OPINION

October 24, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Abused Democracy By Karib J. Muhalli


The Congress should now focus to reforming the government, more than the talks on the ZTE broadband deal scam principally implicating President Arroyo and the First Gentleman in the kickback; the administration proposed 2012 Charter Change road map apparently instigating the Malacañang bribe some congressmen with stashes of cash gifts for their majority supports of the proposal; the ousted President Estrada withdrawal of motion for reconsideration of his plunder case before the Sandiganbayan unconditionally seeking presidential pardon; and the Glorietta Mall explosions, and related incidents that may usually erupt obviously aggravating or diverting the coupled controversies that rocked the Arroyo administration and the country.

If there is a move to urgently reform public office/s, it should be the Commission on Elections (Comelec), one of the main pillars of Democracy — thus, abusing the Comelec is abusing the Democracy, they say. This is if the government are decisive in overhauling our electoral system, the most troubled office under the executive branch. This is if they are to avoid the repeat of the like of the “Hello Garci” polls scam involving Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Elections Director Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano allegedly rigged the election retruns in the 2004 Presidential Polls in favor of her over close rival Fernando Poe Jr, now deceased (may he rest in peace).

To reckon, few months prior to elections in 2004, incumbent President Arroyo issued Garcillano ad interim appointment as Comelec director in Northern Mindanao. The issuance of appointment was done while the Congress was on recess or vacation, so, said appointment bypassed the scrutiny of the Senate-Congress Committee on Appointment (CoA). Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and former Rep. Didagen Dilangalen of Maguindanao, along with few of their colleagues, questioned said appointment, nagging that Garcillano’s shady past having been taunted as votes manipulator in Mindanao in the previous elections in 1992 and 1998; hence, Garcillano is unfit to hold again electoral post. Their inquiry, however, was to no avail.

The lawmakers should revise and amend at all costs the Wire Tapping Law that the use of the high-tech cellular phones with built-in camcorders or video cameras and similar electronic devices should be legalized if only to spy the political activities of politicians, candidates or political wannabes. The duration of nationwide surveillance works should be set at the start of campaign sorties until the conduct and canvass of elections to eradicate poll frauds, election-related violence, political killing, and jail the violator thereof.

To effectively implement this law and for transparency and accountability, however, there should be created non-partisan body, election watchdog composed of persons preferably of unquestionable integrity and personality duly authorized and tasked to constitute the espionage operations and inspections especially in the canvassing centers or the Comelec offices. Such electronic means and the wire-tapped or photographed election-related violations and crimes should be exclusively used as strong evidence before the proper court in this special case, as long they are obtained by operatives of the election watchdog.

Early this year, the Congress already passed the election reform law, which is more on the proposed implementation of modernization of vote counting and canvassing starting 2010 National Elections, and the strict penalization of crime upon any one violating the law.

Now the Comelec under acting Chair Resurrection Borra is readying to file charges against Lintang Bedol, elections supervisor for Maguindanao. Bedol is alleged of votes compromise for the Administration’s senatorial candidates in 2006 national and local elections. Bedol is allegedly instrumental in Miguel Zubiri’s winning for the 12th senatorial slot after the re-canvassing of ballots although in the preliminary canvassing it was Luis “Chavit” Singson led the votes in Maguindanao.

Both Zubiri and Singson were running for senator under the Administration’s Team Unity, a party that had made public announcement for the first time of proliferating Command Votes (a coerced or paid votes or votes obtained by hook or by crook). In fact, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales and Maguindanao Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan even campaigned to give P10 thousand and P100 thousand, respectively, to local leaders who could deliver a sweep of 12-0 vote for TU’s senatorial lineup.

Their poll scheme, allegedly to buy voter’s suffrage, overwhelmingly worked only in Maguindanao, a home province of the ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, Chavit’s real buddy. But to bring Bedol to justice is not enough. While we appreciate such initiative, we are appalled to think that those of his accomplice or occasional bosses are moving scott-free and lurking in out there. Toughest and untouchable. They’re used to giving bribery and bonanzas as part of their gimmicks to reign forever in politics. They can buy-off or pressure witnesses to recant testimonies against them (political Mafias) in court.

Worse, having mastered the loopholes of the law, they keep on abusing it (law) for their own advantages. Awful. Our law seems not working in penalizing the Big Fish in the country. Their influence is above the law, thereby making our law in part ineffective, of course with the exception of the Pres. Joseph Estrada’s mere plunder case. Estrada— after being f—-d up [Judased] by his best gambling pal-turned-worst political foe Chavit, backed by the same Big Fish, Estrada’s political rivals— has been started serving his sentence.

Still a lot of personalities including Church leaders are also receiving Jueteng or gambling kickbacks, but Erap is singled out here. Of the Juan de la Cruz, a symbolic name to describe poor Filipinos — there’re lots of Juans and Juanas within us willing to accept even petty gifts. Perhaps out of abject poverty where they have been languishing in, they are desperately resorted to receiving bribery from politicians.

It is a common practice especially during campaign period to elections day in the Philippines. Vote-buyers and –sellers, flying voters and politicians alike, like hopping buzzing moths, are scampering around and flocking for money and promises of landslide votes. Trails of bribery go on up to the Comelec doors and Malacañang Palace. Sometime it takes more days, weeks and months to finish canvassing of ballots, and proclaim the winners later if not earlier. How cunning is the network of this same Administration Party in maneuvering events ranging from the switching of election results to the evading of impeachment attempts logged by the opposition camp.

See. We are even smudged a country of having longest period in counting votes. Shameful and shocking but we must simply accept the reality— that this oddity also adds to the country’s already bad records: the most corrupt country in the world, and second only to Iraq in term of greater numbers of killings of leftists, journalists and political opponents. Can we then expect reform for our government starting from the highest down to the lowest echelon in our society? We cannot for it is hard to reform Apo Trapos (traditional politicos), our mortal Gods up there dominating in the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial Bodies.

Critics say the Abu Sayyaf Group is the creation of the C.I.A. in coordination with the Philippine’s toughest thugs, a network of few personalities among the AFP top officials, businessmen and politicians, to carry out sabotage mission in Muslim-dominated places in Mindanao particularly in Sulu, the center of economic-political conspiracy in the country. It seemed that they have intensified their operation and fiddled on sabotaging peace and business deals and other development in the archipelagic Sulu, an internationally known province for its vast deposits of mineral resources such as offshore raw oil or deuterium reserves in Sulu deepest sea.

Their clandestine plan is to keep on depriving the Moros— whose forbears religiously and patriotically defended from the very start this Morolandia, now Philippines— from the waves of foreign aggressors: Spain, Japan and America. Nevertheless, barely a numbers of the local Abu Sayyaf recruits, who are not embed themselves in criminal activities of kidnapping and beheading of the innocent and helpless captives, will be turning out the “newly self-proclaimed heroes”, analysts warned.

The emerging of ASG was significantly started in 1995, during the mid-incumbency of the Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos—an Amboy— who obtained his military career at West Point, U.S.A. Hitherto, the doppelgangers of imperial America and sycophant Philippine governments are doubling efforts to sophisticate their ploy to establish US-bases in Sulu Sea, before China will hold domination of the region, as independent muckrakers speculated.

And this will temporarily work by orchestrating again similar notorious 911 Holocaust, but this time perhaps in the sea to blast luxury ship of the Asian Liner cruising across the Asia Pacific polygon as the U.S.’s justification to meddle in the region’s affairs, and, as usual, to vigorously implicate the ASG along with the Jemaah Islamiya, Al-qaeda terror network of ex-CIA Osama bin Laden operating in Asia the culprit.

Dubya’s war doctrine is to “eradicate terrorism” as new war of the century having toppled Communism of the stronger Russia. Obviously this time is singling out Islam —the fair religion that pioneered civilization with modesty— being regarded the only remaining strongest power critical of Democracy.

Vent on pursuing the ultimate mission: Global Re-positioning and Crusade Against Islam as their New World Order and over-confident with their highly advance weapons, they believe to win this stupid war in a snap over Islam; nay they are but edging to premature Armageddon– a curse to their own doings.

How could the bond of dudes in this ephemeral world crush Islam— a universal religion– which forces and protectors include angels and the elements of matter: water, air, soil and fire? Unless they deny salient Islamic history and Qur’anic verses regarding the Islamic defensive wars, they will surely be doomed to fiasco, Allah wills.

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