Many want Duterte proclaimed now, but he’s shooting himself in the foot


DESPITE earlier fears that the intense divisiveness and hostility of the last campaign might prevent a president-elect from being proclaimed, forcing the vice-president-elect to temporarily run the new government, the vice-presidential election has become so much more controversial than the presidential, for the first time in the nation’s history.

This happened after Liberal Party’s presidential candidate Mar Roxas conceded the election to the frontrunner PDP-Laban candidate Rodrigo Duterte, and reportedly “diverted” a “float of votes” to his teammate, Rep. Leni Robredo, to ensure her election as Vice President and eventual assumption of the presidency after President B.S. Aquino 3rd’s remaining allies in Congress, if any, impeach Duterte.

Following the unbroken tradition of amoral political opportunism in the country, at least 80 of the 116 elected LP members of the House of Representatives have already hopped on the bandwagon of the presumptive President-elect Duterte. The new Coalition for Change has agreed to support Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as the next Speaker of the House after Quezon City’s Sonny Belmonte.

This mass defection leaves the LP with less than the one-third of the 292 House members needed to impeach a President or any other impeachable official. But it is not yet clear whether there has been any change of plans since Aquino’s group, fearing criminal prosecution for their crimes during the last six years, decided to work for the immediate removal of the new president.

The Marcos proposal
On Monday, Sen. Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos, Jr. proposed in a privilege speech that since all of Duterte’s rivals had already conceded defeat, and his proclamation appears to be but a mere formality, the Davao strongman should be immediately proclaimed President-elect by the national canvassing board whose work begins today. Many agree.

But he urged utmost care and vigilance in canvassing the votes for the Vice President, which is now tightly contested between Robredo and himself, out of the five original candidates. Marcos had been leading in the unofficial count by as much as nearly a million votes, until he was unexpectedly overtaken at an astonishingly regular rate for every 45,000 votes, in an undeviating straight-line or linear pattern, which defied explanation by experts.

This developed after one Marlon Garcia, a Venezuelan employee of Smartmatic-TIM, (the Venezuelan partner of the Commission on Elections in an otherwise all-Filipino electoral exercise), illegally inserted a script or “command” into the transparency server at the “Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting” (PPCRV) center, purportedly to correct an error, without any authorization from the Comelec.

This was the same Marlon Garcia who did something similar to the PPCRV transparency server in the 2013 senatorial elections, without getting even a slap on the wrist. That incident did not elicit the kind of reaction the present one has, but the results of that election also defied rational analysis.

Ateneo mathematics professor Alex Muga and other academics concluded that the process was so manipulated as to ensure that President B.S. Aquino 3rd’s senatorial candidates would get 60 percent of all the votes even in places where they were not known, the nominal opposition 30 percent, and the Independents, 10. This became known as the “60-30-10 process.”

In that election, 59,666 precincts were reported to have had identical results, and the hitherto unheralded Grace Poe Llamanzares garnered 20 million votes a few hours after the voting ended, when only a small portion of the votes had been transmitted. This number had to be trimmed down to 16 million after a few days, and then restored to 20 million-plus at the end of the process. This unchallenged “victory” emboldened her to run for President last May 9, despite her lack of natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency in the Philippines.

Comelec’s indifference
In his speech, Marcos lamented the fact that although he had formally asked the Comelec to have the unauthorized script or computer command thoroughly examined so as to determine its effects, if any, on the votes of the vice-presidential candidates, this appeal had fallen on deaf ears. He said that while Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista says Garcia’s unauthorized intervention resulted only in “cosmetic change” without altering the data in the server, he has failed to show any proof that this was indeed the case.

The official narrative says the script or computer command was tweaked by the Venezuelan operative to allow the Hispanic letter “ñ” to be inserted into the name of the defunct presidential candidate Roy Señerez and senatorial candidate Sergio “Osmeña” III. Some experts instantly dismiss this claim as nonsense.

They point out that if this was in fact the case, it should have manifested itself early enough when the server was first being tested, not during the election itself. In reality, they say no such problem could have occurred at any time because apart from the fact that the machine reads numbers rather than words, no voter was writing any names on the ballot; the voters were shading ovals corresponding to the names of the candidates, whether they had an “ñ” or not.

Bam Aquino intervenes
Sen. Bam Aquino, who is known to have managed Robredo’s campaign, tried to dismiss Garcia’s unauthorized insertion of the script or computer command as simply “unfortunate.” But Marcos was quick to supply him with the more precise word: “Unfortunate? No, illegal is the word.”

Aquino tried to point out that since Marcos needed the Comelec to show whether Garcia’s unauthorized action has affected the accuracy of the votes, he could not, therefore, be sure that fraud had been committed. Sophistry upon sophistry even in the Senate.

Marcos said the anatomy of fraud had many layers—vote-buying, terrorism, disenfranchisement, pre-shading of ballots, and various types of digital interventions that constitute wholesale manipulation and fraud. He declined to detail the various pieces of evidence his camp has unearthed, but he promised to present them during the canvass. These would include sworn affidavits, witnesses and even whistle-blowers who were a party to the execution of the fraud.

He said he would press the canvassing board to act on the evidence his camp would prevent, instead of allowing them to simply take “note” of it. In one previous election, the board merely “noted” all the evidence against a certain presidential candidate. This gave one senator the name of “Mr. Noted,” but the alleged fraud was never addressed and the candidate concerned got away with it. Thanks to the voters’ short memory, too, “Mr. Noted” will again be in the Senate.

Under the rules drawn up by the two Houses, none of those who ran for President or Vice President or their next of kin will be participating in the canvass. These include Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Grace Poe Llamanzares, who both ran for President; Nancy Binay, whose father Vice President Jejomar C. Binay was also a presidential candidate; Alan Peter Cayetano and his sister Pia Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, Gregorio Honasan, Francis Escudero and Marcos. From the House of Representatives, Robredo would also be excluded.

However, Senate President Frank Drilon, who is a ranking LP official and who ran for reelection in this election, will be presiding over the canvassing process. His role is constitutionally ordained, and he is required to be objective and impartial, regardless of his political affiliation.

A class act
Despite the enormous gravity of the subject, and the cost this contest has inflicted upon the lives of the protagonists and their respective families, Marcos managed to present his case without a single accusatory statement against his closest opponent. It was a class act—an admirable demonstration of good manners, good breeding and statesmanship. Not once did he refer to her by name in his speech nor did he link her to any alleged irregularity at the polls. It was Aquino who mentioned her by name in his interpellation of Marcos.

Nor did Marcos find it necessary to remind Aquino that in the plenary hall of Congress or Parliament, Members are required to address each other in the third person (“the distinguished Gentleman”) rather than in the familiar second person (“you”). The presiding officer normally reminds the speakers on the Floor of this rule whenever it is breached.

Despite this breach of parliamentary manners, it was a delight to listen to Marcos state his case without rancor or recrimination. If the end proves him victorious, it should be not only because he had all the necessary votes in his favor, but above all because he deserved to have those votes as a well-bred gentleman of probity, honor, justice and peace. Should fortune, on the other hand, withhold her favor from him, honest and decent men and women would at least pray that those in high office would have his keenness of mind and nobility of character. That is more than the equivalent of any elected position.

Ensuring stability
Marcos’s proposal to have Duterte immediately proclaimed as president-elect will have to be taken up by the board, according to its rules. Since the senator will not be present at the canvassing, somebody else will have to restate his proposal. But it is a positive move to stabilize the existing situation, and not only Duterte but the nation above all should benefit from it as we await the June 30 transfer of political power. The nation needs immediate stability and healing before it can confront the vast political, economic and social challenges that await the next administration.

Regrettably, certain new developments seem to portend a more difficult beginning for the Duterte government. Duterte seems to think very little of the effects of putting his foot inside his mouth, or shooting himself in the foot. These are self-inflicted problems. His latest blast at the Catholic Church is completely unnecessary and unprovoked. It saddens many Catholics who earnestly desire to help him succeed despite his faults. This is one unnecessary conflict he could avoid and should avoid, if he wants to heal and unite rather than divide the nation.

Can he handle the Church and the US at the same time?

Another source of immediate conflict has to do with the CPP/NPA/NDF’s call for the revocation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States. Signed in 2014, EDCA allows the US to station forces, facilities, and armaments in pre-designated areas occupied by Armed Forces of the Philippines, for a period of 10 years automatically renewable at the end of that period for an indefinite term until revoked by either of the two parties.

Aquino entered into this “executive agreement” without involving the Senate despite the clear constitutional provision requiring the entry of foreign military bases, troops or facilities to be covered by a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. Many constitutional specialists regard this agreement as patently unconstitutional, despite the Supreme Court ruling upholding its “constitutionality.” But the same people will defend the need for strong security ties with the US under a constitutionally sound agreement.

The communist demand puts Duterte in a tight spot. The communist Left is an upcoming coalition partner, to whom Duterte has promised four Cabinet posts; if he ignores or spurns their demand, he may not know how to deal with its immediate and long-term consequences. If, on the other hand, he bows to their demand, he may also not know how to deal with the adverse, if not punitive, reaction from the US government. He may have put himself between a rock and a hard place.

A recent study by the Heritage Foundation says that the US, with all its military might, is hardly in a position now to fight a major war on two simultaneous fronts. Will Duterte, even before he could consolidate his power, be able to wage an unnecessary conflict with the Catholic Church and the US or the communists at the same time? This is a serious issue which I hope to examine in my next columns.


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  1. Fidel Guevarra on

    3 TO 6 MONTHS the popularity of Duterte will exhaust and majority would curse him.

  2. Walter tubis on

    Here is a king who starts by dividing his kingdom instead of uniting his force. A president who plants hatred and division instead of love and understanding.

  3. Rodolfo T. Rosario on

    Go Leny, you are our Vice President. This country needs honest, clean and selfless leader who are rare nowadays.

    • Hindi pa rin nakahulagpos si Tatad sa yakap ni Marcos.Akala niya panahon pa rin nilang mga mandaraya.Pinaniwalaan na niya ang sariling niyang mga kasinungalingan.Poor opus dei old man.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      Blind follower and admirer of Leni. But, it is your right to choose and that should be respected. The truth will certainly prevail and just as GRACE failed , Leni will follow suit. God save the Philippines.

  4. Joshua Schneider on

    Well folks one of the reasons that I left the US to make my home in the Philippines was the unending succession of Bush 41, Clinton 42, Bush 43, Obama 44, and Ms Clinton trying to become Clinton 45. And if the rumours are correct we might see Ms. Obama running in 8 years. It seems a natural order in the world that voters seek those that they think they know. There is some security in that. We men have our favourite week end cloths that we wear far beyond their usefulness (not to mention how much they seem to have shrunk around the middle. And it seems that women have their favourites also, but some how prevent shrinkage. Actually I think it is a plot by women.
    The author makes very good points in how this election was run. The fly (it seems) in the ointment is the on going problems with the CPP/NPA/NDF and how Duterte will be able to solve his promise to put 4 very liberal ( ok communists ) in his cabinet. So for the first time we have a President-Elect from Mindanao. Excluding Carlos P. Garcia all of our modern Presidents have been from Luzon. Duterte might have made the best choice of his upcoming administration by bringing them to the table and giving them a voice, instead of Billions of Pesos as the outgoing administration was prepared to do. He also might have made the worse choice also. My opinion is we have the right person at the right time. Who better to solve Mindanao’s problems. In a short time we will know and I hope the outcome is finally a healing one. Lets give his administration a chance before we worry about impeachment and how the Vice-Presidential election is going to change the Philippines.
    Finally, lets leave the election pre and post as they were. Just because we have the usual post-election chatter is no reason to change the timing of the transference of power.
    As for how the United States will react to the 4 posts, wellllll we have a President who has allowed millions of illegal aliens to enter the country and gift them with welfare benefits and in one state, drivers licenses. The US has too many problems at home to worry about, President Obama will probably congratulate and ask Duterte to take in a few million also.

  5. tony de leon on

    if digong listen to Jo Ma Sison then he will be on his way down hill. we will back to square one. nothing accomplished and divisiveness maintained.

  6. The mere fact basta Na lamang tinanggal ng Comelec yung Hundreds of Trained VCM technicians 4 days bago Ang Election at pinalitan ng mga bagong VCM technicians without any Explanation ay kaduda Duda Na! Why 4 days bago Ang election e nakaroon ng tanggalan?

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    I have always maintained that the Church, the US and the NPAs are just three different representations of the same force or power, just like the Holy Trinity, only that there is nothing holy about this diabolical trio. The Church is now at a crucial juncture in its history here in this country which she may not realize, and this has been brought about by centuries of misplaced political activism that has now eroded her credibility to the point that she has become totally vulnerable because of her false teachings. One sign is the explosion of non-Catholic denominations which includes Duterte’s backer Quiboloy who preaches that he is the new Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, the US is finding it harder and harder to impose its will on the world, and the signs include Ukraine and Crimea, Syria, the South China Sea and many others too numerous to mention, and even domestically there is now resistance to their desire to dominate with the emergence of Donald Trump. There is no need to elaborate on their current debt problem which has become mathematically impossible to pay. As for the NPAs, like the American-backed terrorists serving as US proxies fighting Assad in Syria, these local “communists” that has been waging a decades old American backed terror campaign against our Republic will just do the bidding of their real masters based in Washington. The enemy is playing a diabolical game of chess, but he is weakening. The challenge for Duterte, in case he decides to engage in battle, is formidable but not impossible. To pray for Duterte is to pray for the people.

  8. Hector David on

    Duterte is a breath of fresh air
    .. he is airing his ideas/thoughts though sometimes crude and undiplomatic ..the fact is he is a no bullshit guy .. which government is full of… Robredo should be the first to call for a systems audit if she won fairly… She is scared that she might loose on a fair count…the tampering in her favor was obvious and done with arrogance….Garcia should go to jail….and Bam Aquino should allow transparency … even bending over backwards…..haven’t you heard ..THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

    • Talking of cheating and Truth. Who do you think holds the truth. The payback that Duterte has shown in the line up of misfits in his cabinet all remnants of cheating in the reelection of GMA will show that the machinery of Duterte was GMA. Who and what do you think, did make Duterte win this election.THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE, as you said ponder on it once more. Keep the answer to yourself, if truth is what you seek.

    • That’s right he’ll be a “loose cannon”. There will be so much divisiveness in our country now than ever before. With his new pronouncements against members of the Catholic priesthood, including Quiboloy, NPA, questionable appointments, etc.. I think the supporters will be guilty why they have voted for the man. They are already making excuses for DU30. Stay tune for more and have fun!

  9. Too early to judge Duterte,too many reactionary istead of uniting the nation as one. We are not God, just human full weakness and folishness.See what kind of fruit he is.

  10. Plain and simple no evidence to back the charge of cheating committed by leni, only allegations, we should all move on. Roxas n poe accepted defeat in a gracious manner but the others can’t imitate that statemans attitude. as cong gonzales stated the pres and vp had same coc so san kukunin ng camp ni bongbong ang bilang niya. Just asking.

    • What NO Evidence? Narinig mo ba yung sabi ni Sen BBM Na nag reklamo Ang mga taga INC Sa BASILAN at Naging Zero Ang Boto Nila Kay BBM. Mga taga INC bumoto Kay Duterte at Marcos! Saan ka ba makakita Na Majority ng taga Zamboanga peninsula binoto si BBM e Ang nangyari si Robredo Ang lamang. Binoto ng taga Zamboanga si BBM dahil sya Ang humarang Sa BBL. makita mo Sa BASILAN si Roxas -595 at Duterv-2! WTF! E yung Sa ARRM etc. Nakakaloko!

  11. Mr. Duterte appears to be working hard already, there is some sign he is trying to unify the nation. This is a good start. He just have to be a little prudent and mostly pragmatic, but he doesn’t have to please everybody, all the time. He appears rough, but not a sanctimonious hypocrite, which is a good sign – possibly the making of a real nation builder.

    It is not a crime to be a communist, so it is not wrong to ask their participation in rebuilding our country. However it seems leftists are working for and in the interest of China, not the country. This is has to stop. All of us real Pilipinos should be working for our country, no one else.

    Being pragmatic, we might consider who can help us as a country truly develop, is it China or the US. Then everything follows.

    But we have to neutralize the business cartels, the shady chinese who have corrupted our government and destroyed our economy, improve government competence and efficiency, minimize corruption.

    Comms media has a big role to play. There is a big can of worms in that institution also. In the interest of nation building it is to be address. Perhaps its members should regulate itself, stop being liars and bullshitters for sale.

    Then possibly there is hope.

  12. Dudirty picking on the helpless, no power catholic church, he is so scared to start lambasting corrupt politicians because it can go the way straight to impeachment. Dudirty is a fool with big dumpster mouth.

  13. noel salaysay on

    Catholics who voted for Duterte and now attacking the Catholic Clergy and followers,should start a Recall when he assumes the Office of the Presidency.

  14. Eddy Frayna on

    The Catholic Church can do exactly what they did during EDSA, against Marcos. History repeats itself. Good luck Duterte!

  15. Your pride and joy, Bonget! Reminishing the golden age of Martial Law years as Information Minister of the great Dictator, you watched Bongbong grow into a statesman, teaching the Ninoy clone Bam Aquino on proper debate and parliamentary manners. Indeed, Bonget like a true English gentleman did not even mention Leni Robredo, the lady of the Bicol region where you came from. If Joker and Raul Roco are still alive they will be dancing with joy, a political novice of unknown political breeding shattered the grand plan of the Marcos dynasty to return to malacanang and make this nation great again.

  16. This is a brilliant masterpiece! Thanks Sen. Taad! You’re a class act yourself!

  17. P.Akialamiro on

    This article reminds us all that: “He who exalts himself will be humbled; he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    May God bless the Philippines.

  18. It was a cover up story when caught accessing the server during critical processing of the system. We used the same system in 2010 wherein there was already ñ, Osmeña, and in 2013, for senators then were Casiño, Montaño and Señeres. Now, 2016, we had only 6 candidates inlcuding Señeres. Smartmatic are experienced IT developers and QA to missed ñ during testing. There were only 6 test data for president and they won’t miss Señeres. Since there was only 6 data IT will surely test it all. We in IT have protocol in handling issues and implementing the fix in the production envirenment. Priority level 1 (P1) being the highest and it needed to be responded and fixed immediately. They are experienced IT so they knew the issue was not P1 and should be fixed later. Like other systems, they know that it will be fixed after office hour or when no one is using the system. So they deliberately missed it and used it as cover up story when caught accessing the server.

  19. Mr Tatad, Duterte must be installed immediately regardless of his comments vs Catholic Church), and pls remember the state (the Philippines) is in danger under this current President tho he is known of Catholic faith he doesn’t exemplify the moral principles the Catholic Church taught and therefore the voice of the people voting Duterte must be heard , and Filipinos of many Christian denomination can deal with it later .Thank you.

    • How can you say the country is in danger when everybody is free to speak. Corrupt officials are being charged or jailed. For God sake our GDP have grown 6.9% best amongst Asians! Will you not give credit to where credit is due? I’ll tell you as an OFW, there are more divisiveness now than ever before mainly due to social media. Even after DU30 won, supporters are still nagging about past administration. So wake up to reality boys!

  20. You said (2013 elections), “In that election, 59,666 precincts were reported to have had identical results, and the hitherto unheralded Grace Poe Llamanzares garnered 20 million votes a few hours after the voting ended, when only a small portion of the votes had been transmitted. This number had to be trimmed down to 16 million after a few days, and then restored to 20 million-plus at the end of the process. This unchallenged “victory” emboldened her to run for President last May 9, despite her lack of natural-born citizenship and 10-year residency in the Philippines.”
    I don’t think this is true because the millions of votes garnered by Poe was the motivating factor to insist herself to be a presidential candidate and become president. The ambitious Poe thought that FPJs popularity will elect her to the presidency. She was totally WRONG.
    As for Bongbong Marcos, try too accept defeat and just realize that today is no longer the regime of Marcos that they can get away with everything. The Marcoses had their years too of their abuses during the 1980s snap elections. I guess this a taste of Bongbong’s dose of his own medicine. To the Marcoses, give up and move on. Anyway, with the billions of dollars and pesos deposited in foreign accounts (as reported by the Panama papers) that your children (arrogant because of their wealth – unexplained) and grandchildren are enjoying not knowing that they were stolen from the people’s money.