Who ought to shut up?
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo
Inq7.net 2004-06-07
THE final congressional tally of election Certificate of Canvass (COC) results have degenerated into a circus of sorts. The odd clowns within the joint session of congress who were supposed to undertake the final determination of winners in the presidential and veep races have been doing everything else but. Of course no one was amused, least of all the Pido mother and daughter team, Suzette and Joan, who had unexpectedly become instant heroes after having successfully sneaked a note to outgoing Maguindanao Representative Digs Dilangalen to "Shut up".

The pathetic spectacle of grandstanding trapos (traditional politicians) only mocks the worsening poverty and despair of majority of Filipinos. Thanks to the Pidos, the public has at last found expression for its long suppressed disdain for the callous disregard for duty, the arrogance and lust for power of their elective officials.

The hardened trapos should not even think that the message to 'shut up' was addressed to Digs Dilangalen and Digs Dilangalen alone.

Because 'shut up' is not just about the vented frustration of mother and daughter over the ridiculously overextended delays in the tabulation of COC results and the never-ending goofy antics of a hyperactive congressman who has no respect for parliamentary discipline and procedures. 'Shut up' caught fire because it captured the very essence of the nation's frustrations.

'Shut up' could well apply to National Security Adviser (NSA) Norberto Gonzales whose pronouncements betray the attributes of an intellectual lightweight. Up to this time, Gonzales misses the point that his job is to make the nation feel safer instead of more insecure.

For instance, while most of the administration's cabinet officials try to paint a business-as-usual picture of life, Gonzales has been busy churning out make-believe destabilization plots that would put the scriptwriters of TV conspiracy series to shame.

Someone must have given Norberto Gonzales the wrong job description. I think that maybe he believes that 'uncovering' sinister plots, whether fiction or otherwise, will sort of justify his continued employment. Unless of course Gonzales is so well tuned-in to the insecure realities of the shaky Macapagal-Arroyo regime, that he can't help but raise the alarum each time he senses or imagines that something foreboding is in the offing.

Wallowing under a negative satisfaction rating last December, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's political fortunes only took off when Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ) entered the presidential race and that drove people to accept Macapagal-Arroyo as "the lesser evil".

Just as FPJ turned out to be Macapagal-Arroyo's biggest promoter during the last campaign, Gonzales has proved to be the biggest promoter of his favorite witch hunt target - the party list groups he alleges to have links with the revolutionary CPP-NPA. Bayan Muna, Gonzales' main target, topped the party list roster of winners and managed to raise its representation in congress.

Instead of resigning for this monumental blunder which effectively repudiated his credibility - NSA Gonzales pursues with more vigor his formula of announcing a destabilization plot every week. With an NSA like Gonzales, we must wonder how President Macapagal-Arroyo manages to sleep well at night.

'Shut up' could well apply too to Macapagal-Arroyo's mouthpiece Mike Defensor who gives me the impression that he and the NSA adviser belong to the same "remedial intellectual class". How else can one appreciate Defensor otherwise when he single-handedly debunked the administration's grand design to project a massive, across all classes electoral mandate for Macapagal-Arroyo.

Instead of reinforcing the administration effort to project a broad mandate, Defensor proudly asserted that the Iglesia ni Cristo support was what clinched the election for Macapagal-Arroyo. Not even the opposition could have carelessly uttered anything more damaging to undermine the perception of a broad mandate support that Macapagal-Arroyo wanted to cloak herself with. With a mouthpiece like Defensor, Macapagal-Arroyo's political enemies can take time out for an extended vacation. They can't top Defensor in the fine job that he is doing in eroding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's political stock.

'Shut up' should also apply to NAMFREL's Joe Concepcion and Bill Luz who keep asserting that there is no evidence of massive fraud in the last election. How sure are they that there was no massive fraud committed? Were they present in all provincial tabulations where the Certificates of Canvass (COC) were filled up and accomplished? In national elections, massive fraud nowadays is no longer done at the precinct level but at the level of the provincial tabulation of COCs. So how can Joe Concepcion or Bill Luz assert with Papal authority and infallibility that there was no massive fraud when in fact NAMFREL is geared towards the counting of precinct returns and not provincial COCs where wholesale cheating is conducted?
Joe Concepcion and Bill Luz were not physically there when the greatest illegal acts of the Marcos kleptocracy were committed. Are they saying now that Marcos was not the world class thief that the whole world had judged him to be? Neither Concepcion nor Luz was there when Maggie de la Riva was raped and savaged in 1967. Will they now attempt to exonerate the four who were executed in the electric chair for that crime? Just because they were not there in the spot where it happened, does it mean that democracy was not raped in this recent election?

Concepcion and Luz have altogether lost sight of the main mission of NAMFREL. NAMFREL's sole concern should be the sanctity of the election process and not the convenience of some candidates who they may personally favor. Thus the worst damage that they can do to the electoral process and NAMFREL itself is to erode, undermine and eventually cause the loss of people's faith in the electoral process and in NAMFREL.

Lastly, 'shut up' should apply to FPJ and his circle of has-been rogues who somehow found ways to reinvent themselves. Every time I see or hear FPJ, Tito Sotto and the whole KNP wild bunch - my crusade to promote and defend the democratic process suffers serious demoralization. It is like a gentleman's honest attempt to promote respect for a woman of ill repute.

Every time I see FPJ and his ilk, it becomes more difficult to strive to preserve the democratic process, to protect and preserve the true verdict of the people, to thwart its subversion - knowing that the beneficiary could be the man I rate the least qualified to become president.

I am no fan of Fernando Poe, Jr. nor wish him upon the nation as the next president. But if he turns out to be the real winner of the presidential election, his ascendancy cannot be more harmful for all of us than the other possibility of the people losing faith in democracy and its processes if and when the person that they really voted to the office is deprived by some chicanery, hocus pocus and under handed operation.

In Robert Bolt's "A man for all seasons", the central character, Sir Thomas More, was assaulted with the question: "Will you give the devil the benefit of the law?" More answered: "Yes, for my own safety's sake." Sir Thomas More simply drove home the point that dispensing with the fair and equal access to the law brings worse consequences than the feared devil itself.

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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