• Is this tragedy or farce?

    15

    Since August this year, the National Transformation Council has repeatedly declared in various assemblies in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that the political system no longer works, and that it’s got to change. Not only has the system been thoroughly corrupted, rather corruption itself has become the system; therefore, not only regime change is needed, but more importantly, systems change.

    To some people, the next presidential election could still provide the solution

    In their view, the new government after B. S. Aquino 3rd should simply recognize the gravity of the crisis, and, like the NTC, commit itself to radical, if not revolutionary, change. That should do the trick.

    But how do we get to have such a government? That is precisely the problem. Assuming, there is at least one presidential contender eager to work toward such change, the very process of electing such a person into office has been thoroughly corrupted. It has completely been written off, it no longer exists.

    First in 2010, and then again in 2013, the precinct count optical scan machines were divested of all their safety features and accuracy mechanisms, in violation of law and the terms of references for the use of those PCOS machines. Together with the fact that the elections were conducted by Smartmatic, a private Venezuelan firm, on behalf of the Commission on Elections, which alone has the authority to conduct elections, this has rendered the elections completely illegal and illegitimate.

    Yet, the novelty of the process and the speed with which the machines delivered the results, which was a phenomenal leap from the old interminably slow process, completely overwhelmed and immobilized the non-techie public. It took a little while before highly concerned IT experts pointed out that the rigging of the machines and the Comelec’s abandonment of its non-transferrable role to Smartmatic totally nullified the process.

    Thus, some of them filed for nullification of the elections, even though they doubted very much that the Supreme Court would risk a constitutional crisis which nullification of the entire process could cause. They feared that the Court would see the results of a flawed election as a lesser evil than the vacating of the entire government, whose dire consequences nobody could predict. But they filed their petition all the same as a quixotic exercise.

    Predictably, the High Court ignored the petition, just as the usual headline-writers did. It is only now, we are given to understand, that the High Court has asked the official respondents to comment on the petition—four years too late, in the case of the 2010 presidential elections, nearly two years in the case of the 2013 elections. The story, however, has yet to grab the headlines from the ongoing scandal in the Senate.

    Nevertheless, it has created one interesting dialogue—-not between the petitioners and the Aquino government, but between the National Transformation Council and its allies on the one hand and Malacañang, the Comelec and the party in power on the other. The dialogue has to do with whether or not we should hold presidential elections again in 2016, without changing the system first. It is the most interesting dialogue taking place in the country today, with respect to the resolution of our moral, political and constitutional crisis. But it is beginning to look like a dialogue of the deaf.

    In three successive declarations issued in Lipa City, Cebu and Butuan in the last three months, the various assemblies convened by the NTC have called on President B. S. Aquino 3rd to step down and allow a non-partisan transitory group to fix the battered constitutional order. This discussion should be familiar to the reader by now. The three branches of government have fallen hostage to an imperial although inept and incompetent head of state, and the electoral system, which is critical to the functioning of the democratic system, has been thoroughly corrupted and debased with the rigging of the PCOS machines.

    This has been authoritatively documented by the Tandem group at the University of the Philippines, and lately by the former Biliran congressman Glenn Chong, a CPA-lawyer, who has made his presentation in all the assemblies convened by the NTC. This was also recently discussed by IT expert Hermenigildo Estrella Jr., one of the most senior IT experts in the country, in a number of reputable media forums. Estrella’s latest appearance was on my cable TV program on GNN last Sunday, although he failed to complete his narrative for lack of time. He will complete his presentation on the same program this Sunday, with broadcaster Ariel Ayala taking my place while I am traveling abroad.

    Estrella is not less authoritative than Chong. In 2010, he observed the elections on behalf of some foreign governments, and came up with a report which contained some of the most serious revelations which eventually became the basis of the complaints raised by the UP-based group of scholars and IT experts. Unfortunately, they chose not to use his findings and went on to congratulate B. S. Aquino 3rd as “president-elect” even before Congress could complete the official count. Four years later, his findings merely confirm those of Chong’s and vice versa.

    None of these allegations have been satisfactorily refuted by the government or the Comelec. The guilty parties have simply sought to hide behind the protective shield of Malacañang, which has prevented the Ombudsman from prosecuting the Comelec officials responsible for disfiguring the safety features and accuracy mechanisms of the PCOS machines. And despite the obvious need to junk the rigged PCOS machines, and overhaul the entire electoral system as the irreducible minimum requirement for the holding of presidential elections in 2016, the government is determined not only to keep the corrupted machines in use, but above all to increase the total PCOS inventory to 120,000 units, costing billions of pesos.

    This is what I mean by the dialogue of the deaf. The Aquino government is not listening to anyone at all, and will not be dissuaded from pursuing its own dark objectives. In preparation for 2016, Aquino will want to tighten his control over the PCOS rather than improve the system. He will not mind his most corrupt minions making a lot more money in the process. But those in the know insist that any apparent insistence on elections is but a diversionary tactic–Aquino is reportedly more inclined to favor extending his term by declaring a revolutionary government.

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    15 Comments

    1. Government, in any shape or form is useless,

      We need it like we need herpes or a genital wart.

      Disabuse yourselves of the need for tyranny to have prosperity and order.

      Be ruler less, not rule-less.

    2. Non constitututional change will lead to more problems as we have seen before. The public have the responsibility to elect honest candidates, but if the election is rigged, they are hamstrung!
      Remember also that the corruption of elections goes down to barangay level. Corruption is systemic in Philippine culture not merely in elections. Despite there being many honest Filipinos, the sad fact is that many many people are involved, both as givers and receivers of bribes and favours. In many ways it is the givers who sustain the corrupt practices. Many of my better off friends prefer to pay “grease money” than wait their turn.

    3. Still looking for reforms. This is one issue which I believe the COMELEC can champion as we slowly but surely be going into the 2016 presidential election. As ordinary concerned citizens, I hope we can raise up the level of concern about the evil of block voting which with the concerted effort of all of us, we can goad or cajole Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. and the rest of the Comelec commissioners to put in place a safeguard to minimize the evil of block voting per se. See my post on Grace Poe’s timeline regarding my request for her to spearhead in the senate a new voice to frustrate the evil of block voting in the forthcoming elections, i.e. Madam Sen. Grace Poe, we enjoin your good office to sponsor a bill in the senate for a “TOTAL BAN ON BLOCK VOTING”. Quote”Another bill which we would like Rep.Terry Ridon to co-sponsor with Amba R. Seneres, Navotas Rep. T. Tiangco, Valenzuela Rep. Gatchalian and Dasmarinas Rep. Braganza is to ban ” BLOCK VOTING” on all national and local elections. The Comelec should be instructed to come up with a full page paid common advertisement 4 Sundays preceding the second Monday of May (election day) on English newspapers and Tagalog tabloids. All representatives of every religious sect and denomination should have a signature on the paid advertisement saying that “Block voting is not allowed and anathema to the freedom to select qualified candidates, without coercion or threat of eternal damnation if the religious sect member should follow the dictates of his/her conscience, without going against the religious sect doctrines of their religious sect even if secretly the religious hierarchies are ordering their bobobotante members to vote for candidates sanctioned by their supremos”?? The evil of block voting personified.

    4. The NTC and the CBCP shld endorse a candidate from the pres down to congressmen. Let’s boycott all LP UNA candidates so that whoever files a complaint against them there will be no immunity. Let’s boycott all senators coz they are all tainted. Let’s invite Gibo teodoro. Atty Legarda to run this coming election

    5. Our government structure is a good one on paper. Check and balances with three branches. Independent offices outside of the three branches control. The Ombudsman, Comelec, and COA should keep things honest. But, in reality, we have a very bribe corrupted government. The independent offices take orders from the executive branch. Congress takes orders from the executive branch. Only the SC seems to have stood up and is acting independent by following the law.

      The executive branch has exponentially increased the bribes until almost every single person has given up their integrity for the money. We must remove this “free” money from government and this will return most to an honest way.

      First, the word “savings” must be removed from all budgets. All money not spent as allocated must be returned to the treasury. Second, all budgets must be balanced. The amount of the total budget must be equal to or less that the total income. Third, all special funds previously created must be turned into the treasury. All money received from any source shall go into the treasury. Money coming out of the treasury can only be spent through the budget. Fourth, the budget allocations must be detailed by operating category or specific project. No unallocated allocations are allowed.

      • I couldn’t agree more. The Philippine government borrows heavily from the American government. And as an American citizen, I’m sad to say that the American government is bought and paid for via campaign contributions.

        I think it’s time to abolish the Republic and start practicing democracy. We have the technology.

    6. nod if you agree on

      I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The NTC should start a campaign to inform, to educate the masses, who have been dumb down by the media ever since EDSA.
      Please, Mr. Tatad and the leaders of the NTC, stop trying to remove the Idiot in Malacañang via non-constitutional means.
      Start a campaign to inform/educate, choose a viable candidate and campaign for him/her. 100 million Filipinos, I’m sure you’ll be able to find one worthy of your support.
      And please, no more EDSA. It never worked the first time and it never will.

    7. I think you have it spot on, it is the system here that is corrupt. People when growing up see the corrupt system & those that are really clever or sneaky, use whatever word you like, see how they can benefit if they get elected & so try to get elected. I still dont understand philippine politics, its very complicated, if you look at uk politics its much easier to understand. I would assume we have small amounts of corruption, but nothing like here. How you rid it i have no idea. But i do know once convicted they should never be pardoned, as in erap. Look at him now running makatti, he is causing lots of problems for everyone. But im sure Gloria arroyo pardoned him because if she got caught for her wrong doings she would also get pardoned. Its hiow things are done here in the philippines. I know some things that should happen is every official should be checked out thoroughly for life style, the bank secrecy law should be scrapped, cases should be bought to court much quicker & a conclusion reached much quicker, a little like how korea does it. As with sorting out the rest i have no ideas at all. But for the poor of this country things need to change & soon.

      • Hello kabayan,

        The people’s wish to change is like a lip-service religion. It is always there, it will never go away from the minds of the people, but the people will not really do anything about it. The Filipino masses haves been hooked-up in corruption. Almost all those who got elected and appointed in the government do it as natural now as breathing and eating. Everyone lives in it, directly and indirectly. People in their daily lives support it as an easy way out.

        The only way is to change the Pinoy thinking, for once, SHUN corruption, in our minds, in our words and in our deeds beginning from home, teaching our kids, born and yet to be born, and giving them examples – the good in us! They will refrain from cheating. We provide the base, they will build the new Pinoy society. This is not a quick solution. If we begin now, changes will occur in not less than 25 years. Progress will come after.

        But then, what else have we got? Choose another leader among the wolves and expects him or her to be a sheep when voters are easily hooked by a PHP 500 bill in elections rigged anyway?

    8. The only changes we need and will accept are those changes done in accordance with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The extra- constitutional means proposed by the NTC to “change the system” will have the same results that all past mutinies and coups against duly constitued authorities have achieved – utter failure.

    9. A move by the Abnoy to declare a revolutionary government will signal another revolution by the Filipinos. This time, no doubt, there will be anarchy in the streets. Knowing the Flipino temperament, they will not be frustrated in seeking the jailing of the Abnoy. This is what keeps them surviving for the time being and bearing up with all the dictatorial machinations of an illegitimate president.

      So there was cheating after all in the 2010 elections and Aquino is not is our duly elected elected president. Heavens! This is the height of injustice against the people and country.

    10. Wala kang makita sa nagsasabing opposition na totoong gustong mabago at mapabuti ang sistema ng bansa.
      Mukhang walang balls ang mga ito at walang gustong magsalita laban kay abnoy!
      Marahil naghihitay pa ng himala o ayaw makulong?

    11. Ex-Senator Tadtad so is the National a Transition Council doing? Just asking coz lots of talks no action! Sabi ni Mr. Ambassador Tiglao find balls? Eh saan ang ating mga balls ng 100 million Filipinos?

    12. The situation looks like a catch-22 but it may not be. It is not crazy, nor impossible to renounce corruption (itakwil ang pandaraya) in our minds, in our words and in our deeds. Let us begin from home and teach the young ones, especially those who are yet to be born. Let us make ourselves good examples for them. Let them learn that cheating has no place at home, at school and in the community. Among them, the country will have leaders whom the people can be proud of, say in 25 years or so. In 2040, progress will begin.