approached the Western Diplomat are to be guarded against. It is quite disturbing to read that a foreign government may interfere in the 2016 elections in any manner whatsoever. We need to be vigilant and watchful about this matter.

      As for the psychiatric test you mentioned, I am all for it. I wonder whether Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago will submit to such a test knowing that she is already perceived as “Brenda”.

      Finally, as for your statement that “President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s dismal performance in office had set the bar so low that even mere tricycle drivers think they can now run the government”, my response is why not? Hahahahaha…..LOL!!!

    18. I think some of the candidates are just making fun of our electoral system, I think they need to raise filing fee to millions (if there is one) and should be available at the time of filing, and less if the position they are running has less responsibilities and should be non-refundable They should undergo psychological and lie detector test to make sure that they are not hallucinating and make sure that their intention is pure public service and not to enriched themselves if they get elected.

    19. Let me ‘repeat’ what I wrote somewhere. Beyond her personal circumstances, what qualifications does she bring to the position to govern a country of 100 million, or so, Filipinos, with local and international problems, among many others? Is she all the Filipinos are worth for a president?

      I wish many more, of the stature of this columnist about this problem like Mrs. Llamanzares are “concerned”, which means, “concern for the future of the country and people.

      Congratulations, statesman Mr. Tatad. Right on!:..

    20. Mr. Tatad , for the sake of the Sanctity of our Constitution , You must encourage all the Patriots of this country to come out and defend this Nation !