The most crucial issue Filipinos must address

19

Which is the most important national issue today?

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Re-election for President Benigno Aquino 3rd? Accusations against Vice-President Jejomar Binay? Metro Rail Transit woes? Bangsamoro bill? Power crisis? Jobs and prices? Ebola? ISIS?

Actually, none of the above, although all of these concerns, along with others, deserve national attention. However, there is an even bigger issue that trumps all — one that strikes at the foundation of democracy, and could open the door to wholesale accumulation and abuse of power. Indeed, it has already done so.

But before we turn to that little discussed yet utterly crucial matter, let’s quickly address some of the ones cited above.

Aquino re-election: One newspaper headlined that the President’s remarks at the Bali Democracy Forum last Friday showed that he was not running again. Considering that he said many times before that he would step down in mid-2016, then hinted in August about re-election, it’s hard to give credence to anything he says about the issue.

More telling is the 62 percent of Pulse Asia survey respondents last month who did not favor Aquino running again. Plus the same proportion not keen on charter change at this time, against just 20 percent in favor. One more: this newspaper’s banner story yesterday on a survey showing Binay trumping both Aquino and Roxas in an election.

Binay accusations: First, let’s get one thing straight: a Senate hearing dominated by the VP’s accusers, with profuse insinuations but nil hard evidence, can never deliver impartial truth. Never. Nor can front-page aerial photographs but no documents of ownership. Binay’s ratings have predictably dropped in a survey done the very week when senators attacked him. But before one writes him off, remember that a pardoned plunderer came in No. 2 in the 2010 presidential race.

Of course, the Binay barrage may herald impeachment, prosecution and jail, taking him out of the polls altogether. But that requires at least 30 percent of congressmen taking the risk that he might still beat the rap, come out on top in 2016, then exact revenge by releasing reams of incriminating pork barrel papers now locked up by Malacañang. With more than 60 percent of survey respondents picking Binay over Aquino and Roxas in yesterday’s headlined poll, that’s a big risk for the 30 percent to take.

Aquino’s neglect and Arroyo’s plan
MRT, electricity, and Ebola: These issues should not have become serious problems. But the first two are, due to high-level incompetence and neglect at the Transportation and Energy agencies, plus possible MRT corruption.

The imperative for proper train and rail maintenance was no secret; neither was the projected demand for power. But the Aquino administration let it all slide, and now wants emergency powers to make up for four years of negligence on electricity, while still refusing to take resolute action on MRT.

Expect more train mishaps and delays, rushed generating deals, and long power cuts. Plus the usual Aquino blame game, which already began with his warning about public anger if lawmakers withhold emergency powers. No apologies, of course, for the real cause of failing trains and power shortages: four years of not heeding repeated warnings on both problems.

As for Ebola, there’s already a tried-and-tested action plan, which kept a far more infectious disease from sweeping the country: the Arroyo administration’s measures against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003. SARS was also viral and incurable like Ebola. But while the latter spreads only through body fluids of victims already with symptoms, SARS infects by sneeze, touch, door knobs, elevator buttons, and room air.

How did we protect the Philippines? Read Chapter 4 of Beating the Odds, a book on Arroyo-era crisis management, co-authored by this writer as then-Cabinet Secretary. Better still, ask then-Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, now head of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health.

But there may be one obstacle: Aquino absolutely abhors adopting any Arroyo achievement, except those that benefit his rule, like her tough fiscal reforms and conditional cash transfer. Let’s hope he doesn’t block the SARS plan.

Bangsamoro and ISIS: These concerns have been extensively covered in past columns, including the ones last Thursday and Monday, and those published on April 4, 7, 9 and 11. We will do further analysis next week, and turn our attention now to the biggest political issue that Filipinos must address now: PCOS.

Hacking Philippine democracy
To cut to the chase, the Smartmatic’s Automated Election System using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) counting and transmission machines must be junked. As clearly and expertly detailed in professor, economist and columnist Rene Azurin’s 2013 book, Hacking Our Democracy: The Conspiracy to Electronically Control Philippine Elections, PCOS was used in 2010 and 2013 with nil safeguards, allowing massive fraud.

Few Filipinos know this, however, thanks to the willful concealment by mainstream media–with the exception of this paper. That is why the Catholic Church and civil society must mount a nationwide campaign to tell Filipinos about this computerized cheating, and mobilize them to fight for a system that complies with the law.

This is absolutely imperative not only to protect the sovereign will of the people, but also to advance the truth and justice of God.

And if the Smartmatic/PCOS or a similar fraud-prone system would again be used, the citizenry must boycott the polls and mount civil resistance. More than any other act of misgovernance by this administration, it is the computerized manipulation of elections that would justify people power.

Electronic election fraud would not only install the ruling party’s preferred winners in national and local positions, but more dangerously, ratify constitutional amendments undermining rights, checks and balances, national security, justice, and accountability.

Quite simply, the destruction of Philippine democracy.

Let’s just look at one immense failing among many others allowed by the Commission on Elections: the electronic transmission of PCOS tallies without digital signatures, as mandated by law and absolutely needed to detect fraudulent data.

In both 2010 and 2013, Comelec dispensed with this indispensable requirement. That is like accepting any vote tally, even those scribbled on toilet paper.

More than fixing the trains, keeping the lights on, and worrying about ISIS and Ebola, unhacking our elections must be the nation’s top agendum.

And the time for bidding out, testing, and rolling out a new system, one that even ordinary Filipinos can check, is fast running out. Not to mention the monumental task of convincing our people that they were fooled twice and must fight a third digital deception.

Let’s pray that Filipinos stand up against PCOS III. Otherwise, we will all pay for it in 2016 and beyond.

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19 Comments

  1. regidor p.abejar on

    ang masama nga lng dito sa bansang pilipinas kung sino pa mataas ang pinag-aralan (kuno)nag-aral sa ibang bansa para magpakadalubhasa sa batas at ipinagmamalaki na alam nila nag batas.. at nagbibihis na para bang kagalang-galang eh sila pa ang mga walang habas na lumalapastangan sa batas at walang takot na nagnanakaw ng kaban ng bayan.at ginagawang negosyo. ng buong pamilya ang pagiging public servant(kuno) katulad ng mga SENATONG at TONGRESSMAN…MAYOR PRESIDENTE at BISE PRESIDENTE….ITO ANG MGA LIDER NA ANG TANGING HANGAD AY MAGPAYAMAN,MAGPAYAMAN MAGPAYAMAN at MAGPAYAMAN……

  2. I am a 74 year old man and there are times that my comments do not merit anything anymore, but I still believe in what I say. And this is what I say concerning your commentary. Reading between the lines of what you wrote, I believe that VP Binay will get away scot free from all these allegations. WOW!!! that’s scary.

    • mong canizares on

      yes , you are correct po! kahit na anung pamamaraaan ng ng pag giba kay VP BINAY, sya pa rin ang mananaig at mag wawagi sa 2016!

      he had done a lot of good for the marginalized members of our country.mapa bata, matanda! he is an industrious and dedicated man.

  3. Yes Mr. Saludo the horrifying effect of incompetence and callousness of the president has a chilling effect on the suferring of the Filipino people. Never again that such an inutile leader be allowed to lead the country.

  4. anong iilan ilan lang ang bumasa ng manila times ang dami by thousands kasama ka crisostomo ibarra. paki lista daw ng excellent job the president is doing para mahango ang bayan sa kahirapan at ipakilala mo dito ang isang mahirap na hinango ni pinoy sa kahirapan. Kung hindi mo ito magawa ipa barang kita dito sa Siquijor para mabura sa mundo ang isang katulad mo na hindi nakakita ng katotohanan… Pinoy or noynoy is worst President that our country ever had…..

  5. emperorfuckface on

    Every single sentence is this article is totally true! Everything tells the truth straight forward. Wala ng pasikot sikot! MRT problem which is truly visible in the eyes of all is just ignore(Meh! Forget about the train matiisin naman ang Filipino di ba? Siraiin at pabagsakin ang mga kaaway natin -PNoy Administration pigs)
    This is very well said bro – “then exact revenge by releasing reams of incriminating pork barrel papers now locked up by Malacañang.”. This is what the Palace fears, the truth that must be told. They will do everything just to hide the crap they made. hahahaha the PDAF issue to destroy names backfired towards them via DAP but again(Meh! let’s explain then we find an issue(Binay) so feed the media then this will be buried. Besides kung ano ang trending susundan ng mga Filipino yon right?)
    PCOS and SmartAssMatic, this is not yet a 101% reliable system this can be easily rigged.

    The thing that they also tend to forget it, heavy traffic issue along EDSA which well the media said according to some foreign bored dude waste millions of pesos and ofcourse other peoples time.
    FLOOD IN THE STREETS kahit mahina ang ulan, well nakakatuwa dahil everytime na uulan ng malakas same exact street parin ang binabaha though local government may gamay dito still if the administration can interfere with senseless issues well this issue isn’t senseless at all. Pukpukin mo sila gumawa ng paraan Mr. President!

    Well sa totoo lang honestly the majority doesn’t give sa mga issues na ito, why? because they are already tired of the same issues. They are much more aware and give a damn about new phones being released and which to buy, trending nonsense over the interwebs, artista, and cats(LOL cats).

    Mr. Saludo idol na kita!

  6. crisostomo Ibarra says thepresident is doing an excellent job! HELLO!!! Where have you been??? or maybe you are enjoying the comforts of the DAP, away from the monstrous traffic in the metros, and accidents of the MRT ,maybe you are living in the comforts of your own power plant…or the least you are playing blind, deaf, and numb…that’s how money can influence one’s character…

    • 100% agreed…in 2016 please run for president who ever you are..GDP is fast overran by LIBIDO in RP…and commissioned a white paper for a parallel study about GDP in countries with legalized prostitution against those countries which outlaws prostitution. Let us scrutinize this…maybe RP is too much prudent on prostitution legalization issue..I am hoping people will see the relevant connection.

    • There is no such thing as overpopulation. Filipinos are not standing on top of the others, so there are still abundant space for everyone. The Philippines lacks a government and leaders that care about the people and the country. Corruption is killing the Philippine society and the majority of the people doesn’t want to do anything with it. So, those thieves and liars will continue to do so, till there is nothing to steal from the people anymore.

  7. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the CIA controls the Smartmatic computers and that they will do everything to keep that in place. The only the correct approach is to boycott the 2016 selection (not election) to dramatically demonstrate to the world the illegitimacy of its pre-determined outcome.

    • The PCOS can also create voters where there are none at the precinct level if needed. So what effect will an election boycott have ? Cheating will be easier to do for the non-voters can no longer protest that they think their votes were not counted for they did not vote in the first place. The solution is to impeach Brillantes and all sitting Commissioners and jail the entire Melo Commission and all second level Comelec officials in both Brillantes and Melo Commissions. Then conduct a really transparent, secure, auditable, accurate and honest election using an independent and specially created body.

  8. It astounds me how so many government bodies are able to get away with breaking laws and no action is taken against them. Is the Comelec the only one responsible to rule on itself? Who should be taking action to make the Comelec comply with laws and conduct an open and honest election?

  9. Dominador D. Canastra on

    Thanks for at last joining the call for protecting our imperfect but viable democracy and our elections. Mr. Saludo.
    It makes me wonder how some of the Times columnists (never mind those of the other papers that belong to Aquino’s Yellow Horde) still write about the 2016 elections and analyze the possible results unmindful of the dictatorship of the Comelec/Smartmatic PCOS machines.

  10. I THINK THIS PCOS ANOMALY IS A CASE THAT SHOULD BETTER BE INVESTIGATED BY CAYETANO-TRILLANES-PIMENTEL TEAM, OR PDAF/DAP 100 OF BILLIONS NATIONAL TREASURY RAID CASE, OR CANCELLATION OF FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS OR BATAAN NUCLEAR PLANTS WHICH COULD HAVE EASED THE MISERIES OF FILIPINOS WITH THE ELIMINATION OF FLOOD DESTRUCTION, LOWERING THE COST OF BASIC COMMODITIES DUE TO LOWER ELECTRICITY COSTS. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THEY ARE WASTING GOVERNMENT RESOURCES, THEIR TIME AND EFFORT TO BINAY WHICH IS ALREADY INVESTIGATED BY OMBUDSMAN PLUS MIRIAM. I THINK MANY HUMBLE FILIPINO CITIZENS CAN BETTER SERVE FILIPINOS LIKE BELGICA THE PDAF/DAP SLAYER USE TO BE HONORABLE CONGRESS WHICH LOOKS LIKE JUST A RUBBERSTAMP CONGRESS, THANKS GOD, FEW TOBY/RIDON LIKE STATESMAN STILL STANDING UP OF FOR THE EVILS OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT.

    • Roldan Guerrero on

      The people you mentioned are beneficiaries of the HUKOS-PICOS. So dont expect them to do it.

  11. I totally agree – Electronic cheating of elections results.

    Antidote: “Boycott the Elections”.

    Yen M – Ric Saludo “MABUHAY KAyo”

    MBUHAY ANG “MINILA TIMES”

    • crisostomo ibarra on

      ano bang mabuhay..iilan ilan na lang kayong nagbabasa ng manila times..lalong lalo na ang mga columnist dito…they keep on bashing the president who is doing an excellent job para mahango ang bayan sa kahirapan…