Will it be BSA or P-Noy?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-06-13
Print media often used the initials of presidents in order to shorten headlines. President Manuel L. Quezon was referred to as MLQ. President Ramon Magsaysay was RM, President Diosdado Macapagal was DM, President Ferdinand Marcos was FM, President Fidel V. Ramos was FVR and President Joseph E. Estrada was JEE.

Come June 30, after the presidential inaugural rites, we will pass on from GMA (Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) to another presidential initial which will be that of President-Elect Benigno Simeon Aquino III, soon-to-be the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines. Will the media prefer the traditional BSA or will media accede to Aquino’s preference for P-Noy?

Regardless if it will be BSA or P-Noy, for sure the nation will move from the cynicism that marked the GMA era of the last nine years to an era of hope and high expectations as seen in last Wednesday’s formal proclamation of the country’s new President and Vice President.

My old friend Senator Nene Pimentel had noted the special significance of conducting the proclamation under the light of day – in contrast to the GMA 2004 proclamation which was conducted in what Nene called the “Witching Hour” and was suitable only for witches and those with something sinister to conceal.

The vibrancy was all over the country as Aquino and newly proclaimed Vice President Jejomar C. Binay were confirmed by the Joint Session of Congress. Many Yellow Army veterans as well as the 2010 Aquino campaign volunteers could not hold back their tears when the moment came.

Mila Alora served in the Cory administration and during the Noynoy Aquino campaign. Mila texted your Chair Wrecker: “I cannot help but be emotional during the proclamation of President Noy. Tears just keep rolling.”

Tess Abesamis is another senior citizen, a former Cory worker and Noynoy Aquino media campaign consultant. She made this reaction after the proclamation and Aquino’s press conference: “Halleluiah! Ang galing ni Noy at ang gwapo (Noy was so good and so handsome). My heart is overwhelmed with joy.”

Senator Kiko Pangilinan, said to be a frontrunner for the post of Senate President, was loftier compared to Mila and Tess. Kiko said: “We, together with our people, did what others said was nearly impossible – launch a presidential campaign 8 months before Election Day and win a landslide victory. Truly the winds of change have swept our nation.”

It was a milestone for Philippine democracy with thanks to the poll automation. The AES (Automated Election System) will require improvements which were duly noted during the congressional canvassing and House hearings. But House Majority Floor Leader Art Defensor is right – poll automation is here to stay.

Comelec (Commission on Elections) Chairman Jose Melo was well within his right to protest during an ambush interview after the proclamation that the severe criticisms against the poll body and the poll automation were unfair. Note that the tirades were coming from the losers but the nation as a whole rejoiced over the speed and tension-less electoral process we had just experienced.

Makati Representative Teddyboy Locsin’s Suffrage Committee Hearings on possible poll fraud did conclude that there was no evidence to prove that there was electronic fraud. All the sore losers – whiners Teddyboy called them – could present were accusations and yes, a cartoon character called Koala Boy.

Earlier on during the Suffrage Committee hearings, Teddyboy accepted the possibility that fraud could have been committed in the local level, affecting local candidates. But he could not see that happening in the national level.

It is easy to feel confident that the poll automation was successful. Just look at the national results and how these matched the credible TV5-SWS (Social Weather Stations) and Pulse Asia exit polls. The TV5-SWS exit poll was accurate to less than one percent! Between the Comelec results and the TV5-SWS exit poll was a mere 0.4% variance in both the presidential and vice presidential races. Mahar Mangahas, please take two bows.

What folks should appreciate is that well-conducted exit polls are very accurate. Unlike the pre-election polls where respondents provide glimpses to how they plan to vote, the exit poll merely notes the name of the candidate the respondent actually voted for. Unlike the pre-election polls, in an exit poll, the respondent no longer has to think or to choose but merely to state the name of the selected candidate.

Thus, the planned election protest of Mar Roxas against Vice President-Elect Jejomar C. Binay will be a very hard sell. The Binay victory was reflected by both the last BusinessWorld-SWS pre-election poll on the week before the elections and the TV5-SWS exit poll. It was not as if Binay came from 10% behind in the exit poll and suddenly won.

Mar has to reckon with the fact that he is questioning a popular Binay victory that is also perceived as credibly won by most Filipinos. It is not like the GMA 2004 victory which will haunt the legacy of the soon to be Pampanga Representative. The most that Mar will likely be able to sell the public is the impression that he does not possess the personal quality to lose with grace.

A good friend and a veteran political watcher wondered if Mar is just being milked by his lawyers. An election protest case is a long and tedious process and is known to also be very expensive. The longer it drags and the more contentious it gets, the more the lawyers earn.

It is doubted if the NULL VOTES can be a valid ground for an election protest. To accept it as valid will be to open a Pandora’s Box. There is no basis in the election law for such a treatment of NULL VOTES. Up to this point too, the Mar Roxas camp cannot claim that they were the victims of a Binay cheating operation.

The Mar Roxas camp cannot also pin its hopes on those so-called “statistically improbable” votes in Muslim Mindanao. Even if all those were removed, it is too few and will not alter the vice presidential election results in favor of Mar Roxas.

Mar can neither hope to win in this planned election protest nor will it taint Binay’s victory. This is – simply put – a lose-lose situation for Mar Roxas and could potentially distract the Aquino administration.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

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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