Monday, April 30, 2007

War of the Clans

Patrick I. Patiño
Political & Electoral Team
Institute fro Popular Democracy

2007 Congressional Elections

It is a public notion that district members of the House of Representatives are suppose to represent their constituents. But such notion remains an idea as there is a growing perception that congresspersons represent their political clan. How would you imagine if the incoming 14th Congress shall have a significant number of legislators related to each other by blood? How would you imagine if members of the same family are slugging each other for the same seat in the upcoming congressional elections? How would you imagine members of a political family and their relatives are vying for various elective posts on May 14, 2007?

The House of Representatives has 218 legislative district seats. But even with 6 newly-created legislative districts, it seems that the congressional seats up for grabs in the May 14 elections are not enough for the aspiring and come-backing members of political clans to accommodate them. Congress is not only strengthening traditional political dynasties but also rapidly producing more political dynasties rather than legislating laws and resolutions.

While there are 125 re-electionist congresspersons, there will be 87 vacant seats in the present House of Representatives. Eight seats were vacated due to deaths and appointments of incumbent representatives to the executive department, while 79 members have either completed their three-consecutive terms limit or decided not to seek reelection. The power, porks and perks of being a congressperson are too intoxicating that the seats can only be maintained through family members or relatives. Among the 87, sixty-two of them have family members or relatives as replacements, while five have anointed trusted allies as bench warmers. This is one manifestation of the country's weak political party system.

Let us look at the changing of the guards within the family:

10 representatives are to be replaced by their parents (2 mothers; 8 fathers)
13 by their children (11 sons; 1 daughter; 1 grandson)
16 by their espouses (15 wives and 1 husband)
14 by their siblings (13 brothers and 1 sister)
2 by their nephews
2 by their in-laws

But it does not mean political vacation for the 38 out-going representatives as they seek another elective positions. It is not difficult to understand why most out-going representatives seek elective office not lower than governor because the power, porks and perks of a provincial executive is almost the same as congressperson and importantly preserves or expands the family's political base. Most out-going representatives cum mayoral candidates are running in cities or highly urbanized areas, which are the logical political bases to maintain if they decide to make a comeback in the next election.

5 are senatoriables
20 are competing for governors
11 are mayoral candidates
2 for vice-governors
1 for vice-mayor

Local elections in a number of areas is a family affair with two to three members as candidates. But there is an increasing number of family members and relatives joining the electoral fray. To the extent that family members are vying for the same position in one or different electoral jurisdiction. Among the political clans having a congressional candidate and not less than four other members vying for various elective posts are the Singsons of Ilocos Sur; the Ortegas of La Union, the Dys of Isabela, the Josons of Nueva Ecija, the Romualdezes of Leyte; the Tupases of Iloilo; Maranons of Negros Occidental; the Osmenas of Cebu, Teveses of Negros Oriental; the Dimaporos of Lanao del Norte; the Akbars of Basilan; and the Ampatuans of Maguindanao

Among the political clans having more than one congressional candidates are the Singsons of Ilocos Sur; the Bagatsings and Lopezes of Manila; the Gatchalians of Valenzuela; the Ortegas of La Union (with one as party-list nominee); Josons of Nueva Ecija; Remullas of Cavite; the Defensors (Quezon City and Iloilo); the Garcias of Cebu; Jalosjos-Carreon of Zamboanga del Norte; Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte; and Emanos of Misamis Oriental. Imagine if all of these tandems win their races, then another bloc may be formed in the Lower House – the “family duets” club. Much worse, this would further solidify the defense wall against the advocacy to reform the pork barrel allocations of congressmen.

Here are cases for “only in the Philippines” - members of the clan getting at each other's throat for the same congressional seat. Expect an intense rivalries within the Tupa-Suplico clan of Iloilo where Enrique Suplico, a former Army Colonel and younger brother of outgoing Rep. Rolex Suplico is running against his nephew Neil Tupas Jr., the son of reelectionist Governor Neil Tupas for the post in the 5th District of Iloilo. In the first district of Negro Oriental, the post is contested by Olive Paras and Jerome Para, wife and brother of out-going Rep. Jacinto Paras. Also in Negros Oriental, Henry Teves is slugging it out against his uncle Edgar Teves in the 3rd district. It is a father and son contest in the lone district of Camiguin between the older and outgoing Governor Pedro Romualdo against son, former Mayor Epigenio Romualdo.

More than half of the district seats in the House of Representatives are contested by 117 candidates with family members and relatives running for various elective posts. The data culled from the IPD Political Map Data Center shows that, aside from the congressional candidate, he/she has family members and relatives running for:

Senator - 14
Governor - 55
Vice Governor- 12
Representative- 30
Mayor - 47
Councilor - 13
Board Member- 4

There are 125 reelectionist district representatives who could use to their advantage their incumbency (but with difficulty for opposition congresspersons who have been denied their pork barrels the last two years). On the other hand, there are other 104 congressional entrants who could boost their previous political investments by having been in various government posts or having support from people in key government posts.

Out-going councilors - 15
Former congresspersons - 9
Out-going/Former Governors - 23
Out-going/Former Vice-Governors- 8
Out-going Board Members - 8
Out-going/Former Mayors - 17
Former Military and Police Officials- 9
Official in the Burucracy - 9
Comelec Commissioner - 1
Children/Sibling of Top Government Officials-10

What lies ahead of the 14th Congress? If majority of the composition of the House of Representatives will be representing their political family together with other members of the family and relatives posted in various local elective posts, then we can highly expect another administration partisan Lower House and whose positions on policy and national issues will be dependent on family dispositions and locally parochial interests.

Quo Vadis reforms?

April 30, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pagbebenta ng Computerized Voter's List (CVL), daang milyong pisong Raket ng COMELEC

Maliban pa sa pagmamagic ng election returns, daan milyong piso ang kinikita ng COMELEC sa raket na pagbebenta ng COMPUTERIZED VOTER'S LIST (CVL) at Project of Precint (PoP), mga electoral data na lubhang mahalaga sa “poll watching,” o panahon ng Vote Delivery at Vote Protection frame. Ito pala ang dahilan kung bakit ayaw ng ilabas ng Comelec (websight-internet) ang CVL at PoP, dahil may pera't pagkakakitaan pala sa CVL.

Sa panahong nasa homestrech o dalawang Linggo na lamang ang nalalabi bago ang May midterm election, normally ang diin ng mga kandidato ay maprotektahan ang kanilang boto laban sa daya. Kaya lang, sinasamantala ng Comelec ang kahinaan at paranoya ng mga pulitikong nagkukumahog na manalo sa Mayo. Dahil dito, aasahang bubundat na naman ang mga tiyan ng mga personnel ng Comelec dahil sa raket na pagbebenta ng mga datos at dokumentong pang-electoral (CVL) na kakailanganin ng mga kandidato.

Maliban sa “the price is right,” o ang iskimang pagbebenta ng boto o “dagdag bawas,” (hello garci) mula P5.00 /boto, tumataas ito sa panahon ng bilangan at canvassing, nagiging P50.00 / boto. Kung ikaw ay isang pulitiko at nasa bingit ang chansang manalo o inaasahang maliit ang winning margin, para makasigurado, mamimili ka na lamang ng boto sa Comelec.

Sa totoo lang, public documents ang CVL at Project of Precint at serbisyong libre na dapat iginagawad ng Comelec sa mamamayang Pilipino. Ang tanong ng country, BAKIT IPINAGKAKAIT, PINAGKAKAKITAAN ang mga datos, mga datos na pag-aari ng mamamayan Pilipino! Kung sa bagay, hindi na bago ang practice na ito. Sa totoo lang, may dalawang dekada ng hanapbuhay ito ng Comelec.

Kamakailan lang, may na down load ako sa Comelec na Listahan ng botante sa QC at nakakapagtaka, biglang nawala ito sa Comelec websight. Sana man lang, upang mawala ang pagdududa at kredibilidad ng Comelec, muling ilabas agad ito sa websight, hindi lamang sa Voter's List ng Metro Manila maging sa lahat ng probinsya't malalaking lunsod, mula Aparri hanggang Jolo.

May mga ulat sa ilang probinsyang malalaki (Pangasinan, Pampanga, Davao at iba pa) ang bilang botante na mukhang ginulo, ikinalat at nawawal ang iba. Ang dating magkakasama at magkakamag-anak na botante sa listahan sa kada presinto ay nagkasabog-sabog at ang iba ay nawawala pa.

Ang isang bayan sa kanayunan na may kabuuang bilang na botante na 50,000 o pitumpung libung botante, nagkakahalaga ang Computerized Voter's List ng P4,000.00 kung walang resibo at kung ligal at may resibo, P10,000.00 o kulang-kulang P20.00 / precint. Sa isang probinsyang may isang milyon ang botante, aabot sa P100,000.00 ang CVL. Kung district level na may 300,000 ang botante, aabot sa P25,000.0 at kung kabuuang listahan ng botante sa Pilipinas, mukhang aabot ng isang daang libong milyon (P100,000,000.00). Kung ganito kamahal ibinebenta ang CVL, paano maa-afford ng isang ordinaryong kandidato ang CVL at Project of Precint?

Mahigit kulang-kulang sa tatlong libo (3,000) ang bilang ng kandidato ang naglalaban-laban sa iba't-ibang position; municipal councilors, mayors, Bokal, Vice Governors, District representatives, Senatoriables at kung ang karamihan nito ay bibili ng CVL, 'di hamak na may daang milyon pisong maliwanag na RAKET, dagdag na kita ng mga personnel at opisyales ng Comelec, 'di pa kabilang ang kita sa xeroxing ng materials at dagdag-bawas o pagbebeta ng boto.

Doy Cinco / IPD
April 28, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Common Fraudulent Practices in Election, Philippine style

Pangkaraniwang pandarayang nagaganap sa panahon ng kampanya, bisperas ng Botohan, Bilangan hanggang Canvassing

Ang mga huling yugto ng kampanyahan o mga dalawang linggo bago ang botohan ang isa sa mapagpasyang yugto ng labanan sa kada election. Bukud sa lalala ang patayan at kaguluhan, magsisimula na ang garapalan, frontal offense at patagong klase ng dayaan, partikular ang paniniyak na istable na ang conmmand votes, pagneuneutralisa na mga command votes ng kalaban, negotiation sa Comelec's, gapangan sa "swing votes" at iba't-ibang mga pamamaraan ng “special at dirty tricks” operation ng mga kandidato laban sa kanilang mga kandidato.

Ang araw ng botohan at bilangan ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat ng yugto ng halalan. Dito kadalasa'y kinakapos ang mga kandidato, partikular sa nakalaang pondo at sa natitira pang enerhiya ng kandidato't makinarya. Sa kabuuan, "delivery at proteksyon ng boto ang siyang pangunahing aktibidad ng organisasyon at makinarya."

Ang larangan ng labanan sa yugtong ito ay kagyat na magbabago, mula sa propaganda't kampanyador, nasa mga presinto na ang pangunahing larangan ng labanan (battle ground); mapagpasya sa panahong ito ang mga grupong pangteritoryo, pampresinto at special operations. Sa kanila nakasalalay ang panalo o pagkatalo ng isang kandidato. Nakakunsentra ang vote delivery at proteksyon sa pinaka-epektibong daloy ng komunikasyon at organisadong kumand. Ang lahat ng ito’y nakatuon sa kung paano mapapangalagaan ang boto ng isang kandidato.

Ano ang mga litaw at kumon na pandarayang nagaganap sa panahon ng kampanya, bisperas ng Botohan, Bilangan hanggang Canvassing?

Kumon sa ngayon ang iba't-ibang uri ng vote buying na kadalasa'y pinangungunahan ng dominant political party, ang LAKAS at KAMPI (ilang oposisyon). Sila ang mga partidong may kakayahan at pinaghihinalaang may P1.8 bilyong pang-vote buying sa natitirang dalawang Linggo ng kampanyahan. Ito'y bahagi lamang sa mahigit kumulang na kabuuang P12.0 bilyong war chest-campaign funds ng "SUPER MACHINERY" ng Malakanyang para sawatain at all cost ang mga kaaway sa pulitika.

Mula sa pamimigay ng mobile phone cards ng kandidato (Ali Atienza-Manila), pamimigay ng salapi, lechon, balato, donasyon, incentives at pamimigay ng accident insurance benefits cards na nagkakahalaga ng P100,000.00 kada barangay watchmen at health workers at P10,000.00 pampalibing o burial benefits (Joe de Venecia, Chabit Singson at Pacquiao).

Ayon kay Mayor Benjie Lim ng Dagupan City, talamak na ang "vote-buying spree" sa Pangasinan. Gagawa ng lahat ng paraan upang ang kasalukuyang kinakabahang Speaker of the House at bosing ng LAKAS-Nucd ay manalo. May P30,000.00 kada barangay captain, P5,000.00 kada barangay kagawad at P1,000.00 kada empleado ng gubyerno at kagawad ng Board of Election Officer (BEI)-teacher at dalawang assistance. Walang dudang ipinatutupad ito sa halos lahat ng probinsya ng Pilipinas na may kontrol ang Lakas-Nucd.

Tahasang inamin ni Pacquiao na may mahigit 100,000 tao sa General Santos City, South Cotobato na ang nakatanggap at nabigyan ng policy sa insurance.

Laganap pa rin ang pamimigay ng Philhealth cards na pinauso ni Ate Glo nuong 2004 presidential election, pamimigay ng rewards money na nagkakahalaga ng P10,000.00 sa sinumang makakagawa na maisi-zero ang kalaban sa mga barangay (Sec Raul Gonzales) at pamimigay ng P1,000.00 sa mga campaign sorties bilang “anting-anting.”

Uso pa rin magpahanggang ngayon ang "pamimili't panunuhol ng malaking salapi (minimum P20,000.00 each) upang maineutralisa ang balwarte ng kalaban na 'wag ng bumoto o lumabas ng bahay sa araw ng election." Dahil sa isyu ng secrecy at high technology, inaabutan na lamang ng ATM cards ang mga tao.
Ginagamit din ang ATM na may laman (P10,000.00) pang shopping o grocery at kung sinuswerte, bakasyong grande free board and lodging sa Baguio, Boracay at minsan kung big time ang lider, angkan o isang asset na organisador, sa Hongkong o Singapore, bumaligtad lang o 'wag ng bomoto't makialam sa election.

Karaniwan ding sinusuhulan ang mga hard core na kaaway upang ineutrlisa at hindi na makaboto sa araw ng halalan. Ginagawa rin ang "maramihang kidnapping" (50 katao) sa bisperas ng halalan, dinadala sa isang beach resort, may babae, alak at pangsugal.

Sari-sari na ring special Ops ang litaw sa kasalukuyan. Nariyan ang panawagan, tagubiling ilaglag ang makulit na dalawang senatoriable candidates (Cong Allan Cayetano at Noynou Aquino) at may P200,000.00 rewards, pabuya sa sinumang LGUs na makakagawa nito. Ang posibleng junking ng ilang Team Unity, kapalit ng ilang kandidato, Gringo Honassan, Mika Defensor, Cesar Montano, Zubiri at Coco Pimentel.

Ayon sa nakasaad sa ating Omnibus Election Code, na ang mga kandidato ay mahigpit na pinagbabawalan ang magbigay ng anumang uri ng regalo, pabor o suhol kabilang ang pera dahil makakaimpluwensya ito sa desisyon ng botante sa kanyang pagboto. Kahit anupang palusot ng pulitiko, pagbali-baligtarin,
ang lahat ng ito'y maliwanag na VOTE BUYING, isang ILIGAL at pinagbabawal sa batas.

Ang problema, matagal na't may apat na dekada ng practice ito sa Phlippine election.
Parang tanggap na ng mga kababayang natin na bukud sa weak, lumpo, walang buto sa gulugud at bias ang Comelec, sa dinami-dami nitong pinasukang controbersyal, SCAM at "hello garci," zero credibility na ito sa mata ng mamamayan. Ang malinaw sa country, matagal ng nananawagan ang lahat na i-overhaul at tanggalin sa pwesto ang lahat ng nakaupong commissioner ng Comelec at ganap ng ireporma ang sistemang pulitika at election sa bansa.

Dayaan Bago at Bisperas ng Botohan

1. Paglalagay o Panunulsol
Pamimili ng boto
Pangakong trabaho, pautang at iba pang pabor
Binibili ang mga tauhan ng COMELEC, mga titser o BEI para huwag nang gawin ang trabaho

2. Pananakot
Pananakot sa botante ng partido
Pananakot sa pamilya ng kampanyador
Panggigipit sa ari-arian at kayamanan
Pagbabanta sa COMELEC (BEI) upang huwag gampanan ang kanilang trabaho

3. Panlilinlang
Paglalagay ng indelible ink sa botante kapalit ng pabuya o rigalo para hindin na sila makaboto
Paglilipat-lipat ng mga presinto ng mga botante ng partido sa lugar na malayo sa kanila / paggulo sa lokasyon ng presinto (clustering ng presinto)
Pagbabago sa numbering ng polling places para lituhin ang botante
Paggugulo sa transportasyon
Pagpapakalat ng intriga para matakot bumoto ang tao
Dis-impormasyon. Pagpapakalat ng maling inpormasyon (disqualification, withdrawal ng kandidato, etc)
Pag-marka ng balota para ma-invalidate ang election results
Pre-filled election forms
Maramihang pagkidnap sa mga botante para ‘di sila makaboto

4. Dayaan sa Panahon ng Botohan
Flying Voter at Paggamit sa pangalan ng ibang botante at pagboto sampu ng mga ito
Pagnanakaw, kumpiskasyon o pagpapalsipika ng voters affidavit
Pagpasok sa voting booth para impluwensyahan ang mga botante
LANZADERA; paggamit ng carbon paper at iba pang paniyak para sa mga “vote-buyer”
Pagdedelay sa pagdadala ng official ballots at iba pang gamit sa halalan patungong polling places para mainip at magsipag-uwian na lang ang mga botante
Paggulo sa voters list; location ng polling places o Pag-alis at paglipat lipat sa mga pangalan ng registered voters (disenfranchisement)
Election disturbances; pananakot, ballot snatching
Pagsama sa mga illiterate o disabled na botante at pagboto para sa kanila nang ‘di kinukunsulta ang mga ito

5. Ballot-snatching sa mga Lugar na malalakas ang kalaban
Paglalagay ng mga fake o “dinuktor” na balota sa election boxes kapag nag-brown out o nagkagulo na malamang na palabas din lang
Paglalagay o pananakot sa mga myembro ng BEI para impluwensyahan ang kanilang desisyon ukol
sa mga hamon at protestang isasampa sa panahon ng halalan
Pagnanakaw, pagpunit, pagbura o pagsira sa listahan ng mga botante na nakapaskel sa labas ng polling places para dismayahin ang mga botante sa pagboto
Pagdeliber ng official ballots na lampas sa awtorisadong bilang upang makapanduktor ng Boto
Mas maagang pamimigay ng balota o paglalagay ng indelible ink bago pa man ang tamang oras ng pagboto ng botante

Pandaraya sa Bilangan
Hindi pagbasa sa tunay na nakasulat
Sadyang pagmali ng bilang sa tally sheets o election return
Ballot snatching-pagkuha sa tunay na balota at pagpalit ng manufactured o mga dinuktor na balota
Pagsira, pagnanakaw o pagpapalit ng election returns pagkatapos ng bilangan
Harassment sa watchers, BEI, at COMELEC officials
Pagsama sa bilang ang mga excess at marked ballot
Election disturbances at harassment

Pandaraya sa Paglilipat ng Returns / Balota
Pagpalit ng manufactured returns kasama ng panunuhol o pananakot
Pagreport ng maling bilang sa midya para ma-distort ang aktwal na bilang at para ihanda ang publiko sa isang klase ng resulta o TRENDING

Pandaraya sa Canvassing
Pagpalit sa election returns na kopya ng isang myembro ng Board of Canvasser
Sadyang pagbasa sa maling returns
Sadyang pagrecord ng maling bilang
Sadyang pagmamali sa mga inilagay na bilang ng certificates of canvass
Pagmamali sa sumada ng mga boto
Pagbawas o pagdagdag sa bilang ng mga boto habang adjourned ang board of canvasser

Pinagsanggunian: Electoral Campaign Management Training (ECMT),
OCD-Institute for Popular Democracy, 2001

Doy Cinco / IPD
April 26, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Race in Pangasinan

Can JDV defend the Party Flag and his Post?

Patrick Patiño
Institute for Popular Democracy
April 23, 2007

Pangasinan is 'salt country' as its name denotes in the vernacular. And salty may aptly characterize the competition among political parties of the administration coalition in the May 14, 2007. It is also rough sailing in salty for Speaker Jose de Venecia, – both as the President of Lakas-CMD and as reelectionist representative of the 4th district of Pangasinan. The rough sailing may also shake the Team Unity campaign in the province, as JDV forecasts, “We will try...but I think we can make it.”

For an astute politician like JDV, who has not been able to move out from his niche in the House of Representatives since 1969, has every reason to doubt the 12-0 victory of Team Unity senatoriables in the province. One reason is that, the main political parties associated with the Arroyo administration are slugging against each other in the province. Second, de Venecia, unlike his previous campaigns, has his own battle to attend to in his congressional fortress. To preserve the Speaker position in the House of Representatives, JDV must make it sure that Lakas-CMD remains the dominant party in the administration coalition after the elections and must show a convincing win in his reelection bid in the fourth district of Pangasinan.

Defending the Party Flag

Pangasinan, the home province of Lakas founder and former President Fidel Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia, is classified as a free zone after the arbitration panel, which was composed of representatives from the six political groups comprising the administration coalition, failed to come up with common candidates, except in some areas.

The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats remains dominant among the administration political parties in Pangasinan with 24 candidates in the mayoralty race in the province's 48 cities and towns, compared to 19 and 15 candidates of Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) respectively. There were originally 31 incumbent Mayors identified with Lakas-CMD.

The Biskeg na Pangasinan (Strength of Pangasinan), another administration party based in Pangasinan, is supporting 30 mayoral candidates but has three mayoral candidates running solely under the party.

Mayoral candidates


Challenged by

Congressional Candidates





7-Kampi and 5 NPC






5-Lakas and 2 Kampi






2 - NPC










The administration coalition is split at the provincial level, with the NPC and Kampi on one side and Lakas-CMD on the other. The split emerged after the NPC and Kampi fielded Rep. Amado Espino Jr. as the official candidate for governor in the May 14 elections. Espino is pitted against two Lakas-CMD candidates – Dr. Jamie Agbayani and Vice-Governor Oscar Lambino. Jamie Agbayani is the wife of out-going Governor Victor Agbayani. Lambino, a former mayor of Malasiqui, is the provincial chair of Lakas-CMD, but this does not give him an edge over Agbayani and Espino Jr. because of the free-zone policy. The free-zone policy down to most of the municipalities and cities will also mean that mayoral candidates of Lakas, Kampi and NPC could cross bridges among the major gubernatorial candidates. Meaning Lambino and even JDV doesn't have direct command to the disposition of local candidates with regards the gubernatorial race – mainly between Agbayani and Espino Jr.

Former Sto. Tomas Mayor Tomas 'kuyang' Villar, the Chairman of the Biskeg na Pangasinan, and the powerful Iglesia ni Kristo have crucial influence in tilting the balance of strength among competing candidates. To probe his leadership strength and loyalty to GMA in the 2004 elections, the Sto. Tomas votes in the presidential elections, had 5,470 in favor of GMA against zero to all the other presidentiables. The wife of 'kuyang' is the reelectionist mayor of the town.

Indicators show that a classic showdown among allies is afoot in the congressional race, except the fourth district of de Venecia and in other two districts where Representatives Mark Cojuangco (NPC) of fifth district and Conrado Estrella III (NPC) of sixth district are running for reelectionist unopposed.

In the first district, third-termer Representative Arthur Celeste (Kampi) is challenged by another Arroyo ally, former Southern Command chief Lt. Gen. Alberto Braganza (Lakas). Celeste was a Lakas stalwart since 2001 until he switched to Kampi late last year, when Braganza got the support of JDV and Ramos for his candidacy. Braganza, poses a strong fight against Celeste, with the support of his nephew reelectionist Mayor Hernani Braganza of Alaminos City (having the largest voting population in the district) and Malacanang by being a former senior aide of President Arroyo. On the other hand, the political base of Celeste is Bolinao and local officials in the other municipalities and barangay benefitting from his alleged control of the jueteng network in the district. Most reelectionist municipal mayors in the district joined Celeste affiliating with Kampi.

The post in the second district, vacated by Rep. Amado Espino, who is gunning the gubernatorial seat, is contested by Gov. Victor Agbayani (Lakas-CMD); Kim Lokin (NPC) and Jose Bengzon III (Kampi). The Agbayani clan is deeply rooted in the district which, serves as main political base in provincial politics. Jose Bengzon III is the son of former Rep. Antonio Bengzon.

Expect a highly competitive race in the third district. Third and last-termer Representative Generoso Tulagan fielded his son Generoso Tulagan Jr. (Kampi) against Rachel Arenas (Lakas), Gallant Soriano (PDSP) and Leocadio de Vera (NPC). It will be a battle of vote-rich areas between San Carlos City (where Tulagan Jr. and Soriano hail) and Bayambang (de Vera). Tulagan will have an edge in San Carlos if the Resuellos throw their hat on him. De Vera, the out-going Mayor of Bayambang with his brother Gerardo de Vera (Kampi) seeking for his seat, will be the first candidate from the municipality to pose a strong challenge to San Carlos City that have controlled the legislative seat for more than a decade.

In February, the panel of arbitrators rejected the proposal of former President Ramos for the coalition to anoint Arenas as its common congressional candidate. Arenas, the daughter of socialite Baby Arenas, a long-time Ramos friend, is said to be showing a strong fight since she started her capital-intensive campaign mid-last year. The young Gallant Soriano, whose father is making a mayoral comeback in San Carlos City, is expected to break the jinx of his grandfather, father and uncle's loses in the past congressional races.

The General is Besieged

JDV, the President of Lakas-CMD is challenged in the homefront. For the first time in the last decade, the district post of the Speaker is contended by two-termer Mayor Benjamin Lim (PDP-Laban) of Dagupan City. Lim is the Lakas-CMD stalwart in the city until 2005 when he joined the call for GMA's resignation. The contest between JDV and Lim has all the signs of an uneven match, but the Speaker is leaving nothing to chance. Why? Because, the defeat of JDV in the district elections is an automatic lose of the Speakership and potential weakening of the Party stewardship. More importantly, it is a lose of building his strategic political agenda – to revise the Constitution and becoming Prime Minister.

In 1998, Lim won the congressional seat of district 4 when JDV vacated it to run for the national presidential race. Lim defeated Tessie de Venecia (JDV's sister and Chief of Staff). There was a near- skirmish between Lim and JDV in 2001 when the Speaker returned to the district to regain the congressional seat being occupied by Lim. Lim did not budge in the beginning, but in the end, was prevailed by Ramos not to seek reelection and run for Mayor of Dagupan City.

The key if not the decisive factor that will decide the JDV-Lim race will be Dagupan City. Against Tessie de Venecia, Lim won only in Dagupan City. But his lead here of about 15,000 votes was more than enough to offset the lead then that Tessie got in Mangaldan, Manaoag, San Jacinto and San Fabian. It is estimated that in the coming elections, Dagupan voters comprised 40% of the total voters in the district.

Lim has consolidated his political and electoral base in Dagupan by being city mayor since 2001 and may reenact how the city voters brought him to Congress in 1998. But it might not be as simple as that since Immigration Commissioner and former Mayor Alipio Fernandez is making a comeback in the city post against Lim's son, Brian. Fernandez, who was then mayor of the city in 1998, was key supporter of Lim's congressional bid. But between Lim and JDV, Fernandez will throw his hat with the latter.

The exchanges between the two camps of charges of vote-buying and dole-outs; the proliferation of campaign materials; and Lim's mass work at the grassroots levels in Dagupan City and in the towns of Manaoag, San Jacinto, Mangaldan and San Fabian against JDV's loyal leaders and followers among municipal and barangay officials, certainly show a fight to the finish.

Except in Dagupan City, the reelectionist Mayors in the District are all identified with JDV but expect that opposition candidates will align with Lim, including the challenger-mayoral candidate of Kampi in San Fabian.

Being an experienced political negotiator, JDV has the advantage of gathering support from key influentials in the district like the Manaois, Perez, Maramba, and Fernandez. On the other hand, Lim will try to expand his support base from religious, civic and business networks involved in the national campaigns the past three years. Lim has been identified as the silent supporter of FPJ in the 2004 elections; was among the incumbent political leaders to ask for GMA's resignation; and actively involved in the anti-cha cha/con ass campaign in Pangasinan last year.

Team Unity versus Genuine Opposition

In an interview with regards his assessment of a 12-0 Team Unity win in Pangasinan, de Venecia said, “There are no opposition candidates here in Pangasinan. Almost all our local candidates here come from the administration. So how can they (Genuine Opposition) win.” Such comments is usual of de Venecia when he opens his mouth to the media.

At the ground level, there are mayoral candidates from Aksyon Demokratiko, Liberal Party and PDP-Laban. These candidates might be relatively weak against the mostly re-electionist candidates identified with Lakas-CMD, NPC and Kampi, but surely the challengers will carry the torch of the Genuine Opposition as their electoral capital.

And there are 19 cities and municipalities where candidates from Lakas-CMD, NPC and Kampi are getting at each others throat. It would be unlikely for competing mayoral candidates having a straight Team Unity ticket as this would not give added-value for their own vote gathering-delivery campaign.

In the 2004 senatorial race in Pangasinan, the opposition grouping KNP or Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino won 7 candidates against 5 from the administration coalition K4 or Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan. Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a reelectionist this election, was third-placer in the province's 2004 presidential race. The late Fernando Poe Jr. won over GMA in the province. The Pangasinense voting behaviour with regards the national elections shows majority support to the ticket of a national candidate identified with the province. This was manifested in 1992 when Ramos run for the presidency, in 1995 under the Ramos administration, in 1998 when JDV run for President, and in 2004 with FPJ.###

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Kung napalaya si Gringo, palayain na rin si Trillanes at Beltran

Walang dahil upang bulukin sa bilanguan si Trillanes at Beltran. Sa simpleng diskurso, kung tunay ngang may demokrasya ang bansa, dapat maging PATAS ang batas o dapat equal ang aplikasyon ng batas sa sinuman, mayaman man ito o mahirap, may koneksyon man o wala, may deal man ito o wala.

Magkaparehong nabibinbin sa bilangguan at kandidato sa Senatoriable at Party List election si Trillanes at Beltran. Kung palalayain (dudang hindi bibigay si siRaulo ng DOJ) ang dalawa, walang dudang gaganda ang imahe ng administrasyon at panigurong isa sa pandagdag na boto ito para sa kanyang manok na TEAM UNITY.

Tignan ang LINK: "Beltran, Trillanes eye freedom via bail"
Doy Cinco/IPD
April 22, 2007


Ilang beses na, ilang taon paulit-ulit na sinasabi “tatapusin na ang laban sa Abu Sayaff (ASG),” durog na ang ASG, wifeout na ASG, nagkawatak-watak na, bilang na ang mga araw ng Abu Sayyaf, pero eto na naman sila, ang daming aliby, ang daming excuse at paduding. Ang duda ng marami, may colisyon ba, may conivance ba, may conspiracy ba ang AFP, CIA at Abu Sayyaf?

Patay na ang mga astig na leader ng ASG, mula kay Abu Sabaya at si Khadaffi Janjalani, maging ang kinasusuklamang Copmmander Robot at si Mujib ay napaslang na rin. Idagdag pa ang palagiang ulat ng AFP na "marami (ilang daan) na ang nalalagas, napapatay na miembro ng ASG sa mga enkwentro." Idagdag pa ang presensya at suporta ng American troops sa lugar. Ang tanong, bakit nanatiling buhay at kumikikig ang ASG? Kung ating papansinin, one sided ang mga lumalabas na ulat mula sa mass media. May censorship, kontrolado't pawang galing sa AFP ang mga balita galing sa "gera." Kung sasakyan natin ang dami ng bilang na napapatay na ASG at kung totoo nga ang mga blita, ayon sa AFP, ubus na dapat ang ASG.

Ngayon, headline sa mga pahayagan ang karumal-dumal na pamumugot ng ulo ng ilang construction workers na nagtatrabaho sa isang infra projects ng kasalukuyang Governor ng Jolo at kaduda-dudang ibinagsak malapit lamang sa isang detachment ng militar. Ang nakakatawa, sa dinami-dami ng tropang militar sa lugar, nagagawang malusutan ng ASG ang mga ito? Hindi pa msiyahan, pinaputuk ang isyu kay Commander Malik, isang renegade commander ng MNLF, sa ilalim ng dating pamunuan ni Nur Misuari na tumatakbo ngayon sa pagka-gobernador ng Jolo. Hindi mauubusan ng palusot, hindi maubusan ng alibi?

Kung ating babalikan ang mga samut-saring kwento't maikling kasaysayan ng ASG. Taong 2000, buwan ng Marso: sa udyok ng militaristang Heneral, ipinag-utos ng dating presidenteng si Erap Estrada ang isang malawakan at malakihang military offensive laban sa MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), isang “state of siege, recruitment of paramiltary troops, complete closing of roads, banks closed, no flights in certain areas, arbitrary arrests ang isinagawa. Ilang buwan mataapos ang operation (January, 2001), napatalsik sa poder si Erap Estrada.

Buwan ng Setyembre, 2000: matapos ang Sipadan hostage crisis, idiniklara ng AFP at ang Central Mindanao Command ang isang “TOTAL WAR” laban sa MILF upang iterrorized ang mga civilians sa paligid ng lunsod ng Jolo. Layon nitong paunlarin ang strike power ng binuong Counter-Terrorist Force (CTF) laban sa hostage-taking at kidnapping. Pinondohan ng Washington sa anyo ng “foreign aid” ang CTF at ang military command na binubuo ng dalawang companies ng AFP na sinanay sa counter insurgency expert ng tropang Amerikano. Kung saka-sakaling mangailangan ng tulong, susuportahan ng Marines ang dalwang companies na nabuo.

Nobyembre, 2001: Sa ilalim ng bilateral “Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA),” dinagdagang ang pwersa , presence at pagkilos ng lahat ng miembro ng FBI, CIA, at American GI's na nasa Pilipinas.

Enero, 2002: ganap na nagsimula ang maniubrang militar ng tropang Amerikano sa Pilipinas. May 600 tropang Kano at 4,000 tropang APF ang nagsagwa ng malakihang opensiba laban sa wala pang dalawang daang tropa ng ASG sa Zamboanga.

Pebrero, 2002: Dumating sa Basilan ang mahigit 30 elite American troops. Ito'y sinundan ng mahigit 150 tropang Amerikano sa isla na ang tungkulin at sanayin sa laban kontra terorismo sa jungle ang tropang APF sa lugar.

Abril 2002: Tatlong bomba ang pinsabog sa pampublikong lugar sa lunsod ng General Santos, labing lima (15) ang namatay at mahigit pitumpo (70) ang sugtan.

Agosto 2002: isang grupo ng mga Jehovah's witness Christian sect na nagbabahay-bahay ang kinidnap ng pinagsusutpetsahang rebeldeng Muslim sa Jolo. Isa pang grupo ng tatlong kalalakihan at limang kababaihan na nagtatrbaho sa isang cosmetic company ang dinukut sa byan ng Patikul.

Pebrero 2004, tatlong buwan bago ang 2004 presidential, national election: Isang grupo ang umamin na nagtanim ng bomba sa isang barko na nasunog sa kalagitnaan ng Manila Bay. Mahigit isang daan (100) ang namatay na binansaganag isa sa pinakagrabeng teroristang atake sa Pilipinas.

Disyembre 2004: isang malakas na bomba ang sumabog na kinamatay ng labing-apat (14) na katao at 70 sugatan nuong Disyembre 12 sa General Santos, isang maunlad at predominantly Christian city na may kabuuang populasyon na 500,000.

Pebrero 2005 (Valentine's Day): tatlong (3) magkakasunod na bomba ang yumanig sa bansa. Ala 6:30 ng gabi sa General Santos, ala 7:00 ng gabi sa Davao at alas 8:00 ng gabi sa Makati. 12 ang ang namatay at mahigit 140 ang sugatan na inamin agad ng lider ng grupong Abu Sayaff na si Abu Solaiman.

Lubhang kailangan ng Malakanyang ang operasyong militar sa Mindanao, sapagkat kung mawawala ang gera, para na ring sinabing patay at inutil ang military, maliban pa sa mawawala ang mga dilhensya at pangungurakot.

Alam ng mga taga-Southern Philippines na PERAHAN, palabas at zarzuela lamang ang labanan sa Jolo at Mindanao. Yung nga lang $5.0 milyung (P250.0 milyon) bounty ng mga Amerikano sa pagkakapatay kay Janjalani, (maliban sa milyung dolyar na halagang iiwang armamento ng US Army sa AFP) ay parang mga gutum na asong nagkumahog na agad ang pamunuan ng militar kung paano pagpaparti- partihan ang kwarta. Kung may pera sa basura, the same manner na may pera rin sa GERA.

Ayon sa ilang civil societies na nakausap ko sa Zamboanga, maliban sa isyu ng sabwatan at koneksyon,“simple lamang ang lohikang ng gera sa Mindanao at ang laban “global war on terrorism” ng Estados Unidos na bulag na sinusuportahan ng AFP, kung walang “gera, walang pera, kung walang proyekto na inilulunsad laban sa ating mga kapatid na Moro, walang happening. Ang Estados Unidos nga, sa kabila ng may pinaka-abanteng kasangkapang pandigma ay di matalo-talo, 'di maneutralisa, masugpo ang insureksyon sa Iraq at Al Qaeda ( pinagdududahan din ng mundo ang ugnayang Al Qaeda at CIA), sa Pilipinas pa?”

Ang koneksyon ng CIA

Si Senator Nene Pimentel ang unang naghayag na may posibleng may koneksyon ang ASG-CIA at AFP. Kumakalat din ang ilang inpormasyon nagmumula mismo sa ilang sources (kababayan) at sa mga umiikot na mga babasahin nakakalap sa internet na “ang ASG ay itinatag, creation ng CIA at ilang piling matataas na opisyal sa military nuong kapanahunan ng administrasyong President Fidel Ramos.

Isang US covert operation na posibleng konektado sa CIA ang nagbibigay suporta sa anyo ng salapi at armas sa ASG. Pinaghilaang isang principal courier mula sa sugo ni Usama Bin Laden ang regular na nagbibigay ng pondo at armas sa ASG. Isang coleague ni Bin Laden na si Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, isa sa mga na-implicate na nagpasabog ng bomba sa World Trade Center ang isa sa binanggit na kahilingan ng ASG na palayain ng mga Amerikano kapalit ng pagpapalaya ng mga turistang hostage sa Sipadan.

Ayon sa ilang awtoridad ng gubyerno, matapos ang 9/11, pinuntirya ng gubyerno ang Internationl Islamic Relief Operation (IIRO), at isang NGO na sumusuporta sa IIRO, nagsagawa ng humanitarian aid sa Mindanao at pinatatakbo ni Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, isang brother in law ni Bin Laden ang isa sa pangunahing nagfi-finance sa ASG. Ang mgTraining Program na nadaluhan ng ilang ASG members na ginawa nito sa Mindanao ay pinondohn ng IIRO. Alam, kilala at tinanggap ng gubyerno na si Khalifa ay nanirahan ng matagal sa Mindanao nuong 1996 at magmula nun, biglang nawala at nagtago.

Ayon sa ilang matataas na opisyal sa AFP, may reliable na inpormasyon na binigyan ng military intelligence services ID, safe-houses, safe conduct passes, firearms, cell phone at iba't-ibang uri ng suportang pinansyal ang ASG partisans. Paano ba naman madudurog, mawa-wipeout, mahuhuli ang ilang matataas na opisyal ang ASG kung kinakalinga't itinatago lamang ito ng sikretong grupo sa AFP?

Matapos ang local election nuong 1995, inamin sa publiko ni Edwin Angeles, (dating ASG sa Basilan) na responsible nga ang ASG sa isang raid at panununog sa munisipyo ng IPIL, Zamboanga in early 1995. Dagdag pa niya, naging succesful ang RAID dahil sa provision ng military vehicles, mortars at mga assorted na armas na ginamit nito mula sa military.

Ayon sa ilang INFORMERS, nagsilbing mga “assets” ng AFP ang ASG laban sa iba pang Muslim insurgents sa Mindanao (MILF, MNLF at NPA). Sa book na “Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao ni Marites Vitug at Glenda Gloria, “hawak” at least ng tatlong military at police officers (isang dating commanding general ng Marines na si Brig. Gen Guillermo Ruiz (retired), Chief Supt.Leandro Mendoza (kasalukuyang Sec DOTC) at Chief Supt. Rodolfo Mendoza ang ASG partisans.

Bukud sa hawak at asset, kinakalinga, sinasanay, pinoprotektahan, binibigyan ng military equipment at pondo rin ito ng CIA, ilang support network at posibleng mula sa intelligence fund ng AFP. Istratehiyang devide and rule tactics ang gamit na paraan laban sa Muslim insurgency sa Mindanao.

Tulad ng Comelec, napakababa ang kredibilidad ng AFP, 'di lang sa isyu ng political killings, maging sa isyu ng pangungurakot at upang mabura ang ganitong perception, kailangang patunayan ng AFP ang open secret na alegasyong siya ang nag-organized, kumakalinga't “may sabwatan” ito sa ASG?

Doy Cinco / IPD
April 22, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Stop the War in Mindanao

by Stop the War Coalition-Philippines 2007-04-19 6:30 PM +0800
Proof of MNLF coddling JI and ASG must be presented; US Troops Out

As hostilities between the Philippine military and the Moro National
Liberation front escalate in Mindanao, we from the Stop the War
Coalition - Philippines, a broad coalition of social movements,
NGOs, and other organizations, join the call for an immediate
ceasefire, a return to the negotiating table, and full, substantive,
and meaningful self-determination for the Moros, indigenous, and
other oppressed peoples in Mindanao.

We demand convincing and unequivocal proof behind the government's
reason for its military offensive – i.e. that the Moro National
Liberation Front is coddling 'terrorists.' We reject the manipulative
use of the threat of 'terrorism' against the Moro people and we
reject military solutions to address the said threat.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the US troops who have been
permanently stationed in Mindanao since 2002 and we demand that they
play absolutely no role whatsoever – whether in providing
intelligence or assisting in operations – in the ongoing conflict.

We call for justice for all those who have been killed, tortured, or
detained and we demand accountability and punishment for all

We demand relief and rehabilitation for all those who have been
displaced by the war, protection for all civilians, and compensation
for all those who have been affected.

We call on the media to report on the war fairly and accurately. We
demand that journalists refrain from being the mouthpiece of the
military and we demand that they should have the courage to challenge
and verify the military's claims.

We call for the full implementation of the peace agreements and we
call for the expulsion of hawks in the military and in the government
who have been working to undermine it. We demand the immediate
release of Nur Misuari who has been illegally detained for five years
without any trial.

We stand in solidarity with all those who stand for lasting peace and
genuine self-determination.

Stop the War Coalition-Philippines

17 April 2007


Alliance of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO) / AKBAYAN!
Akbayan! Youth / Alab Katipunan
Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) / ALMANA
ALYANSA! Anak Mindanao Party (AMIN)
ASSALAM Bangsamoro / ASSALAM Party
Bagong Kamalayan Collective, Inc / Bangsamoro People's Solidarity
Billah Islam / BISIG-Youth
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) / Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Asia
Pacific (CATW-AP)
Filipino Democratic Movement (FilDem) / Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) / Gathering for Peace
Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD) / International South Group Network (ISGN)
Juan Makata / Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission – Association of
Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines K! / Kalayaan NCR-BLC
KAAKBAY / AFDM Kagan People's Forum – Mindanao
KANLUNGAN Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya
KOMPAK / Laban ng Masa (LnM)
League of Urban Poor for Action / Liga Manggagawa
MAKABAYAN Pilipinas Movement for Student Power (MASP)
PANGISDA / Partido Manggagawa
People's Task Force for Bases Clean UP Philippines
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Philippine Peace and Security Council Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas
PKSK / Progressive Organization of Worker Advocates (PRO-WORKER)
Resource Center for People's Development (RCPD)
Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK) / SANLAKAS
Solidarity of Unions and Labor Organizations for a New Government (SULONG)
Task Force Subic Rape / Teatrong Bayan
Women and Gender Commission AMRSP / Women and Gender Institute
Women's Legal Bureau, Inc / YES to Change!
Young Moro Professionals Network / Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND)

ENDORSED BY (as of 18 April 2007):
Asian Women Human Rights Council- Philippines / Balay Rehabilitation Center
CONZARRD Inc. / GZO Peace Institute
Jihad-al-Akbar Org
Lolas Kampanyera / Comfort Women Survivors Group Mindanao Solidarity Network
Wedpro Inc. Xaverian Missionaries

Fr. Archie Casey SX
Lennard Daoud P Tan
Sheila May Tan

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jueteng, wives, showbiz and the 2007 elections

Special to

What is the connection between jueteng, wives and showbiz in our elections? They are symptoms of the terminal sickness of our electoral system, one money politics, next, political dynasties, the last, actually all three, the bankruptcy of our political parties.

Midway into the campaign, it looks like "elections as usual." Political clans dominate local races. In some cases, as in Negros Oriental, the clan is so dominant relatives end up competing with each other. Political parties are even weaker than in past elections as politicians in the administration camp scramble to find the best deals and jump from one party to another. The President and her political operatives are the most powerful players, using the government machinery and money from a variety of sources to secure the victory of their candidates. The administration has prepared well for this election. The new national budget has billions of pesos in intelligence and other funds that can be used for the campaign. The opposition is having difficulty getting local candidates and raising funds.

The fact that Ronnie Puno is reportedly overall coordinator says a lot about administration strategy. Puno has a reputation as an accomplished election operator, playing key roles in the election of several presidents going back to Estrada. From his position as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Puno laid the groundwork for his operations by removing several elected local chief executives and moving police officers about several months ago. Although Puno did not always succeed, witness Makati's Jojo Binay, and several mayors and governors complained about the police reshuffle, Puno has already established what we might call a balance of terror. Puno also laid the financial and organizational groundwork for Kampi pirating of Lakas people. The medical problems of Mike Arroyo may complicate matters because he reportedly holds the key to the cash box.

At the COMELEC, Abalos continues as chair, making patently partisan statements and decisions. The COMELEC decision on the Cayetano issue, and the party list nominees controversy are very fishy. New commissioners sometimes can overrule Abalos, but thats only when decisions are put before the commission. Cheating operations are often outside of the commission's reach. Questionable decisions on the printing of election forms has raised suspicions that past cheating operations using deliberately overprinted forms might be in the works. Former Defense Secretary Nonong Cruz tried to prevent the kind of military intervention exposed in the Garci tapes. One of the first things retired police general Ebdane did when he replaced Cruz was to reverse Cruz's decisions. Esperon, another general exposed in the Garci tapes, is now chief of staff of the AFP, even better placed than in 2004 to assist his benefactor, Arroyo.

Is the result of the election a foregone conclusion? Because there is no presidential election, the government will remain in power no matter what happens. Because all the races are local except for the Senate and party list races, mostly local issues will be determinant. What cannot yet be determined is how the President's persistent unpopularity will affect election results. An April 2007 SWS survey shows distinct voter preference for opposition candidates at all levels, but with gaps small enough to be covered by machinery and cheating in local elections. Another, possibly more important development is the intensifying competition between Lakas and Kampi, two pro-administration parties. Whether or not a lame duck president can keep both warring political parties within her camp will determine a lot of what happens in the next three years.

Senate race

The closest thing to a referendum on the Arroyo administration is the race to fill 12 slots in the Senate. This is not just because it is the only direct administration-opposition face-off. It is also because many of the key fights in the past year and a half – election fraud investigations, Proc.1017, EO 464 - were between the president and the Senate. With only four of the remaining 12 (Enrile, Santiago, Lapid, Revilla) senators consistently in the administration side, and eight (Roxas, Pimentel, Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, Gordon, Madrigal, Biazon and Magsaysay) taking opposition stances, an eight-four opposition victory in the coming election would provide the 2/3 vote necessary to convict in an impeachment trial. Even five GO seats, a foregone conclusion, will maintain an opposition majority.

The administration would have to cheat massively to get more than three, maximum four seats. Genuine Opposition (GO) candidates, Legarda, Lacson, Pangilinan, Villar, Escudero and Cayetano have consistently topped the voter preference surveys. The remaining six seats are being contested by three GO (Aquino, Osmena, Pimentel) candidates, five administration (Recto, Angara, Arroyo, Sotto, Defensor) and one independent (Honasan). Of the administration candidates within striking distance, only Mike Defensor has been consistently pro-administration. Re-electionist senators Recto, Arroyo and Angara have taken anti-administration stances in the past year. Honasan is in jail for supposedly plotting a coup against the Arroyo regime; Sotto was with the Fernando Poe, Jr. camp in the 2004 election.

If you look carefully at this list of front runners, 11 out of 15 are either incumbent or past senators; the four younger candidates are all current or past (Defensor) members of the lower house. They are not too different in political backgrounds or records. The only thing that distinguishes them from each other is that most of them, including candidates on the administration slate, have taken anti-administration stances in the past year and a half. It is in this race that anti-Arroyo public opinion is being expressed. Administration people understand this. It is the reason why more prominent possible candidates, for example, in the Cabinet, refused to run. As a result, the administration had to recruit recycled opposition people such as Sotto and Oreta-Aquino and marginal nuisance candidates such as Kiram, Singson, Magsaysay and Pichay. Neither the administration's showbiz candidate, Montano nor independent Richard Gomez look like serious contenders.

The campaign, thus far, has been lackluster. People do not have handles, issues from which to make choices. The administration slate clearly has more resources, though in the past few weeks, administration candidates Kiram and Montano have complained about not getting money promised to them. While media reports focus on campaign sorties in the provinces, the more important "race" is on TV. The administration candidates might have a slight edge here, but this "air war" is clearly being fought by individual candidates not whole slates. The administration says that their superior local machinery will overcome voter preferences shown in surveys. In practice, local political clans are making deals that cut across the two slates. Local officials, for example, in ARMM provinces, will matter to the administration slate only if they can arrange cheating.

Coffeeshop scuttlebutt and more and more open accusations show that administration operators are concentrating on the Senate and party list races. Although victory in the Senate race is measured in the millions, approximately 15 million for top slots, the 8th to the 15th slots will be determined in the hundreds of thousands. This is where syndicates of current and retired COMELEC officials play a role, selling votes, doing "dagdag" (add), "bawas" (subtract) operations. This can be done by pre-stuffing ballot boxes, and/or doctoring result lists at the precinct, municipal and provincial levels in a very sophisticated, highly developed 'market'. Although the Palace and the COMELEC deny that these operations are in place, all politicians, especially senatorial candidates and their campaign staff take this into consideration.

Party list operations by Palace operatives are more extensive in this election. A large number, at least 12 according to Akbayan which first made this an issue, were created, financed and organized by Palace operatives and by other government agencies including the AFP and the National Security Adviser. The reason the COMELEC is not providing the list of nominees is that many of them are reportedly incumbent government officials. By keeping them secret, if they win they will resign, but if not they will remain in place whereas by law they should resign once they file. The first and second nominees of APOI (Akbay Pinoy OFW-National, Inc.) are allegedly Interior and Local Government undersecretary Melchor Rosales and National Capital Region director Rodolfo Feraren, respectively.

The most active is the Malacañang Office of External Affairs which was created as a reward to former Leftist operatives who successfully helped in Arroyo's election in 2004. Among those reported in the media are Assistant Secretary Marcelo Fariñas II of the Office of External Affairs who was instrumental in the formation of Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano, Inc. Office of External Affairs operations reportedly extend to arranging the accreditation of party-list groups. The accreditation of the ARC (Alliance of Rural Concerns) was reportedly arranged only after its organizers agreed to make Archie Santiago (son of Sen. Miriam Santiago) their number one nominee. Local politicians who started the subversion of the party list system in 2004, have extended their operations. The second nominee of KALAHI, allegedly representing OFWs, is Atty. Karlo B. Nograles, son and Chief of Staff of House Majority Leader Prospero C. Nograles, who is also related by marriage to Congressman Vincent Garcia (2nd District, Davao City), Congressman Antonio R. Floirendo (Davao del Norte) and Cabinet member Rodolfo del Rosario.

The reason for these operations is, of course, the possibility of a third impeachment attempt. Palace operatives are worried enough that they've made a major effort to get their people elected to party list seats. In an effort to hide this bastardization of the party-list system, the COMELEC has taken the ridiculous position that nominee lists are supposed to be kept secret. There are also operations to prevent the election of opposition party list organizations. The military has worked assiduously against national democratic party list groups, using extra judicial killings and harassment of the rural and urban poor base. If the government succeeds in getting the COMELEC to agree to disqualify the national democratic party list groups Bayan Muna, Anak Pawis, and Gabriela that will remove at least six party list seats which have, so far, been with the opposition.

Congressional races

Congressional races provide the bridge between "national" and "local." The contests for congressional seats at local districts are being watched carefully because these will determine whether the opposition can get the (roughly) 81 votes constituting one third of the 242 district and party list seats (assuming 24 seats will be allocated). It's going to be difficult. More than half of the races are "no contest". Incumbents or dominant local clans control as many as 133 out of 219 districts, of which only 25 are opposition. There are another 32 contests where opposition candidates have even chances of winning. The other contests are between parties of the administration, most importantly Lakas and Kampi. It is difficult, at this point, to determine whether there will be enough opposition votes for impeachment.

The problem is the nature of political contests at the district level. Local political clans build up their power bases at the municipal level, possibly at the provincial level, but invariably target district congressional seats. It is through these seats that local clans "fetch" resources from the central government through 'pork barrel' and other 'congressional insertions' in departmental budgets. Contracts, franchises, protection rackets and other money-making deals are negotiated by congress people. Only the most powerful governors such as Bohol's Aumentado and city mayors such as Quezon City's Belmonte can negotiate directly with Malacanang. Since the sustainability of local political machines are dependent on access to central government resources, almost all of which is controlled by the President, only local politicians who have no choice, have access to other resources, or the few who vote according to their principles, dare to go against the President.

Political clans are clearly dominant in congressional and other races. Although comparative data still needs to be gathered, there are a number of indicative figures. Even if you exclude women who clearly are in power for themselves, among congressional candidates there are 42 wives, daughters and mothers of incumbent or immediate past male members of the House running. Examples of interlinked clan control of mayorships, gubernatorial and district positions can be found all over the country. The most dramatic is the case of third term Basilan Governor Wahab Akbar who is running for the House, whose first wife Jum is running for his old position. Akbar’s second wife, Nur-in, is running for mayor of Lamitan City. Akbar’s third wife, Cherry Lyn Santos, is running for mayor of the capital city of Isabela. His two nephews, Waluso Mayor Sakib Salajin and Lantawan Mayor Tahira Ismail are running for re-election. Basilan has eight municipalities, including a new town named Akbar, that was carved out from the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Tuburan.

Because Philippine elections have become so expensive, illegal sources of cash are at a premium. In two large provinces near Manila, Pampanga and Batangas, jueteng is a key issue. Lilia Pineda, wife of reputed jueteng lord Bong Pineda, is running against incumbent governor Lapid, who has himself been accused of skimming proceeds from lahar quarrying. Pineda, not incidentally has long been reported to be a principal financier for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In Batangas, incumbent governor Sanchez is reportedly a major jueteng lord. Further south, in Camarines Sur, Congressman Luis Villafuerte is publicly feuding with son, Luis Jr., incumbent governor. Luis Jr. is rumored to have wanted jueteng cut back, but Luis Sr. insisted that expensive elections require handy sources of liquidity.

Arroyo has paid careful attention to the needs of local governments and the clans who control them. In contrast to Ramos and Estrada who held back Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) payments, Arroyo has consistently delivered. She is the first president, however, who has been so obviously partisan in the disbursement of pork barrel. Starting in 2005 when the Garci scandal broke, opposition members of the House have not received their pork barrel allotments. At key points in the impeachment and Cha-cha struggles, only pro-administration congress people would receive disbursement documents. Key congressmen would get additional funds from various government sources. Arroyo support for Cha-cha initiatives was directed not just at the Speaker but also local government officials chafing under narrow term limits.

There are two imponderables in this election, one is the Lakas-Kampi competition. Lakas says it is fielding 10,000 candidates in 17,000 local positions up for grabs, including 141 for representative, 61 for governor, 53 for vice-governor, 76 for city mayor and 972 for municipal mayor. The Kampi target is also 10,000 candidates, 121 for the House, and 38 in gubernatorial races, the rest in other local races. The GO coalition led by the United Opposition party is fielding at least 151 congressional candidates. The only chance pro-impeachment forces have is if the Kampi wins enough seats to challenge De Venecia (assuming he wins) for the speakership, and loyal Lakas congressmen get angry enough to shift to the opposition. The administration, of course, is aware of this, so it will try to control Kampi.

Another interesting development, one that may not result in victories in May, but could have repercussions for the future, is the entry of non-politician middle class candidates. The political intent is clear in the choice of races; the target is the unpopular Arroyo. In the first district of Camarines Sur, presidential son, Dato Arroyo is being challenged by Sabas Mabulo, a former mayor and NGO worker. Another Arroyo son, Mikey, thought he would run unopposed for re-election in his Pampanga district, instead he faces a prominent medical doctor, Joey Montemayor. Fr.Ed Panlilio, a parish priest, has generated a lot of excitement in his run for the Pampanga governorship. Fr. Panlilio says he is running because a choice between Lapid, a movie actor like his father and the wife of a reputed jueteng lord is no choice at all. These challenges have put scores of middle class people into political motion, hopefully, into the future.

What is the connection between jueteng, wives and showbiz in our elections? They are symptoms of the terminal sickness of our electoral system, one money politics, next, political dynasties, the last, actually all three, the bankruptcy of our political parties. Public opinion is clearly against these trends. Surveys show this, even indicating opposition support for opposition and independent candidates. Because there is no election for president, local issues will diffuse the polarization of opinion against the administration. But we should never underestimate the capacity of this administration to botch things up. If cheating occurs on a massive scale, the diffused political situation will repolarize with dangerous concequences.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"Market votes" at "Machinery for vote protection"

Nasa homestrech na ang labanan sa Senatoriable election campaign at mukhang mahirap ng baligtarin o magkaroon pa ng matinding pagbabago sa kalamangang tinatamasa ng oposisyon. Kung istratehiya't taktika ang pag-uusapan, dalawa ang maaring pagdiinan ng partido at mga operador ng senatoriable candidates lalo na ang oposisyon sa natitirang 3 linggo ng kampanyahan bago ang botohan at magbilangan sa 14 ng Mayo.

, tuloy pa rin ang "propaganda war" at mensahe na siyang bubuo ng malaking bahagdan sa pag-gagather ng boto na ilalako sa Market Votes (undecided). Sa national election, 'di tulad sa local, isyu at platforms ang mas pangunahin. Sentro sa labanan ang maiinit na isyu ng katiwalian, pangungurakot, karalitaan, kagutuman, political killings, isyu ng legitimacy, accountability at ang isyu ng bad governance na hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay walang malinaw na katugunan sa bahagi ng administrasyon. Ang propaganda't mensahe ang magbibigay dagok, pipilay at magpapadapa sa kandidato ng Team Unity at administrasyon.

Kahit pagbali-baligtarin ang takbo ng mga pangyayari, malaking bahagi ng populasyon sa kalunsuran (75-90%) na bumubuo ng "silent majority" at ilan bahagi sa kanayunan, bukud sa walang dudang nasa undecided o walang pinapanigan, non-alligned ay 'di kontento't asiwa sa itinakbo't performance ng kasalukuyang administrasyon.

Pangalawa, ang teknolohiya kung paano masisiguradong maminimized ang inaasahang malawakang dayaan at mula rito kung paano mapro-proteksyunan ang boto ng oposisyon. Anumang tagumpay na maaring anihin ng oposisyon sa propaganda't hamig sa hearts and mind ng botanteng Pinoy, kung dadayain lamang, kung hindi mabibilang at isasabotahe ng administrasyon, wala rin. Ito ang mapait na karanasang dagdag-bawas na kinasapitan ni FPJ at Loren Legarda nuong nakaraang 2004 national election, Sen Biazon at Pimentel nuong nakaraang 1998 Senatoriable election at Sen Mirriam Defensor Santiago nuong 1992 presidential election.

Napakahalaga sa yugtong ito ng halalan ang magpundar ng sapat na pondo para sa Vote Protection at vote delivery. Ibig sabihin, anong klaseng makinarya't teknolohiya ang kakailanganin upang maneutralisa ang dayaan na walang dudang isasagawa ng administrasyon, ng Comelec at ang lokal na makinaryang hawak nito? Sapagkat hawak ng administrasyon ang resources ng estado, natural lamang na sila ang may kakayahan makagawa ng dayaan at kaguluhan, ito ma'y sa araw ng bisperas-ora de peligro, panahon ng botohan, bilangan at sa panahon ng canvassing at proklamasyon.

Walang dudang ang perception at ang electoral mood ng botanteng Pinoy ay kontra gubyerno, kontra sa estado poder ni Ate Glo, kontra-pulitiko at anti-TRAPO. Isang patunay ang sunud-sunod na inilalabas na survey ng Pulse at SWS kung saang nagmamanipest ang kalamangang ng oposisyon lalo na sa mga urban centers, mga vote rich areas ng Metro Manila, mga secondary centers ng Central Luzon at Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Visaya at Mindanao.

Kung hindi magbabago ang trends, malaking posibilidad na mananaig ang opposition senatoriable candidates sa Metro Manila at ilang secondary centers sa probinsya. Tinatantyang hindi bababa sa 7 - 3 – 2 (oposisyon, administrasyon at independent) ang resulta ng halalan sa mga lugar na ating nabanggit.

"Di hamak na mas maunlad ang komunikasyon, daloy ng inpormasyon at organisasyon ang mga urban at secondary centers kung ikukumpara sa atrasado, liblib at rural areas ng bansa . Maliban sa presensya ng maiinpluwensyang panggitnang pwersa at dami ng OFW, may malaking bilang ng civil society na handang umagapay para sa isang malinis, may kredibilidad at mapayapang halalan.

Sa nakalipas na ilang buwan, hindi matatawaran ang ginampanang papel ng radio, telebisyon at pahayagan sa malawakang information campaign para sa voter's education at paglalantad ng maiinit na isyu ng bayan. Nanatiling walang pinanigan (independent) ang dalawang nangungunang TV networks (Abs-Cbn at GMA 7), ang malalaking mga radio station at ang malalaking (broad sheet) print media sa bansa. Hindi rin maisasa-isang tabi ang malaking papel ng hindi mabilang na election watchdog organization, ang PPCRV-Namfrel, Halalang Marangal, Bantay Boto-Ipatrol mo at ilang civil society organization sa bansa.

Ayon sa Comelec statistic, kung babalikan ang laban ni Ate Glo at ni FPJ nuong 2004 presidential election, tinalo ni FPJ si Ate Glo sa halos mayorya ng mga probinsya sa Luzon, maliban lamang sa Tarlac, Pampanga, Ilocos Sur, Mt Province at Kalinga. Nanalo rin si Fpj sa South Cotobato, Saranggani, Davao del Sur at North Cotobato, Lanao del Norte at Zamboanga del Sur at Sibugay.

Kaya lang, hahawakan ng Malakanyang ang mga liblib na lugar ng Mindanao at Northern Luzon, ilang liblib na lugar ng Western Visayas at Eastern Visayas. Dito kung saan matataas ang insidente ng kaguluhan, political clan at ang bantog na 4 Gs (guns, gold, goons at garci), kun di man may on going internal conflicts (anti-insurgency campaign). Sa mga lugar din ito kung saan matatagpuan ang kahirapan ng buhay, karalitaan at kakambal na suliraning katiwalian at pangungurakot . sa mga lugar na nabanggit nakatanin ang local machinery ng Malakanyang. Dito kung saan maaring makatabla sa score na 5 – 5 – 2 ang administrasyon.

Sa kabilang banda, dahil sa uri ng “super machinery” na naihanda't taglay ng Malakanyang, maaring totoo ang ipinagyayabang nitong "maipapanalo ang mahigit 80% ng congressional district at local candidates" (Lakas at Kampi) sa buong bansa. Sasamantalahin at pakikinabangan ng administrasyon ang lumalalang paghahari ng local elites, political clan, dynastiya, kasal binyag libing (KBL) at 4 Gs (guns, gold, goons at garci) sa lokal na labanan. Ang machine politics o ang tinatawag na "command votes" ng mga local empires sa kanayunan ay maaring epektibo lamang sa local at hindi sa level ng highly urbanized at national politics.
Ang tanong ng taumbayan, kailan magiging FAIR at demokratiko ang election sa ating bansa?

Doy Cinco / IPD
April 16, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Takot ang Comelec sa Malakanyang

Dahil nakataya ang ULO, ang political survival ni Ate Glo hangang 2010 sa nalalapit na May Midterm election, lahat ng paraan (at all cost) kasama na kahit magnegative zero ang credibility ng COMELEC, ang electoral (party list) at political system sa country ay gagawin upang hindi makaungos, hindi makarating sa tamang bilang na 80 ang oposisyon sa congressional district at Party List election.

Kamakailan lamang ay sumambulat ang panawagang ilabas, ilantad, ibulgar at isiwalat ng Comelec ang bumubuo ng mga nominado sa mahigit dalawampung party list (20) na pakawala, pinatakbo, hawak at kontrolado ng Malakanyang. Ang tanong ng country, bakit ayaw ipakilala ng ng Comelec, ni Chairman Abalos ang mga pangalan na nominado sa mga Party List na ito? Bakit, dahil ba sa nahihiya o nag-aalangan si Abalos?

Dapat tandaan ni Chairman Benjamin Abalos na hindi pa tapos ang kaso nito sa "National Printing Office-copy ng election returns, ang pagmamaniubra't disclosure ng kabuuang VOTER'S LIST sa Pilipinas, ang 5 milyong iligal na botante, ang sabwatang dirty tricks kay Cong Allan Peter cayetano, ang Hello Garci controvercy at ang P1.2 bilyong Mega Pacific Automated Counting Machine KURAKOT-Scam."

Sa kabila ng kaliwa't kanang pressure sa Comelec, nanindigan itong “hindi na mahalaga, hindi na kailangang malaman pa ng country, sapagkat ang ibinoboto naman ay ang partido at hindi ang mga nominado.” Bagamat sa unang tingin ay wasto, panggagago naman sa pananaw ng mamamayan.
Simple lamang ang rason ng mamamayan, “kung talagang tunay ngang mga marginalized ang mga party list na pakawala ng Malakanyang, bakit itinatago, inililihim at sinisekreto ng Comelec ang mga pangalan ng mga nominado ng mga party listnna ito?” Kung totoo ang propaganda ng Malakanyang na popular at maraming naniniwalang mamamayang Pinoy sa gubyerno ni Ate Glo, kailangang ibunyag na't makilala ng mga botanteng maka-Ate Glo ang mga ito.

Bukud sa batid na ng mamamayan na isang tuta, maka-administrasyong ang Comelec, maaring dalawang punto ang iniingatan nito kung saka-sakaling maging pasaway at idisclosed ang mga pangalan ng mga nominado sa party list na pakawala ng Malakanyang. S
apagkat masunurin tupa ang Comelec, nakaumang sa kanila ang sari-saring banta, panakot at kaso (kasuhan ng pangungurakot) kung lalabagin, kung susuway sila sa utus at tagubilin ng Malakanyang.

Kung hindi maibubunyag sa publiko ang identidad ng mga noinado, hindi malayong paghinalaan, pagdudahan at pagkamalang pawang mga DRUG LORDS, GAMBLING LORDS (WETENG-sugarol), PEKENG marginalized, prostitution lords, GANGSTER, holdupper, snatcher, KILLER, RAPIST, ADIK, traditional politicians, political dynasty, iskul bukol, kawatan at KURAKOT ang mga bumubuo nito.

Kung ganitong klaseng tao ang mga nominado ng Malakanyang sa kanyang party list, may katwiran ang Comelec na itago nga sa publiko, isekreto sa botanteng Pilipino ang mga personalidad ng mga taung ito, sapagkat bukud sa walang kapana-panalo, totoong NAKAKAHIYA nga, hindi lamang sa bansa, maging sa buong mundo.

Hindi lamang tinatarantado ng Malakanyang ang nalalapit na halalan sa Mayo, maging ang institusyon ng Comelec at ang Philippine Congress. Kokopongin nito ang mahigit nobenta porsiento (90%) ng kabuuang District Representative at prty list sa bansa. Pipilayan nito ang mga maiingay na militante at Kaliwang Party List na kasalukuyang namamayagpag sa maraming survey. Sinu-sino ang tinutukoy na pakawala ng Malakanyang na party list, ayon sa grupong KONTRA DAYA;

1. AT (Aangat Tayo) -- allegedly connected to undersecretary Teddie Elson Rivera of the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC)
2. Abono -- allegedly connected to House Speaker Jose De Venecia
3. Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano, Inc. -- allegedly connected to assistant secretary Marcelo Fariñas II of the Office of External Affairs
4. Aging Pinoy (Aging Pilipino Organization, Inc.) -- connected to National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales
5. Ahon (Ahon Pinoy) -- Dante “Klink” Ang II (1st nominee), son of Dante Ang, publicist of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and chairman of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
6. Ahonbayan -- allegedly connected to Gonzales
7. APOI (Akbay Pinoy OFW-National, Inc.) -- whose first and second nominees are allegedly Interior and Local Government undersecretary Melchor Rosales and National Capital Region director Rodolfo Feraren, respectively
8. AKSA (Aksyon Sambayanan) -- allegedly connected to Gonzales
9. ANAD (Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy) -- allegedly supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
10. ANAK (Angat Ating Kabuhayan Pilipinas, Inc.) -- whose first nominee is allegedly Superintendent Eduardo Octaviano of the National Capital Region Police Office
11. ANC (Alliance of Neo-Conservatives) – allegedly linked to undersecretary for Presidential Appointments Liel Cordoba
12. Ang Kasangga -- allegedly a member of Charter change advocacy group Sigaw ng Bayan
13. ARC (Alliance of Rural Concerns) -- Archie Santiago (son of Sen. Miriam Santiago)
14. ATS (Alliance Transport Sector) -- allegedly linked to Ariel Lim, Presidential Assistant for Public Transport Affairs
15. ABA-AKO -- Percy Chavez, chairperson, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor
16. Babae Ka (Babae para sa Kaunlaran) -- allegedly a member of Sigaw ng Bayan; Sally Dagami (1st nominee), Ruth Vasquez (2nd nominee)
17. BANAT (Barangay Association for National Advancement of Transparency) -- Sigaw ng Bayan spokesman Raul Lambino (1st nominee)
18. Bantay -- retired major general Jovito Palparan (1st nominee)
19. Bigkis (Bigkis Pinoy Movement) -- allegedly connected to PAGCOR Chair Ephraim Genuino
20. BP (Biyaheng Pinoy) -- linked to Dr. Arsenio Abalos, brother of the Comelec chairman, and Mandaluyong Vice Mayor Jesus Cruz
21. Kalahi (Advocates for Overseas Filipinos) -- Poe Gratela, former Office of External Affairs coordinator for OFW concerns (1st nominee)
22. VFP (Veterans Freedom Party) -- allegedly supported by the AFP

Nakakalungkot isiping magiging ganito nga ang klase ng mga taong bubuo sa susunod na sesyon ng 14th CONGRESS sa Hulyo, 2007. Mabaho na nga, mga baboy na nga ang karamihan, lalo pang ilulubug sa kumunoy ng kawalanghiyaan at kagaguhan ang Kongreso. Kung magtatagumpay ang palasyo, lalabas na isang Kongreso ito na punung-puno ng mga pusakal, kriminal, isang Kongresong mga disusi, isang Kongresong rubberstamp, sunud- sunuran at ala Batasang Pambansang dinomina ng partidong KBL (kilusang Bagong Lipunan), sa ayuda't suporta ng diktadurang Marcos may tatlong dekada na ang nakalilipas.

Doy Cinco
April 14, 2007