• Mindanaoans fear a bogus election more than the rebels

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    Butuan City: I write from Butuan, where the moral leaders of the National Transformation Council are meeting to assess the prospects of holding a clean, honest and credible presidential election on May 9, amid growing fears of war following the failed political process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Little has prepared me for what I am hearing here.

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    Continuing skirmishes between the military and the rebels in Lanao and Maguindanao, the reported deployment of 10 military battalions against the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo, the reemergence of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari as the “revitalized leader” of previously contending anti-government factions, and the reported incursion of ISIS-influenced elements into some critical areas crowd into the background of these consultations. ISIS-influenced elements into some critical areas crowd into the background of these consultations.

    But qualified observers are quick to point out that President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s failure, if not downright refusal, to assure the nation of clean, honest and credible elections, coupled by his reported intervention in the disqualification case of Grace Poe Llamanzares as a presidential candidate, could spawn a civil war faster than anything now troubling southern Philippines.

    A counter-offensive
    They saw yesterday’s Manila Times story, alleging an attempt by two unnamed individuals to buy off some Justices in order to “disqualify” Mrs. Llamanzares, whom the Commission on Elections has already disqualified, as a desperate bid to confuse the issues and turn the tables on those who had earlier exposed Aquino’s effort to compel Justices to qualify her as a candidate. The allegation contradicts the dominant perception that an SC ruling affirming the Comelec decision cannot be avoided, so Aquino is trying very hard to work on the Justices. It cannot therefore be believed.

    Even here, observers see Aquino’s distasteful meddling in the Court’s business as the surest indication that the election would be rigged in favor of his “Manchurian Candidate,” should the majority of the Justices bend to his impious wishes. They see him as more interested in cooking the results of the election to make sure that the next President would later protect him from criminal prosecution for any of the unpunished crimes he has committed in the last six years. He also wants to keep his political enemies on the defensive even after he leaves office.

    The PNoy-Poe courtship
    Although Aquino had much earlier publicly anointed former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas as his official candidate, the latter’s failure to take off in the paid propaganda surveys has prompted him to furtively court Llamanzares, who has also been courting him on the sly, precisely to help her survive her disqualification as a candidate. Thus, she went out of her way to protect him during the last Senate inquiry from any accountability in the Mamasapano massacre in which 44 Special Action Force police commandos were killed.

    She has also dropped broad hints that she would not go after Aquino, in the same manner that he had gone after his immediate predecessor and most important detainee, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, should she ever become president. No one else has made Aquino that promise, even though not one of them has ever attacked him for anything.

    Facts of the case
    Upon the petitions of Estrella Elamparo, Antonio Contreras, Amado Valdez and this writer, the Comelec has disqualified Mrs. Llamanzares and cancelled her Certificate of Candidacy for President for misrepresenting herself as a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for ten years and 11 months up to the day of the election.

    The Constitution provides that no person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on election day, and a resident of the country for at least ten years immediately preceding the election. By natural-born, the Constitution means a person who is a citizen from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his citizenship.

    Mrs. Llamanzares is not natural-born. Neither is she a citizen under the 1935 Constitution, which was in force when she was born. She was born a foundling of no known parentage; found at the premises of the parish church in Jaro, Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968; was adopted by the spouses Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, aka Fernando Poe Jr., and Jesusa Sonora Poe, aka Susan Roces, in 1974 in the municipality of San Juan, Rizal; moved to the United States for her college education in 1988; got married to an American citizen of Filipino origin; became an American citizen in 2001; sought to reacquire a Philippine citizenship she never had in 2006 and was granted the same, after misrepresenting herself under oath as a “former natural-born citizen.”

    The Comelec’s First and Second Divisions ruled in favor of our four petitions, and the Comelec en banc affirmed these rulings. The en banc ruling is final and non-reviewable, but Mrs. Llamanzares filed a petition for certiorari against the Comelec, alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. She also asked the Supreme Court for a Temporary Restraining Order. The TRO was granted, so her name was allowed to stay on the ballot pending the Supreme Court verdict.

    Spurious campaign
    She has been campaigning ever since, as though she were a bona fide candidate, without any constitutional impediment. Her financiers have also been burning money on TV ads and propaganda surveys to create the impression that she is popular. Without explaining that she could still be excluded with finality from the race, the commercial media, which have already made hundreds of millions of pesos on her propaganda, have not hesitated to describe her as a “front runner.”

    On Monday, our paths crossed in Butuan. I arrived at 6:15 am on the PAL flight from Manila, but had to wait at the terminal for the rest of my party who had taken Cebu Pacific from Manila and arrived at 7 am. Mrs. Llamanzares flew in on board an unmarked old jet before the Cebu Pac flight got in, so there was a clear prospect of a chance meeting if I simply stayed where I was. But I wasn’t ready to ask for her autograph, nor I believe was she ready to ask for mine, so I walked to my car outside to spare us both of any embarrassment.

    A small crowd of young welcomers stood outside the terminal, but some of them did not mind cheering me when I passed by and said lightly that they should try supporting a natural-born Filipino candidate. There was no sign they were aware of the fact that she had serious citizenship and residency problems. Our paths nearly crossed again when we called separately on Bishop Juan De Dios Pueblos, on the eve of his 73rd birthday, at his residence.

    What Aquino can expect
    As I was writing this yesterday, no reports had yet come in on whether the Court was finally able to vote as scheduled, and whether Aquino’s intervention had prevailed. [Opinion Section Editor’s note: At press time the SC decided in favor of Ms. Poe. It is the banner of today’s issue.] However, qualified sources warned that an Aquino “victory” would certainly not be taken lightly by the camps of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and even Roxas, who would all be adversely affected. The sources did not discount the possibility of trouble instantly erupting if what had been deemed unlikely happened. The aggrieved parties could band together and work to prevent the elections from pushing through.

    If elections are held at all, there seems very little prospect that the participants would accept the results if the vote counting machine is not fixed to satisfy those who have asked the high Court to compel the Comelec to restore the security and safety features that had been illegally removed during the last two elections. We could have a real revolt if the voters decide that it is the entire electorate, not just some particular candidates, that has been cheated.

    The Batangas ‘revolt’
    The last time we were threatened with an election-related popular revolt was in 1949 when the late former President Jose P. Laurel, who had presided over the Japanese puppet republic, lost to President Elpidio Quirino in an election marred by allegations of rampant cheating, particularly in the South. Laurel claimed that even the birds and the bees voted for the Ilocano president. He threatened to lead the Batangueños in revolt, but ultimately reconsidered and accepted defeat. It seems too early to tell, but there is every chance that if, at any stage, the May elections provoke an uprising, it may not be easily contained.

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    22 Comments

    1. Nanding Pasion on

      Hindi totoong popular si Poe as the paid-hacks in media would want us to believe. Kaya nga ayaw nilang sundin ang batas at hindi nila pinapatupad ang safety and anti-cheating features kasi naniniwala sila mismo na hindi mananalo sa isang malinis na halalan ang tuta nilang si Poe.

    2. jose b. taganahan on

      Mr. Kit Tatad, the Information Minister of the late Dictator Marcos, should be reminded that it was Dictator Marcos who has the habit of conducting bogus elections to prop up the Dictatorship of Marcos for more than 2 decades.

    3. Tanong lang po.. maipakulong kaya ni G Poe si Abnoy kung sakaling manalo si Poe sa pagkapresidente??? As far as i know, GPOE is the secret candidate of Pnoy aside from ROxas epal who is far behind in any kind of survey.?? Kaya nga hindi madiin ni Poe is Pnot sa mamasapano massacre??? dahil dilawan din si anak ng panday..nagbabalatkayo lang.. Let us see in this coming election..

    4. In public concern, think it carefully who are the candidate can provide a future in the country.

    5. Amnata Pundit on

      Imagine if Grace were disqualified, the Smartmatic cheaters will only have the crook Binay and the proven incompetent Roxas to choose from since Duterte and Miriam don’t really stand a chance with these hi-tech Garcis. On the outside chance that Grace is Macoy’s daughter with Rosemarie, I will go for Grace. Di Marcos pa rin, di ba?

    6. Now that the highest court of the land disregarded and disrespected the rule of law, would this act make a better Philippines or it will just plunge into chaos and more lawlessness. I think the answer is clear. Anarchy will definitely ensue and I hope the military is ready to handle whatever comes its way. I can see blood spilling on the streets. Is this what the justices hoped for? Blood will be in their hands!

    7. pepeng tomas on

      Pinayagan na ng SC si POE paano na ssi BINAY yun manok mo… talagang ganyan nag buhay weder weder lang …talo yun kaso mo

    8. Ali Mindalano on

      That is why there is need to expose her deliberate cover up of the Mamasspano tragedy,and you Sir being in the media are the chroniclers of history,so it is incumbent upon you to let the truth out in the Mamasapano tragedy.

    9. G. Poe is NOT acceptable president to majority (80%) Filipinos. A PCOS win of Poe will be automatically considered as PCOS Magic based on immorality done by 9 SC justices. I wish all the other presidential candidates will band together to reject Poe as president. It will be a mess never seen before. No self respecting Filipino will accept a traitor and unknown Filipino as president. Anyway, logic dictates Poe with American family is sure loser in fair and honest election. PCOS Magic for Poe will be revolution.

    10. From what heard is that the SC decision also stated that Petitioners (you are one) will pay the “cost” as damages to teach you a lesson about filing cases indiscriminately. Allegedly you got away with RH and did not pay anything but here you will pay!

      • Old politicians never die , they just file petitions after petitions to get public attention that they are still alive. I still do not know why newspapers are still cater to these old politicians. I do not read your articles and so are millions of readers. What a waste .

    11. Kit, I thought you are going to lead the peoples revolt once Grace Poe is not disqualified by the supreme court. All I have seen in the streets are the Panday fans shouting in ecstasy as if Grace Poe already won the presidency.Even the revolutionaries are there, I saw Rep. Colimenares beaming with joy as Poe declared tagumpay!sa bandang huli tayong mga inaapi. Take the consolation that the yellow cult brigades starts to panic but dont be a sore loser.To us watching in disgust, it is a sigh of relief, voters can now make a choice between change and your candidate!

    12. Grace Poe is the Manchurian candidate of Aquino. LP will cheat on next election by having Grace Poe as the next president with the help of the Hokus Pocos machines. But I doubt it if Grace Poe will last before her coronation. Mindanao will probably secede from the country and there will be a real civil war.

      • luisito Tumanda on

        I AGREE, SECCESSATION WILL BE THE ONLY OPTION FOR MINDANAO to be peacefull and progressive Digong can be our President of FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF MINDANAO

    13. Mr. Senator Kit, I know you have SC inside informers. You have been very sure and proud about this! You must have known the SC verdict re Poe cases ahead of everyone. Because the decision is against you, against your position, against your arrogant belief, you opted not to write about it, soonest. Shame on you. You are too proud to be silent! You are too arrogant not to be magnanimous in defeat. It takes a lot of humility, courage too, to accept defeat. You are simply not humble….you can write, yes, everyone knows that, but you are not always right…remember that, and when you are proven wrong, we expect you to be humble enough to bow, to accept, write about it. Your personal opinion and belief are yours …but you are expected, as a journalist and the people’s informer, to be honest, humble and truth in you reporting. Again – may I say – please do not use your public column for your interest and personal gain.

    14. natalia salvacion on

      isa lang naman ang mahalaga diyan, at iyon ay QUALIFIED si Senator Grace Poe na tumakbo bilang pangulo ng bansa. Korte supprema na ang nagsalita! And she deserves that, siya lang ang nakikita kong may concern sa mga pilipino. Tuloy ang laban Senator POE

    15. should the majority of the Justices bend to his impious wishes. They see him as more interested in cooking the results of the election to make sure that the next President would later protect him from criminal prosecution
      ——————————————–

      Not only did the justices bend but they bent over.
      Nine justices disregarded the constitution to favor Poe.
      Let’s face the truth, there is not even one agency that Aquino does not control and that includes the Supreme Court.
      What a sad corrupt country the Philippines has become.

      • Felix Servidad on

        Money is the root of all evil, pnoy is heavily armed with money at the expense of Juan dela Cruz. He used money to bribe, to get what he wants. The historian will be remember pnoy the worst president of the Philippines. The next move of pnoy is to fixed the election results with the help of his appointed andres bautista, and the hukos picos.
        I can see that the race is in the bag and the winner by landslide is
        Grace Poe. If the comelec rigged the 2010 and 2013 election,
        Watch out they will do it again this time around.
        Poor Mar Roxas he will be sideline again for the second time.

    16. Clean, honest, and credible elections? You must be dreaming, you live in the Philippines. Hardly anything here is even one of those things. Apologies to the few who are.

    17. Sir… what now that the SC has allowed your ‘most-admired’ candidate Grace Poe? I know that you have alloted a lot of ink and paper criticizing Poe… to my bewilderment.

      • Turns out that most Filipinos can’t tell when they are being conned.
        Any liar on television, print or palace spokesperson doesn’t have to worry about fact checking and when discovered get impeached or fired.

        No one ever holds anyone accountable unless they belong to the opposition,
        No law enforcement agency will investigate and arrest them without permission from Aquino. Think back to the Pork barrel scandal, Most of the senators and a hundred house members gave Napoles billions in exchange for kickbacks. Out of over 130 that should of been arrested only 3 opposition senators were charged, the others were not charged and were allowed to keep the kickbacks.

        Aquino and De Lima protected those thieves.