The ‘no-election’ option

6

President B. S. Aquino 3rd appears to have become the first casualty in the brouhaha about the participation of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential election. Former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales observes that PNoy has rarely made the news since the two presidential wannabes started hitting the headlines. It appears that not even his fiercest critics would like to talk about him anymore. To them, he has become simply irrelevant. For anyone who thinks the solar system revolves around him, this is cruel and unusual punishment. So PNoy has tried to insert himself into the ongoing conversation by highlighting the unknown qualities of LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas and throwing brickbats at his rivals during his meeting with Filipinos in Rome.

No doubt Roxas could use a little bit of selling, given the negative reaction he has been getting from almost everyone everywhere. But was PNoy saying the right things about him, or was he the right person to do the selling? By downgrading Vice President Jejomar Binay, after Malacanang’s attack dogs in Makati and the Senate had failed to destroy him, did he think he was helping Roxas, or was he not simply helping Binay show his resilience and staying power? It appears that in the last few weeks, the pendulum had swung—the more Malacañang and the LP camp unleashed their fury against Binay, the more he seemed to recover from the injury he had sustained earlier.

Nobody understood why PNoy had to perform this number on the presidential contenders. He had gone to Paris to attend the summit on climate change, and later to Rome to pay a call on the Holy Father, whom he had tried to offend with an ill-mannered statement during his pastoral visit to the Philippines. No one expected PNoy to say anything substantial or memorable in Paris or in Rome, but neither did they expect him to make an ass of himself by his completely unpresidential behavior there.

Even though everyone knew he was on an official junket, which was not expected to achieve anything meaningful, they had hoped he would at least pretend to be a statesman trying to sow and win goodwill among his countrymen abroad, rather than act as an unreconstructed demagogue trying to divide his audience along partisan lines. Not only was it not proper; it was also completely out of season. A total of 130 presidential candidates had filed their certificates of candidacy, and one of them—Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares—is facing four disqualification suits for lack of the required citizenship and residency status, while another—Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte—has yet to perfect his CoC as a substitute for an earlier candidate who has since withdrawn. But we have not quite entered the official campaign period, which begins in February next year.


It was, therefore, much too early for PNoy to make that campaign speech, assuming he has decided to shed off his presidential dignity to become Mar Roxas’s foot soldier. Proper decorum should have prompted Aquino to speak of other things more useful to his countrymen abroad. One such issue has to do with the Filipinos’ use of their “middle name” in all their personal documents. This is an important issue to them. Just because the Italians do not use their maternal surname when writing their full name, the Philippine embassy at the Quirinale had agreed that Filipinos in Italy would follow the Italian practice.

This was vehemently opposed by some Filipinos, who pointed out that they use their maternal surname to honor their mother, and should not be prohibited from doing so. It was also one way of avoiding confusion between two persons having the first and family names. A Filipino tour operator in Rome has almost single-handedly kept this issue alive, even after the Italian government and the Philippine embassy had virtually declared it a closed case. Those who persist in this cause would certainly have appreciated hearing PNoy say something about it. But he had lesser things in mind.

He could have campaigned for greater OFW participation in the next elections by assuring the Filipino expatriates about efforts to ensure the holding of clean, honest and credible elections. But there are no such efforts, so he could not lie about it, and he didn’t. That’s one admirable thing in his favor. But his premature campaigning merely underlined the massive premature campaigning taking place all over the country right now, to which the election law has turned a blind eye.

My young daughter complains that the last thing she sees on TV before going to bed is a paid TV ad by a presidential candidate, who is not supposed to be campaigning yet, and the first thing she sees on TV when she wakes up is the same TV ad by the same or some other candidate who is not supposed to be campaigning yet.

The Court has ruled that there is no distinction between the pre-campaign period and the official campaign period, so candidates are free to campaign without the legal restrictions governing the official campaign period. The ruling allows a candidate to spend hundreds of millions of pesos on TV advertising and on propaganda surveys without having to report the same as part of his authorized expenses.

In the eyes of the Court, so long as a particular ad or campaign material does not ask anyone to “vote for” a particular candidate, it cannot be part of the campaign whose cost should be charged against the candidate’s authorized expenses. The ruling is based on a fat presumption that we are a nation of muttonheads who cannot see that someone with tons and tons of TV ads about himself in the run-up to an election is not running for the papacy or for sainthood, but for a more lucrative earthly position.

Whatever reason the Court had for doing it, it must now recognize the ruling as a grave and ruinous error and should revoke it forthwith. This is the only way to help compel candidates not to spend beyond what they will earn from the position they seek. The principle is absolutely indispensable to ensure an incorrupt and dedicated public service.

How do we deal then with the hundreds of millions of pesos certain candidates have incurred in the last few months on self-promotional expenses? We cannot pretend they don’t exist, nor can we simply write them off. I propose something more practical than a write-off. I propose that all the expenses incurred during the pre-campaign period should now be charged against the candidate’s authorized expenses should he remain in the race; otherwise, they should be written off if he eventually withdraws from the race.

This reform is long overdue, and Aquino should think about it. Without it, our elections will remain a farce–the winning candidate will have been totally corrupted even before he enters public office. The oligarchy that owns the government and its leaders will continue to own them, without any hope for the ninety-nine percent. But, there may be far worse things than an electoral farce. And they now constitute the deadliest threat to our Republic.

At this writing, there are strong indications from the Commission on Elections that the holding of the May 2016 elections may be indefinitely imperilled for a variety of technical reasons. The intervention of the Supreme Court to make sure the Constitution is followed is being cited as one of the reasons for a possible postponement of the elections. On the other hand, our usually highly reliable Malacañang sources inform us that PNoy’s innermost political circle is inclined to reconsider its support for the May 2016 election in favor of an option that would allow Aquino to hold on to power “until a worthy successor is found.”

I am not prepared to discuss this now, but I am not prepared to dismiss it either. Since August of last year, the National Transformation Council has been saying that we need system change, not just regime change; that we must temporarily do away with our corrupt elections, and allow a nonpartisan transition council to fix the broken constitutional order before we conduct legitimate and honest-to-goodness national elections under normal political conditions.

This, however, was premised on Aquino stepping down. It now appears that some parallel thinking has been going on inside Malacañang, except that the basic premise there was not national transformation, but Aquino’s perpetual hold on power.

We shall return to this later.

fstatad@gmail.com

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6 Comments

  1. So why you did not criticize your candidate Binay Mr. Tatad? for early campaigning and appearance on TV & Radio station. Puro ka daldal talo mo pa ang babae bading ka ba? nong panahon nyo me nagawa ka bang mabuti. Di ako magtataka kung si binay kandidato mo dahil lagi ka na naman kaalyado ng magnanakaw diba mag mula k marcos, k Estrada at ngayon si binay naman hahahaha stupid!!

    • There is some truth in what Clandestine said. By association you have a hint of ones true nature. No matter what a container has, dipping a piece of stick into it, would surely reveal the inside. It is not white when the dipping is other wise.

      Friends and supporters of Binay, are surely corrupt and are intending to benefit out of a corrupt regime if ever.
      Corruption is the pinnacle of an ignorant person in power. Shame on them, anyhow ignorant person know no shame.

  2. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Holding on to power beyond May 2016 would create a mess of the country. Filipino patience will no longer be tolerable, its resilience will also break to a brewing storm. What a monster the mother and son has made of the country. The former for democratizing corruption to the very basic unit of government- the barangays and the latter for deliberately mocking and disrespecting the Philippine Constitution. The Filipino people are slowly awakening to the TRUTH and would not allow evil to go on any further. God bless the Philippines

  3. Browsing articles and columns makes leads me to form a complex picture of the Filipino society. From all angles there is always a hint of rules and laws not followed and obeyed yet nothing happens except a few complains over media that quickly dies down, buried by the next episode of complains, different misbehaving, different actors, different quack. Yet for a non local it seemingly is the same cycle,

    Its quite hard to comprehend how this society functions. You have super rich citizens yet the whole country is a slum. There are niches of observed civility around and a hint of obedient citizens,go to the next corner chaos surprise you if there isn’t a weird system instead.

    I strongly believe there needs to be a complete change in this society in all of its aspects. Country leaders needs to be educated comprehensibly of how a really “civilized” society works, not how to make one popular.

    There seems to be mass ignorance from the the layperson to the shopkeeper, to he peace keeper up to the top politician. I am tempted to believe that the only few “aficionado” in this country are does that has gone very, very rich. But then again I have second thoughts as locals said many of them rose to riches from rugs without proper education, had only utilize voids in society to propel their businesses ignoring all other intentions but the growth of their empire, Siphoning the precious resource of the country and starving other needs for social development.

    This country needs a complete overhaul and it needs a very very strong statesman to lead it with an iron fists an even stronger steel arms with unbreakable titanium body who would have a soft yet warm heart.

    But what sort of person will that be. May be this country is hopeless.

  4. I agreed to what Sen. Tatad says that something Malacañang has been cooking and I suspect it was true, it is must for Pnoy to do it mayroon tayong kasabihan, wag mong gawin sa kapuwa mo para hindi rin gawin sa iyo (KARMA).

    Look what I have been telling in my commentaries and suspicions someone like Peping was confirming my views on Noynoy laying all the ground works for Mar in the coming elections for 2016.

    What is worst Noynoy has been using all government funds to ensure Mar wins, Why is this so it is because the oligarchs did not feel that Mar is on their side. You see if all the Oligarchs will just be on Mar side the resources has no limit just what they did to PNOY he won the 2010 elections.

    COMELEC suspected to have did it in 2010 and 2013 with SMARTMATIC thru PCOS machine and suspected to be behind it were the oligarchs now raring to go ahead full blast with their investment in all phases of big priority projects the big one is into energy one of them is reportedly eyeing Php 450 Billion slated up to 2020 with government financing back guaranteed financial loans.

    AGAIN, you people are not analyzing what are at stakes here in 2016 elections they do not want to be left out with Mar who is considered to lose and no matter what they have invested for Mar still was in the losing side. The Makati Business Club came up with their earlier survey and they rigged it which showed Mar win.

    PCOS or OMR, this will be again the factor to be considered by supporters of Mar this PCOS or OMR owned by a foreigner named by Columnist Roberto Tiglao recently published few days ago in The Manila Times who is reportedly the aide of DICTATOR CORY now with this revelation the winning of Noynoy in 2010 was the handy work of OLIGARCHS now becoming clearer as I suspect it was. Further Tiglao revealed that SMARTMATIC was a conglomerate of Kastila and Venezuelan businessmen and suspected maybe with the Kastila-Pinoy Oligarch has tie-up with the SMARTMATIC since that said OLIGARCH was the owner of biggest manufacturer of electronic products that the one of which parts mostly can be found in your smart gadget, including mobile phones. The MICROCHIPS being manufactured by the said company of the said OLIGARCH are being supplied in Taiwan and elsewhere around the world. NOW suspect is PCOS is being manufactured in Taiwan.

    With the worries of Peping Cojuangco it might be bloodied if Mar wins is really possible, people cannot accept that rigged election.

    The last options really for Noynoy is NO ELECTIONS and to declare what DICTATOR CORY did before when she accepted the Presidency handed to her by JPE and RAMBOYS which followed the declaration of REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT and FREEDOM CONSTITUTION which tightens her grip to all government instrumentalities much worse than Martial Law of Marcos CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITARIANISM with all government instrumentalities working under the law and constitution. DICTATOR CORY before putting the now 1987 Constitution with short stint of DICATORSHIP allowed OLIGARCHS to flourish and richer with her duty free importation of diesel fired power plants on the pretext of nationwide black outs, kicked out all Governors, Mayors and other elected officials, now under Marcos he did not do it only when there is vacancy.

    The last options is the brief shooting war with China on the issue of West Philippine Sea creating the atmosphere of EMERGENCY daw, and declare MARTIAL LAW with the concurrence of rubber stamp SENATE under Sen. Drilon, it will be followed again just like DICTATOR CORY did declare REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT and FREEDOM CONSTITUTION, again OLIGARCHS flourish under NINOY that became Dollar Billionaires will be the Dollar Trillionaires in the making.

    FINALLY, OF COURSE when everything has been put to order as PROMISED THE ELECTION OF MAR and no jail term for NOYNOY.

    • A benigno phase 2 administration will never happen because the patriotic elements in the military from lieutenant colonel down will never allow it. Surely, they can not risk a P2B investment for a coup d’tat from any patriotic taipan to intercede on any planned martial law.