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Interfaith rally and Jericho march around the Comelec

for a clean, honest and peaceful elections on May 10

 

Intramuros

 

April 22, 2010

 

 

    Video clips

 

    Bonus Tracks: The Manila Cathedral 

 

 

Bishops led the Interfaith prayer for a clean, honest and peaceful elections
March around the COMELEC in Intramuros: No to failure of electioons! No to GMA holdover! No to military takeover!
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PEOPLE’S VIGILANCE CALLED FOR IN THE 2010 ELECTIONS

  

The Ecumenical Bishops Forum-North Luzon, in a seminar-workshop conducted at the CONDORA, Damortis, Rosario, La Union on March 22-23, 2010, declares the following:

 

1.  The objective of the COMELEC in pursuing the May 10, 2010 elections is very much applauded especially with the implementation of R.A. 9369 because of the ff:

 

>    It will eliminate clerical and human intervention related errors

>    To remove conditions for opportunities “dagdag-bawas” operation or whole sale cheating.

 

But based on our studies and appreciation of the AES we discover that the COMELEC

 is not well-prepared in relation to:

 

Ø      Quality and effective preparation especially in the aspect of technical and

               Logistics

     >    Readiness of BEI’s, electorate and candidates

     >    Insufficient time (and budget) for the COMELEC to discharge their duties/responsibilities in preparation to May 10, 2010 elections.

 

2.  Now therefore, we call on the COMELEC to:

 

>   Make use of the remaining days to massively educate the BEI’s and electorate in having AES and using PCOS.

>   Be transparent in using AES-PCOS RA 9369

 

We also call on the NCCP member churches and other denominations, NGO’s, PO’s to:

 

>   Be vigilant in safeguarding the vote of the Filipino people

>   Conduct principled nationalist electoral education.

 

3. We also call on the major political parties, genuine party list groups, the Roman Catholic Church, NCCP member-churches and other church denominations, government organizations, non-government organizations, peoples’ organizations and other concerned groups, and the people at large to:

 

         Be vigilant in safeguarding the vote of the Filipino people

         Conduct and/or participate in principled nationalist electoral education

 

The elections this year are too important for the Filipino people and nation for effective governance and to improve the quality of life of the people. Therefore, all efforts must be exerted to make the elections free, clean, honest, credible and acceptable to everybody.

 

Signed:

 

   MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ, JR.

   Co-chairperson, Ecumenical Bishops Forum

 

 

 Bp Inong's 2.jpg

                                 

 

    (Sgd.)

   Bishop Benjamin A. Justo

   United Methodist Church

   North Luzon – Co-coordinator

 

 

   Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon

   Executive Secretary 

   

With 32 other participants composed of priests from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente,  Religious Sisters from Medical Mission Sisters of the Roman Catholic Church, Clergy and Lay Leaders from the United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

  

Mo. Mary John Mananzan. OSB
     
UP Professor Atty. Harry Roque

Cristina Guevarrra, SCM

           
     
     
           

x

INVITATION FOR PROPHETIC VOICE AND COMMUNAL ACTION

 

 

Dear People of God,

            Shalom!

            Unfolding events vis-à-vis the fast approaching May 10, 2010 Elections are very disturbing. As we continue to pray and work for clean, honest and peaceful elections, the failure of elections is a looming scenario. We are in uncertain times indeed. We have to raise our PROPHETIC VOICE and COMMUNAL ACTION is a must.

            Inspired by the Siege of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-5, we invite you and your communities, organizations and groups to join the JERICHO MARCH around the COMELEC’s main office on April 22, 2010, Thursday, 4:00pm – 7:00pm at Plaza Roma, Intramuros, Manila. In this Inter-faith rally, we raise these prophetic calls:

YES TO CLEAN, HONEST AND PEACEFUL ELECTIONS!

NO TO FAILURE OF ELECTIONS!

NO TO GMA HOLDOVER!

NO TO MILITARY TAKEOVER!

            To the GMA government, the COMELEC included, WE ARE WATCHING YOU. We are determined to move.

            People of God, vigilance and actions are demanded of us in these crucial times.

            See you all on April 22 Jericho March.

                        Please contact the secretariat (Inday/Tony) thru landline no. 510-0734 or mobile no. 0919-5965789/ 0921-5575989 for any inquiries.

 

Sincerely yours,

(sgd.)                                                                                      (sgd.)

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, D.D.                          Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Jr., D.D.

                                                                                               

                                                                                                (sgd.)

Mo. Mary John Mananzan,OSB                                       Fr. Jesus Malit, SSS

Co- Chairperson –AMRSP                                                        Co – Chairperson - AMRSP

 

mgg_signaturamgg_signatura                                                           

Fr. Jose P. Dizon                                                                 Msgr. Manuel Gabriel

Convenor – Clergy Discernment Group                                      Convenor – Clergy Discernment Group

 

(sgd.)                                                                                     

Fr. Wilfredo Dulay, MJ                                                     Sr. Maureen Catabian,rgs

Convenor – Religious Discernment Group                                   Convenor – Religious Discernment Group

 

                                                              

Rev. Rex RB Reyes, Jr.                                                      Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua

General Secretary                                                                     General Secretary

National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)              United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)

 

Bishop Solito Toquero                                                      Bishop Elmer Bolocon

United Methodist Church (UMC)                                               United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)                     

arriola

                                                                                                (sgd.)

Ms. Fe Maria C. Arriola                                                   Rt. Rev. Ephraim S. Fajutagana

Convenor – Lay Discernment Group                                          General Secretary

                                                                                                Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI)

 

(sgd.)

Atty. Oscar Orbos

Convenor – Lay Discernment Group

 

______________________________________

 

Initial List of Participating Organizations/Institutions:

Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines                  Kontra Daya

National Council of Churches in the Philippines                                       Magnificat Movement

United Church of Christ in the Philippines                                                June 30 Movement

Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                                                      Gabriela

United Methodist Church                                                                             We Watch

Clergy Discernment Group                                                                          Concerned Citizens Movement

Religious Discernment Group                                                                     Ecumenical Bishops Forum

Lay Discernment Group                                                                               Solidarity Philippines

Task Force on Urban Conscientization                                                       Kadamay National

Pagbabago!People’s Movement for Change                                               Courage

Ecumenical Movement for Justice & Peace

Holy Name Society of the Philippines

Council of the Laity of the Philippines

Kasama – TK

Promotion of Church People’s Response

Kairos Philippines

Rural Missionaries of the Philippines

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

League of Filipino Students

College of the Holy Spirit

(Student Ministry & Social Concerns Office)

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Kotra Daya: Poll failure should be met with vigilance

Posted on 16 April 2010

The anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya today said that people’s vigilance is the proper response to a possible failure of elections.

Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon made this statement following the release of a report by the think-tank Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), which found 14 “danger signs” that the May 2010 elections – the first automated elections in the country’s history – are likely to encounter problems, or to fail. These are: lack of clear plans to house and secure precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines; failure to fully test all PCOS machines; lack of rigorous field-testing of PCOS, except in a few areas where high ballot-rejection rates were noted; high restriction of the source code; the use of two memory cards for each machine, which creates openings for cheating, mishandling, theft, or vandalism; the absence of cellular or broadband network signals in 30 percent of voting centers; the non-designation of any independent party that would handle keys to unlock PCOS machines before the transmission of results; the hazy system of transporting and keeping the machines in safe warehouses; the drastic delay in ballot printing; the non-publicizing of critical contacts, instructions, plans, and procedures; the lack of training for election inspectors; shortage of manpower; failure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cleanse the voters’ list; and lack of information on new clustered precinct assignments.

“These findings confirm and reinforce the concerns that we earlier raised on the likelihood of a failure of elections,” Dizon said. “They further highlight the need for the public to be vigilant.”

Kontra Daya’s own observations on the likelihood of a failure of elections, which its conveners raised in several dialogues with the Comelec, stemmed from repeated ballot rejections and difficulties in transmitting results in several mock elections and field tests; the delay in the printing of ballots; the absence of National Printing Office (NPO) markings in ballots for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); the lack of time to accommodate the 1,000 voters expected to queue at each clustered precinct, which will be served by one PCOS machine and three election inspectors; and defects in the ultraviolet markings on the ballots.

Dizon agreed with PSA that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is barred by the Constitution from running for another presidential term and is now vying for a seat at the House of Representatives, will take advantage of a failure of elections to perpetuate herself in power.

Dizon invited all concerned citizens to join the “Jericho March” to the Comelec scheduled on April 22. Spearheaded by various religious groups, the “Jericho March” will be staged to denounce what the organizers describe as “a grand design to make the elections fail.”

“The ‘Jericho March’ will be an expression of the kind of vigilance that we are urging the people to exercise, especially when worst-case scenarios like a failure of elections takes place,” Dizon said. “It will be a practice run for actions that we may have to stage after the elections.”
Posted on 16 April 2010

The anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya today said that people’s vigilance is the proper response to a possible failure of elections.

Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon made this statement following the release of a report by the think-tank Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), which found 14 “danger signs” that the May 2010 elections – the first automated elections in the country’s history – are likely to encounter problems, or to fail. These are: lack of clear plans to house and secure precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines; failure to fully test all PCOS machines; lack of rigorous field-testing of PCOS, except in a few areas where high ballot-rejection rates were noted; high restriction of the source code; the use of two memory cards for each machine, which creates openings for cheating, mishandling, theft, or vandalism; the absence of cellular or broadband network signals in 30 percent of voting centers; the non-designation of any independent party that would handle keys to unlock PCOS machines before the transmission of results; the hazy system of transporting and keeping the machines in safe warehouses; the drastic delay in ballot printing; the non-publicizing of critical contacts, instructions, plans, and procedures; the lack of training for election inspectors; shortage of manpower; failure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to cleanse the voters’ list; and lack of information on new clustered precinct assignments.

“These findings confirm and reinforce the concerns that we earlier raised on the likelihood of a failure of elections,” Dizon said. “They further highlight the need for the public to be vigilant.”

Kontra Daya’s own observations on the likelihood of a failure of elections, which its conveners raised in several dialogues with the Comelec, stemmed from repeated ballot rejections and difficulties in transmitting results in several mock elections and field tests; the delay in the printing of ballots; the absence of National Printing Office (NPO) markings in ballots for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); the lack of time to accommodate the 1,000 voters expected to queue at each clustered precinct, which will be served by one PCOS machine and three election inspectors; and defects in the ultraviolet markings on the ballots.

Dizon agreed with PSA that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is barred by the Constitution from running for another presidential term and is now vying for a seat at the House of Representatives, will take advantage of a failure of elections to perpetuate herself in power.

Dizon invited all concerned citizens to join the “Jericho March” to the Comelec scheduled on April 22. Spearheaded by various religious groups, the “Jericho March” will be staged to denounce what the organizers describe as “a grand design to make the elections fail.”

“The ‘Jericho March’ will be an expression of the kind of vigilance that we are urging the people to exercise, especially when worst-case scenarios like a failure of elections takes place,” Dizon said. “It will be a practice run for actions that we may have to stage after the elections.”

 

     
     
     
           
     
   
     
     

 

Kontra Daya urges Comelec to punish Smartmatic for defects in UV marks; calls for caution in entering new deal for folders

Posted on 06 April 2010

The anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya today said the problems with the ultraviolet (UV) marks on the ballots to be used in the country’s first automated elections could create confusion for voters, as well as lead to disenfranchisement, and for this Smartmatic-TIM should be taken to task. Kontra Daya also called on the Commission on Elections to be cautious against entering negotiated deals in the wake of the P700-million contract for the purchase of ballot secrecy folders.

Comelec Advisory Council member Ramon Casiple had said last week that Smartmatic-TIM, the company supplying the electronic equipment for the May 2010 elections, had failed to supply the right ink for the UV security markings on the ballots. Because of this, he said, the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines may be unable to verify the authenticity of the ballots.

As a result, the Comelec will have to resort to the use of hand-held UV lamps to chedk whether the ballots are genuine or not.

But Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal denied this, saying the problem was that the UV markings misaligned due to the haste in ballot-printing.

The printing of ballots was delayed by a month. A Comelec internal memorandum issued last March disclosed that there may not be enough time to print all 50.7 million ballots in time for the April 25 deadline – which Larrazabal also denied.

“Whether the wrong ink was used or the UV markings misaligned, the point is that we are facing a major problem with these defects in the UV marks,” said Kontra Daya convener Fr. Joe Dizon. “The need to use hand-held UV lamps implies having to introduce a whole new procedure to a voting process that is already confusing even without the defects in the UV marks.”

Dizon cited the results of a computer simulation by another Kontra Daya convener, Prof. Giovanni Tapang of the National Institute of Physics at the University of the Philippines, which showed that there may not be enough time to accommodate all voter for every clustered precinct.

There are more than 50.7 million registered voters for the upcoming elections, with voters from more than 329,000 precincts expected to line up at 76,000 clustered precincts. There will be one PCOS machine and three election inspectors for an average of 1,000 voters at every clustered precinct.

The simulation “(did) not…include any untoward incidents, challenges, and breakdown of electronic systems,” Tapang said.

“The voting process is already confusing, not to mention time-consuming, as it is, even without the defects in the UV marks,” Dizon said. “The defects in the UV marks could create problems and challenges that could lead to further confusion and, worse, disenfranchisement.”

While noting that there may be nothing that could be done to reverse this error, Dizon said the Comelec “should fine or penalize Smartmatic-TIM for this costly mistake.”

Meanwhile, Dizon also called on the Comelec to be cautious in entering into a new negotiated contract for the purchase of ballot secrecy folders. The Comelec almost purchased 1.8 ballot secrecy folders at P380 each from OTC Paper Supply, but later recalled the purchase. “The Comelec should ensure that the contract is not overpriced and that the bidding process is transparent,” Dizon said.

 

     
     
           
     
     
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Glitches hound OAV in Hong Kong — reports

Posted on 11 April 2010

News Release
April 12, 2010

Glitches hound OAV in Hong Kong

Several glitches happened on the second day of voting for overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong, based on reports gathered by the watchdog group Kontra Daya.

Based on reports by poll watchers in Hong Kong, there were two instances of breakdown in the PCOS machines documented in SBEI (Special Board of Election Inspectors) Nos. 15 and 16.

According to Aaron Ceradoy of the poll watchers committee of Gabriela Hong Kong, two of their poll watchers witnessed and documented the breakdown in the PCOS machines. The accounts are as follows:

In SBEI 15
1. At 8:30, the PCOS machine was not accepting the filled out ballots of the seven (7) voters in the precinct.
2. At 8:35, a new PCOS machine was brought in to replace the malfunctioning PCOS machine. Test ballot with serial no. 9911571 was fed into the machine. It was accepted. However, the ballots of the seven (7) voters were still not accepted, even after several attempts.
3. At 9:30, one ballot was accepted by the PCOS machine but not the other six (6). At 9:45, a voter left her ballot to the SBEI.
4. At 9:52, a new machine was brought in but still rejected the ballots.
5. At 10:00, the first PCOS machine was brought back. They learned that the machine was damp. To dry it, the IT personnel of the COMELEC shut the machine down.
6. By 10:20, the machine was turned on again. At 10:34, the machine was already accepting the ballots.

In SBEI 16
1. At 8:30, the PCOS machine was rejecting the ballots.
2. The machine finally worked 30 minutes after it was fixed by the IT personnel of the COMELEC. By 9:15AM, the machine started accepting the filled out ballots.

“The glitches and breakdowns in the PCOS machines here in HK, may be a prelude to the endless possibilities of errors, problems and disturbances when elections start in the Philippines on May 10,” said Ceradoy.

“Registered Filipino voters overseas have at least 28 days to vote. They can opt to go back should they encounter such problems. But in the Philippines, they don’t have the luxury of time,” he added. “The glitches, problems, delays and all possible hindrances that we will encounter in 30 days will all happen in just one day in the Philippines. There won’t be many opportunities for a double-take,” Ceradoy told Kontra Daya.

News reports have attributed the breakdown of the PCOS machines in Hong Kong due to humid weather. Kontra Daya expects similar scenarios can take place in areas in the Philippines known for their humidity. The group said that polling precincts in the Philippines are normally not air-conditioned rooms, and that a PCOS machine running for 11 hours may encounter problems.

The two-hour delay in SBEI 15, Ceradoy relayed, can be seen as a big setback should it occur in the Philippines. “With the sheer number of voters in the Philippines per precinct, one cannot help but fear the possibility of massive disenfranchisement,” he told Kontra Daya.

Kontra Daya said that the events in Hong Kong is a strong argument for the holding of a new round of mock elections in the Philippines involving more precincts with the expected 1,000 voters per precinct. The group has long pressed the Comelec to conduct the new mock polls in the light of the updated General Instructions which cover the occurrence of rejected ballots and machine breakdown. A new process in the voting, the manual scanning of the UV marks, has also been added after the Comelec shut down the UV scanners in the PCOS machines.

Migrant groups in Hong Kong are challenging the COMELEC to reveal all its back-up and emergency plans given the developments in the overseas elections in Hong Kong.###

 

Kontra Daya websitge
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

No balut vendors: Partylist of FG sis has multi-millionaires for nominees

Posted on 29 March 2010

The partylist group currently being represented by the sister of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo counts among its nominees multi-millionaires, government appointees and influential people, according to a study mady by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the watchdog group Kontra Daya.

The partylist group Ang Kasangga, currently represented in Congress by Arroyo sister Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, claims to represent “entrepreneurs” according to its official website. Ang Kasangga defines micro-entrepreneurs as “those with individual capital of P3 million and below”, its website says.

The entry into Congress of Lourdes Arroyo drew heavy criticism because it was alleged she did not represent small business. It was during this period that Ang Kasangga defended Arroyo as saying she represented small businesses including balut vendors.

“The first two nominees of Ang Kasangga are multi-millionaires linked with the Arroyo administration. They do not fall within the category of micro-entrepreneurs. The law and Comelec guidelines are clear: a parytlist nominee must not only be an advocate of the sector. The nominee must belong to the marginalized sector,” said Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr.

Ang Kasangga first nominee Teodorico T. Haresco is a big businessman and government appointee. The second nominee, Eugenio V. Lacson, is a three-term city mayor, with various business interest in mining. Both are considered Arroyo allies.

Haresco is a member of the board of directors of the Philippine National Oil Company. He was involved in the President’s Bridge Program infrastructure project which has drawn criticism for being “bridges to nowhere”. In 2005, the UK newspaper The Guardian ran an article about a British firm “accused of making excessive profits in an aid project, by building what their critics call bridges to nowhere”. Haresco was the local contact of the British firm, according to the interview by The Guardian.

Haresco is also Chairman of Winace Security Agency, also affiliated with Winace Detective and Protective Agency Inc. He is Chairman and CEO of Winace Holdings Philippines, which is involved in the acquisition, holding, and sale of stocks, bonds, and securities of other companies for investment purposes.

Winace serves as the mother company of a) Winsource Solutions Inc., a BPO firm; b) Technostrat Solutions, “an Anglo-Dutch joint venture company”; c) Chaikofi Brewmasters, “a Dutch joint venture company establishing, operating, managing, and franchising the only Concept Cafe in the Philippines”; and d) Winserve Risk Management Consultants Inc., a consultancy-based group.

Lacson meanwhile is in the company of the mega-rich. He is ranked 79 among the top 100 stockholders of Fidelity Stock Transfers, Inc. ATR Kim Eng Financial Corp according to a March 31, 2007 stockholders report. Others on the Top 100 list list are several members of the Ortigas and Villonco families, all of whom are not considered micro- entrepreneurs.

Lacson was being considered as a vice gubernatorial candidate in Negros Occidental for the May 2010 elections before deciding to run under the partylist system. Last January, he joined other Negros mayors in endorsing the presidency of administration bet Gilbert Teodoro.

“Ang Kasangga’s nominees are not micro-entrepreneurs. It they’re allowed to be nominees, what will prevent big business interests in the future to seek, or even buy, a seat in congress,” Reyes said.

 

Kontra Daya websitge

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Grace Poe decries double standards in partylist accreditation

Posted on 25 March 2010
News Release

March 25, 2010

Grace Poe decries double standards in partylist accreditation

A curious case of double-standards?

A convenor of the anti-fraud group Kontra Daya today decried what she called double standards in the Comelec’s accreditation of partylist groups and nominees. The criticism came in the light of news that Pampanga Congressman Mikey Arroyo and other politicians have joined the partylist system.

Kontra Daya convenor Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late Fernando Poe, Jr, said she was at a loss on how the Comelec decided to disqualify the group Filipinos for Peace Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM) after the poll body accused it of not having any real constituency among the urban poor and after saying that the income of one of its leaders did not reflect the income of his constituency.

The FPJPM was organized among the supporters of the former presidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr., whose members came mainly from the urban poor communities.

In the 2007 elections, FPJPM actually won enough votes to secure one seat in the House of Representatives. It could have seated a representative had it not been disqualified by the Comelec.

“Under the Supreme Court ruling in BANAT v. Comelec, FPJPM actually won a seat. The urban poor was actually telling all of us that they consider FPJPM to be their representative,” Poe-Llamanzares said.

“Swept under the rug, this fact was later superseded by Comelec questioning the group’s leader, Boots Cadsawan’s monthly income as not reflective of being one of the urban poor. He made P30,000 per month,” Llamanzares said.

At that time, Cadsawan was not yet the official nominee of the group and was just one of the many members of the partylist, majority of whom were from the urban poor.

Kontra Daya believes that it was strange that the Comelec disqualified FPJPM because the income of one its organizers did not reflect the income of its constituents. On the other hand, Comelec tries to justify the entry of Mikey Arroyo as partylist representative of security guards and tricycle drivers even if his income is way beyond that of his purported constituents.

“Cadsawan and the other officers and members of FPJPM have continually helped the poor, who responded by giving FPJPM the number of votes for a Congress seat. And certainly, that is more in keeping with the party-list law’s objectives, compared to a traditional politician congressman who suddenly becomes the nominee of, say, security guards, or a cabinet secretary emerging as an instant nominee of tricycle and jeepney drivers,” Llamanzares lamented.

“Are there real standards in accrediting partylist groups and nominees and if so, are they constantly applied?” she asked the Comelec.

Poe-Llamanzares also said that in Section 9 or RA 7941 (Party-List Law), among other qualifications, a nominee must be a bonafide member of the party or organization he or she seeks to represent at least 90 days before the election.

“Does this mean that Mikey had already resigned from Kampi long ago? This possible violation of election law is ground to disqualify the party-list group under Section 6, RA 7941,” she said.

In a media interview on February 15, 2010, Mikey Arroyo was quoted as saying he was being offered the nomination for partylist representative by different groups and that he has not decided which one to accept.

Kontra Daya believes that this is an admission at the time that Mikey was not a member of any partylist group and thus would not be able to comply with the 90-day minimum membership rule under RA 7941. ###
 

Kontra Daya websitge

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Kontra Daya says Comelec should motu propio disqualify partylist nominees violating the law

Posted on 29 March 2010

The Commission on Elections has the continuing obligation to screen partylist nominees especially if there are continuing violations of the law, according to the watchdog group Kontra Daya.

“The Comelec has the has the continuing power and the duty to defend the partylist system at any time from the onslaught of those who seek to abuse it and violate the letter and intent of the Constitution and the Partylist Law to the prejudice of the marginalized and underrepresented,” the group said.

“It would not be just if the Comelec washes its hand off any responsibility to check the abuses of the partylist system by nominees who are disqualified by law, yet continue to take advantage of the system,” it added.

Kontra Daya said that Comelec has the motu propio power to cancel at any time even after election day itself, the registration of any party list group using its motu propio powers under Section 6 of RA 7941 or the Partylist Law on the grounds, inter alia, that “(5) It violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections” OR (6) It declares untruthful statements in its petition.”

“The statement by the Comelec that it is leaving it up to the voters to weed out spurious partylists and nominees is an abandonment of its responsibility of upholding the Partylist Law and the rulings of the Supreme Court. The Comelec on its own may act to preserve the integrity of the party list system if it finds, even if no complaints are filed, that either the partylist organization or the nominee lacks the qualifications required by law and has abused the party list system in violation of the law,” the group said.

Kontra Daya earlier lamented that the guidelines set by the Comelec on accepting petitions to disqualify partylist nominees poses stumbling blocks to citizens groups. The Comelec has given only five days to file petitions to disqualify nominees. It will be charging a fee of P5,000 for every nominee that is being sought for disqualification.

The watchdog group said that there are so many questionable nominees, the filing fee alone would discourage actual petitions.

Some 185 partylist groups have already submitted their list of nominees as of the March 26, 2010 deadline.

Kontra Daya plans to submit to the Comelec its study of more than 30 partylist groups that have questionable nominees or nominees with links to the Arroyo government. ###

 

Kontra Daya websitge

 

     
           
     
     
     

 

Streetwise

by Carol Araullo

 

 Pretender

Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's entire appeal to the Filipino people to elect him President of the Republic, from television ads to live and press statements to written platform, rests on a single claim: that having inherited the legacy of Ninoy and Cory Aquino, he can stamp out corruption and bring righteousness, progress and prosperity to the Filipino people.

Of late, he has carried this grand posturing to the extent of his camp drumming up the "failure of elections" scenario to simulate the '86 fraud-ridden snap elections, present himself as "another Cory" and thereby rally the Filipino people behind him.

Alas, unwittingly this scheme backfires as it becomes clear that there is an ocean of difference between Cory the challenger to Marcos' dictatorial rule and Noynoy the pretender to the Ninoy and Cory legacy.

Cory eventually galvanized the broad anti-Marcos opposition behind her – including the forces of the Left – to oppose the fraudulent claim of victory by Marcos in the 1986 presidential polls and to mount mass protests that culminated in the “people power” uprising that overthrew the dictator.

Noynoy could have worked to build the broad unity of the anti-Arroyo forces to ensure the defeat of the administration candidate and Mrs. Arroyo herself in her home province but chose instead to foist the small Liberal Party on other parties and groups. He had become convinced that the spontaneous outpouring of sympathy for his family after his mother’s death would be enough to fuel him to victory.

As for Noynoy's claim that he can lead the Filipino people in the righteous fight against corruption towards prosperity and progress, this has to be tested in the light of his stand on the Cojuangcos’ Hacienda Luisita and the long-standing agrarian dispute that has hounded them.

The truth is, the Cojuangcos utilized the clout and influence of President Cory to get Congress to enact a fatally-flawed agrarian reform law that, for one, allowed big landowners like them to circumvent land reform by means of the so-called stock distribution option (SDO). The landless were given worthless pieces of paper saying they were co-owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc (HLI). Their lot changed from bad to worse: they had no say on the decisions made regarding the hacienda; they had no assurance of jobs; they did not even own the land on which their hovels stood.

Thereafter Noynoy utilized Congress as a platform to vociferously defend his relatives managing their essentially feudal landholding. He also exonerated them as well as the Arroyo regime for culpability in the infamous massacre of the hacienda’s striking workers and their supporters six years ago. Instead, Noynoy accused the workers of provoking and orchestrating the deaths and injuries among their ranks.

Noynoy now promises land distribution to the farmers by 2014 when in truth the 6,453-hectare property should have been distributed in 1967, a precondition to the loan granted to Noynoy’s grandfather, Don Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco Sr. , by the then Central Bank.

This is a classic example of bureaucrat capitalism that the national democrats have been denouncing as one of the three basic evils of Philippine society; i.e. the use by bureaucrats in high public office of their political power to protect and promote their vested interests.

Cory looked the other way when land reform was thwarted in HLI by means of the SDO and by management cooptation and control of the farm and mill workers’ unions. She washed her hands of the HLI massacre while her son was beside himself accusing “communists” and “outsiders” of instigating unrest on their otherwise purportedly placid hacienda.

Despite this and without giving up on and reneging on the farm workers’ just struggle to get back the lands appropriated unjustly by the Cojuangcos, the Left would agree to unite with Cory when she finally decided to call for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation after the “Hello, Garci” election fraud blew up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face. She was convinced to do so by the ten resigned Arroyo cabinet members and some bishops who promised to back her call.

Satur himself prevailed on HLI farm workers picketing the Aquino residence to allow Mrs. Aquino to leave her house the day that she was to announce in a press conference that she would lead a march to Congress to press for Mrs. Arroyo’s impeachment. The HLI issue could give way that day to help build the broad united front against the anti-people Arroyo regime.

But the HLI issue cannot be set aside, minimized or papered over today vis a vis candidate Noynoy Aquino. Land reform is a defining issue for the Left precisely because it is the basic demand of the peasantry and it impacts heavily on the entire Filipino people.

Decades of land monopoly by a few constitutes stark social injustice that cries out for resolution. It is fuelling agrarian unrest and armed revolution in the countryside; the series of bloody counter-insurgency programs of all postwar governments including that of President Cory have failed to bring these to an end.

Landlessness is also the major cause of the poverty and backwardness that has bound millions of peasant families to a life of endless, backbreaking toil and relegated the Philippines to little more than a semi-feudal, semi-colonial backwater with no jobs, no livelihood, nothing but a bleak future for the vast majority. Is it a wonder Filipinos are leaving by droves to find better-paying jobs and a chance at a better life anywhere outside their homeland?

Noynoy must answer whether, when and how he plans to deal with the land dispute on his clan’s landholdings because that will set the pattern by which the land problem will be faced by his presidency.

Noynoy at first echoed his mother’s lame excuse: their family is a minor stockholder and has little say in the running of the corporation. That cop-out was unconvincing so next he said something about debts to be paid and not wanting to saddle the farm workers with the problem of an insolvent company. The workers said, thanks but no thanks. Just get the HLI management to withdraw its Supreme Court petition for an injunction on the current government decision to grant the land to the hacienda tenants.

Noynoy Aquino has displayed nothing but disdain for the national democrats and unabashed anti-communism to the point that he would not even agree in the beginning to engage in any kind of talks with the Satur/Liza camp. There was never for a moment any opening given by Noynoy to probe possibilities for an alliance with the Left in the 2010 elections.

Noynoy’s attitude towards the Left has endeared him to the rabid anti-communists and militarists inside government and out. It also serves to assure US imperialism and other foreign monopoly capitalists and their Filipino partners that the Left will not be allowed any space in Noynoy’s presidency, enough to endanger their unmitigated plunder of the country and the oppression of its people. But it bodes ill for ending the legacy of human rights abuse and impunity that has gone hand-in-glove with failed counter-insurgency programs of all previous regimes without exception. #

*Published in Business World
16-17 April 2010

 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
Storming the Jericho wall of failure of elections, GMA holdover and military takeover
           
     

Streetwise

by Carol Araullo

 

Shortchanged

So far what voters and the rest of the people are being told by leading presidential candidates in the current campaign are their claims or offer of themselves as most capable of bringing about the change that everyone is calling for. Unfortunately none of them have seriously explained how or even what change other than superficial and peripheral they intend to bring about.

Hundreds of millions of pesos are being spent on advertisements with catchy one-liners, motherhood statements and empty slogans. Far from presenting platforms for change, these ads are the stuff of the same old traditional political campaign and indicate that instituting real change is farthest from the minds of these leading contenders for the highest political office in the land.

In contrast, how much have the candidates spent for disseminating their full platforms and discussing these with the electorate? Doesn’t this stinginess indicate as well the candidates’ cavalier attitude towards the electorate; that is, their lack of respect for the people’s ability to discern substance from packaging; platitudes from concrete policy statements and proposed programs; track record from image makeovers?

Even the unusually plentiful forums, debates, one-on-one interviews, etc. where candidates are pitted against each other or made to face public scrutiny (which are otherwise a welcome development, doubtless spurred on by the strong clamor for change) have failed over-all in focusing on platforms or what changes the candidates will institute and how if elected. Instead what we see clearly from these forums is just how shallow, hollow and misdirected are the analyses and solutions being offered to address deeply-rooted and long-running social problems.

Let’s take a sampling from the two top-rated “presidentiables” in the ubiquitous surveys.

Sen. Noynoy Aquino has maintained his lead since he threw his hat into the ring but surveys show this lead has gone down significantly and even plateaued. Apart from harping on and turning his parents’ political legacies into unearned political capital, Noynoy has stuck to a single, simple message “Kung walang korap, walang mahirap.” His analysis of Philippine society’s complex and seemingly intractable ills is reducible to corruption as the root of all evil including societal “division” and “alienation” and the alleged “paralysis” of the people’s “moral faculties”.

Comparing the message projected in his ads to his written out but hardly disseminated platform, one sees that indeed, there is not much to project as the platform itself suffers from the same dearth of substance. Even as he decries the incumbent Arroyo regime’s inability to offer “lasting solutions for the many problems of the country” his own articulation of what he sees these solutions to be is sorely lacking and even trivialized.

On the economy, an area where good intentions including pledges not to steal from government coffers, are plainly not enough to qualify as a program of government, Mr. Aquino’s prescriptions do not include land reform and reviving and strengthening domestic production whether it be in agriculture (for food requirements of a burgeoning population) or in local industry (for generating more quality and secure jobs and accumulating social capital rather than relying solely on foreign debt and investments).

He is mum about what he intends to do with the failed policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization that Cory Aquino’s presidency persisted in pursuing when she took over from the dictator Marcos. The neo-liberal policy framework prescribed by multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank and implemented blindly and consistently by governments since Marcos’ time underlies much of the poverty and economic backwardness we see around us and not so much corruption per se.

In the area of resolving decades-old armed conflicts between government and revolutionary movements led by the CPP-NPA-NDF and the MILF, Mr. Aquino is content to relegate the matter as a “peace and order” concern.

He criticizes the current “disjointed, short-sighted Mindanao policy” to address “decades of neglect of the Moro and other peoples of Mindanao” and proposes a “broadly-supported just peace” but avoids going into any substantiation of what that entails. Mr. Aquino’s failure to even mention what all previous governments have considered the number one armed threat to government - that of the communist-led armed struggle in the countryside - much less how he intends to deal with it, is a major sin of omission.

Sen. Manny VIllar for his part promises to all and sundry that he will liberate the poor from poverty. He unabashedly presents himself as the poster boy of success, an example of what it purportedly takes to climb out of poverty through “sipag at tyaga”. Some quarters have questioned whether Mr. Villar was ever really as impoverished as he says he was (albeit it is clear he was not born into a clan of hacienderos and old rich like the Aquino-Roxas tandem).

Villar's platform, on the other hand provides more substance, significantly zeroing in on poverty and social injustice as the two most serious problems that need to be addressed in order to achieve real change. The platform attempts to present solutions to landlessness, economic stagnation, foreign intervention and control, environmental destruction, human rights violations, etc. It advocates agrarian reform, development of domestic manufacturing industries, environmental protection, protection of human rights, and an independent foreign policy. But it falls short of spelling out the concrete measures needed to carry these out. For example, Villar appears to play it safe by being deliberately vague on the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US and on the neoliberal economic policies that have wreaked havoc on the economy and on our lives, calling only for a review of these.

Unfortunately, Villar's ads so far have overstressed poverty while only scantily dealing with the problem of social injustice. Overall he has not been able to project the analyses and solutions that are laid down on his platform. And he still needs to spell out more clearly his position on certain crucial issues. Until he does, Villar would be vulnerable to skeptics' view that his platform is really just a scrap of paper.

Meanwhile the justification for the entry of progressives Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza as guest candidates in the Villar ticket rested on the acceptability of Villar’s platform to the Left party lists and their supporters. This alliance suffers even as Villar keeps that platform under wraps.

With only a month left before the people troop to the polls and cast their ballots, hope for a more intelligent and substantial campaign dims. There appears no attempt on the part of the candidates to raise the level of the campaign and break away from the old circus atmosphere.

But it is not too late for the people who earnestly, almost desperately, cry out for tunay na pagbabago to demand nothing less. #

*Published in Business World
9-10 April 2010

 

     
     
     
           
     
 
 
     
     
     
VIDEO CLIPS
           
     
   
           
 

GMA news TGV video clip

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/189123/religious-groups-march-vs-poll-failure-call-for-public-vigilance

 

           
     

BONUS TRACKS

The Manila Cathedral

           
     
     
     
           
ELECTIONS 2010
           
           
 
     
       
   
 
   
   
   
 

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