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.