This is now the central question. We are all committed to a functioning constitutional democratic order. Which means, among other things, regular and genuinely free elections. But the 2010 and 2013 national elections, which produced the criminal syndicate now running the Aquino government, made a complete farce of our electoral process, and an absolute fool of every Filipino voter.
In both instances, the Venezuelan private company Smartmatic, which had no mandate to conduct elections, conducted the elections on behalf of the Commission on Elections, which alone has the constitutional mandate to conduct elections. It used the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine, after the Comelec had llegally divested it of all its safety features and accuracy mechanisms. It was a grand electoral swindle. And it was there for all to see and suffer.
But for all sorts of no good reasons, the less than-computer-literate public accepted it as a “real boon” from the PCOS machines. They were ecstatic that they could have the election results in just a few days, whereas it used to take them months before the shift to automated voting. The “quick results” barred people from asking whether or not they were, in fact, real. And they saw nothing wrong when US Ambassador Harry Thomas and a few other Western ambassadors formally “recognized” B. S. Aquino 3rd as “president-elect” even before the Congress could complete the official tabulation.
In 2010, some unsung patriots tried to question the conduct and results of the elections. A couple of them went through the motions of filing a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to invalidate the entire flawed process. This was long before the coalition of university-based computer programmers, technicians and scientists took the 2010 and 2013 elections apart and showed that no real elections had taken place on either occasion.
But the petition failed to gain the attention it deserved, even from the social media or any of the small independent newspapers.
This was more than deeply disturbing. But I could understand why it failed to gain traction anywhere. My long education in ethics has taught me that one should be prepared to tolerate evil if and when the alternative to it could cause a far greater evil.
The Justices were apparently guided by the same principle. One could not imagine what monumental crisis would have ensued had the Court invalidated the entire election, and B. S. 3rd simply defied the decision.
Yet the regime’s inability to undo the evil it has inflicted upon the nation does not require it to perpetuate the same. Although our beloved PNoy has until now gotten away with murder, he is not obliged to add to his crime at all. His duty is to end the evil while he still can, before it completely overwhelms the nation.
Regrettably, he seems determined to rush headlong in the opposite direction. Instead of excluding Smartmatic from any future election, the Comelec (as implementor of the presidential will) has decided to make its unwanted and venal presence permanent. It has decided to award a new P1.2 billion-contract to the Venezuelan company to provide the rigged and totally discredited PCOS machines all over again for use in the projected 2016 presidential elections.
This is contemptuous beyond measure. It shows that what deeply ails the nation does not at all concern our beloved PNoy. As a people, we are deeply concerned about our survival as a constitutional democracy and as a God-fearing, spiritually and morally endowed nation. Our beloved PNoy on the other hand seems solely motivated by his staying as the occupying neo-colonial power. There is no common ground between the one and the other. There is no room for a compromise here. Something has got to give.
The first reaction to the Smartmatic award, similar to the reaction to the insane 50-percent Metro Rail Transit 3 fare increase, has been for some people to go to the Supreme Court in the hope of stopping the evil transaction. Indeed, this is a distinct possibility, not to say probability, given the courage the High Court recently showed in striking down the pork barrel system, otherwise known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, as unconstitutional, and in directing the prosecution of all those involved in the grave abuse and manipulation of the same.
But it is no less a distinct possibility that our beloved PNoy will find ways and means of circumventing any adverse Supreme Court ruling. He holds a Guinness world record in the dark art of circumvention. On the PDAF and DAP alone, he has circumvented the court ruling by committing to replace the (supposedly abolished) P70 million of PDAF per congressman per annum with P108 million per congressman for this year; by resurrecting in his P2.6 trillion 2015 budget all the discretionary lump sums (read “presidential pork”), which the court had outlawed in the 2013 budget; by redefining “savings” to allow him to reclassify any appropriation at any time he pleases; and by simply ignoring the court directive to prosecute all those involved in the grave abuse and manipulation of the pork barrel system.
For this reason, many feel that a mere appeal to the court no longer suffices; that people must now take to the streets and “occupy” certain specific targets like the Comelec, MRT 3, the Office of the Ombudsman or the Department of Budget and Management, and perhaps eventually Malacañang. For the first time since our beloved PNoy came into office, there is a real possibility of massive public protests spontaneously breaking out against the government. This turn of events is long overdue, but the protests may have to be reined in temporarily for now, so as not to disrupt the apostolic visit of Pope Francis on Jan. 16-19.
This is precisely what the National Transformation Council, particularly the Catholic bishops, Protestant bishops and Muslim ulama, who constitute its moral and spiritual leadership, would like to avoid. In various assemblies held in Lipa City, Cebu, Butuan, Angeles, Davao, and General Santos since August of last year, the Council has called on our beloved PNoy to step down because of his unpunished constitutional crimes, and his questionable machine-election through the “hocus PCOS.” They are demanding regime and systems change. But their absolute minimum demand is the complete overhaul of the Comelec and the automated voting system as a conditio sine qua non for the holding (if ever) of presidential elections in 2016.
These assemblies have asked the Council to speed up its efforts to compel our beloved PNoy to step down, and to organize an “alternative government.” Despite the increased pressure, the Council has been rather temperate and measured in its response. Now, in deference to the papal visit, which is eagerly awaited by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, it has called on its political clusters to hold off any action until the Pope leaves. We cannot predict exactly what to expect, but they are serious about their business, and it would be terribly unwise for our beloved PNoy to entertain any illusions about it.
this mad drive for rotten elections?