Already our dirtiest election and we haven’t even voted yet
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-05-13
From where I sit, wrecking another chair, the May 14 electoral exercise goes down in Philippine history as the dirtiest ever — even if we haven’t even cast our votes yet. The pathetic irony is that the single biggest factor that makes it particularly dirty is the Comelec (Commission on Elections) itself, the very constitutional body which is supposed to ensure clean elections.

When Leonardo Perez was the Chairman of the Comelec during the Marcos era, we thought then that we were seeing the worst. Not by a long shot. Now we see that the transgressions of Perez and his Comelec had been only in the hocus-pocus of the count. No matter how many votes were cast for the opposition, Marcos and his KBL Party always garnered more votes.

But other than the one-sided count, Perez never tried to promote the interests of the KBL ruling party then. And most certainly, he did not even get into that ridiculous situation of accrediting nuisance candidates that threatened the chances of legitimate contenders. They had not invented the Party List system then but I am sure Perez would not even have considered concealing the identity of Party List nominees for the simple reason that it so stupidly smacks of partisan ulterior motives. I do not recall the Perez Comelec reversing a Comelec en banc decision on a popular candidate’s citizenship simply to accommodate a losing administration ally.

Yet all these and more, the Ben Abalos Comelec has done. From day 1, the Abalos Comelec projected a behavior that seems to betray intent to promote election cheating. Abalos was supposed to carry out a mandate to computerize and had enough time to do this but Abalos kept churning out excuses. Presented with the opportunity to introduce modern technology that would have ended the Garci culture in Comelec, he chose the status quo.

We are fortunate that a plan to print an unusually large number of excess ballots and election accountable forms in the National Printing Office was exposed. These excess accountable forms are the tools for preparing doctored Certificates of Canvass and Election Returns, the tools for massive cheating.

Ben Abalos announced that the over 200 international observers who are coming here to ensure the sanctity of the 2007 vote will not be allowed to enter the polling precincts.

What is Abalos hiding? Are these foreign observers not the allies of the Comelec in wanting to ensure clean and fair elections? So why doesn’t he want them inside the precincts?

Didn’t the Garci Tapes show that the real, wholesale cheating is conducted when the election returns are already in the hands of the Comelec? Abalos is betraying his hand. If he doesn’t want the foreign observers inside the precincts, then how can he blame us for thinking that the goal of this Comelec is to facilitate cheating?

It was only after the international community questioned the Comelec ruling that ingress to the polling places was subsequently allowed. This has been the Comelec pattern of behavior during this campaign. Attempt the highly irregular until strongly resisted or shot down by the Supreme Court.

More reasons why these elections rate as the dirtiest

Even the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) has exceeded itself in becoming the lackeys of election cheating. As alleged by the Garci Tapes, only a certain segment of the AFP that were assigned in Mindanao under Gen. Hermogenes Esperon facilitated the cheating operations during the 2004 elections.

The AFP has been deployed in Metro areas known to be rich sources of votes for the Opposition. The AFP has engaged itself in promoting the candidacy of Dado Macapagal in Bicol, as exposed by ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol. The AFP has figured in a shootout for attempting to remove the posters of a Party List group aligned with the Opposition. Now AFP Chief Gen. Esperon has been accused of issuing illegal orders that all AFP camps must produce a 12-0 administration Senate victory.

How can these elections not be dirtiest when even a justice institution like the Ombudsman plays the role of an active accomplice in the obvious effort to remove from office strong Opposition incumbents?

You’ll know that this election has become the dirtiest when even the reliable SWS (Social Weather Stations) had become the target of dirty regime black propaganda simply because the SWS survey results show the extent of discontent and resentment in the country. It has long been the modus operandi of this regime to attempt to blacken and smear its opponents, critics and all other sources of the truth.

Have we forgotten how a good man like Raul Roco was vilified when he was leading the presidential derby in 2003? Have we forgotten how even Bishop Oscar Cruz of the Catholic Church became the object of a vilification campaign when he exposed the regime’s involvement in promoting jueteng? Have we forgotten how a loyal and patriotic soldier like Gen. Francisco Gudani who exposed the AFP involvement in the 2004 election Mindanao cheating operation was also similarly vilified?

Trust the dirtiest of the lot to try to paint the better ones in our midst blacker than black. Ask Satan and he will say that God is the devil.

Just how did we manage to have so many dubious public officials as these who now operate our most sensitive democratic, justice and security institutions? Simple — dubious rulers appoint dubious ministers. You shall know them by their fruits.

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