Monthly Archives: August 2014

AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM — Philippines 2016

THE 2016 presidential elections has descended upon us and depending on who you’re supporting for President, you’re either glad there’s still plenty of time to catch up or, if you’re a Binay supporter, you’d wish tomorrow were election day. Lately, there’s been more than just jabs thrown at each other by the aspiring candidates for the two highest positions in government. It would be best to take comments, statements, and remarks coming from them and their backers with a grain of salt. They will be formulated with an eye on 2016 but expect none of them to admit that. It’s “positioning” time and politicians are negotiating with political parties — which are nothing but convenient groupings devoid of any shared beliefs among its members — that could be an appropriate and helpful vehicle in their quest for higher office. One early bird Presidential Candidate has opted to establish a brand new party of his own that he could lead in the coming polls. Political parties on the other hand are looking for winnable presidential candidates that they may adopt or coalesce with, so as to be the party in power should their candidate make it. The equivalent in politics of the so called “oldest profession in the world” has now come alive and kicking in the Philippines. Our apologies to those in that “oldest profession” who have felt insulted and have responded that they may be what they are but they do have scruples whereas politicians don’t; a valid argument, indeed. But we digress….

This early, or before it gets too late, what should be of prime concern is the kind of voting system we are to implement in the coming elections. In fact, Comelec has scheduled for the end of this month the deadline for choosing the kind of Automated Election System (AES) to be used in 2016. By law, we are not to go back to the manual system we’ve had in all the elections prior to 2010, marred as they were with various ways of cheating evolving to the “dagdag-bawas” modus operandi that came about in the 90’s and was supposedly used all through the rest of the succeeding elections. The 2010 automated election was a shock to many for its speed in knowing the winners in less than a day after the voting precincts had closed. From a week or so that it used to take us to know the results of the elections at the national level, it now took less than 24 hours. It was amazing to say the least, but devastating for some of the election “operators” that had made a killing facilitating the “doctoring” of results in exchange for hefty sums of money coming from candidates, election after election in the past. Suddenly, their “profession” had become obsolete overnight.

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Presently, what we have are Comelec owned machines used in the 2010 and 2013 elections which Comelec purchased from  Smartmatic, an international company that also does business in other countries — the US, India, Brazil, Belgium to mention a few — providing them with election systems suitable to their respective needs and more importantly, credible to their people. As far as the Philippines is concerned, it was noted that foreign observers lauded the credibility of the automated elections of 2010 finding no cause for alarm in contrast to previous manual elections. Filipinos themselves seem to have been satisfied with the results and the winners have assumed their offices with clear mandates, absent of doubts or suspicions by the large majority of voters. It would be accurate to say that there has been no valid and credible challenge made against the outcome of the automated elections of 2010 and 2013. Invariably, there are the usual and expected poor losers that would never concede defeat in any kind of elections, even one sanctioned by St. Peter and the Heavens.

What then is this “Hocus PCOS” we hear about and what is it insinuating? That’s a good question because the people using the term (from: “Hocus-Pocus” or “magic”) that suggests electronic or computerized cheating, are actually reasonable people and not your “sour-graping” politician. However, we still have to see incontrovertible evidence showing that there was indeed some hanky-panky done wherein the machines reflected a result that was not the will of the people. It behooves the complainants to show evidences, if any, of cheating done by “programmed” PCOS machines that are now owned by the Comelec and ideally, could be used again for the 2016 elections, with certain upgrades and improvements in both the software and hardware, as will be seen fit by the Comelec. These machines are said to have a life span of up to 20 years when provided with good maintenance. Acquiring a new system might prove to be too expensive and we would have wasted the time and effort spent in familiarizing our Comelec officials with the inner workings of the machines and its software. The same goes for the voters who initially experienced “machine fear” but are now comfortable and familiar with them. We believe that an upgraded, tweaked, and well maintained set of PCOS machines that we’ve already paid for, and which wasn’t cheap either, would be the most suitable option to take, not to mention the most economical and practical. Now is the time to make sure both software and hardware are upgraded to address whatever issues there still are and make sure these are all done transparently and on time for the elections. We can’t afford a “bukas na lang” or a “last minute” mentality with this one. If we’re so passionate about our choice of candidates, that would mean nothing without a credible and efficient Automated Election System.

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“PNoy Hankers for 2nd Term NOT”

noyTHE way we see it, President Aquino is not bent at all on staying in power beyond 2016. He’s been talking about his retirement since his first year in office and, already, with a longing to get out of it and be laid back again, or whatever. So it’s not only because of not wishing to besmirch his mother’s legacy of one who relinquished power in accordance to Constitutional term limits but because he never did want to be President in the first place. We are all agreed that his presidency was accidental in that one can never really predict the time of death of any person and the same was true of the death of his mother. PNoy never wanted to be head of an organization, be it  private or public, and certainly not head of the entire government. Otherwise, he would have been head of “something” already given the resources of his family and being the only son and namesake of his father. But he was not, and is not, inclined to be top-honcho of any significant entity so, put simply, he was never at the forefront of anything throughout his life. This is not in any way to put him down; this is just what it is. In fact, he may be the wiser one for not wanting the thankless job of President of this country unless one has plans of stealing.

In the matter of creating laws, the record will bear us out that he likewise had no strong liking for it as can be gleaned from his 12 year stint in both houses of Congress. Looking at his experience in the Legislative Branch of government, again, there is no indication whatsoever that he had any intentions of leading as Speaker or Senate President. So what’s the beef behind this hoopla of taking a potentially damaging stance regarding “charter change”  by virtually announcing his readiness to run anew in the 2016 presidential elections, a legal “no-no” in the context of the “Cory Constitution” no less. Ploy. It’s called getting Binay out of his enviable position of defender and alter-ego of PNoy while simultaneously being the de-facto head of the opposition. It’s an improvement on the old political adage coined by Amang Rodriguez, “politics is addition.” In Binay’s case you could say it’s “politics is multiplication” and that pisses the hell out of Secretary Mar Roxas and other Presidential hopefuls. 

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Their other option is to physically place Binay with the opposition who have been charged with plunder and are now in jail; hence, the “over-pricing of a parking building” charges against Binay allegedly committed while he was still Mayor.

The general plan is to force Binay out of the Cabinet for “not being in harmony with the President’s “cha-cha” intentions” and place him in direct opposition to the “likely” administration candidate for 2016, no  other than Mr. Noynoy Aquino. The switch from Noynoy back to Mar will come later.

There will be no such thing as PNoy for the top seat after his term ends in 2016. It just doesn’t jive with his personal history.

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President Aquino’s “Anti-Corruption” Siblings to Back Binay in 2016?

IF Pnoy and his Liberal Party adopt and openly support Vice President Binay in the coming 2016 Presidential elections, then the Veep’s chances of winning could go from the 90% (our guess) that it is today, to “101%” in 2016. That would have to mean Secretary Mar Roxas will not be running. This is of course barring any unforeseen events occurring from now until election day such as, say, serious health issues visiting the VP or something nobody has an inkling as of yet and so will surprise us all if and when it happens. His health and age are factors because he is, after all, a septuagenarian plus the persistent rumor of his suffering from some kidney ailment does not help. Still, most concede that Mar is in for a bigger defeat should he challenge Binay to a rematch, this time for the highest position of the land — the presidency. Mar doesn’t see defeat in the horizon and still maintains he defeated Binay for Vice President but was cheated, hence, the electoral protest still pending.
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President Aquino has been criticized for being “over loyal” to his “K’s” — kaibigan, kabarkada, kaklase, and kabarilan — and there is truth to that to a great extent. Having said that, who between the two presidential aspirants would PNoy end up supporting? The sisters of PNoy have publicly stated that they have no problem in supporting Binay. That’s still short of actually supporting him. But that’s clearer than anything they have said about Mar’s candidacy in 2016. Also, the Cojuangco side of PNoys family have already made known their support for Binay with Cory’s brother, Peping, leading the way.

The President himself has given Mar everything he has asked for, it would seem, and this probably stems from his gratitude to Mar for stepping aside to give him a better shot at the Presidency and it succeeded; but as we all know, there was a hitch — Mar, in the process, lost the “spare tire” position to Binay, an experience as painful as it was unexpected. That may have caused PNoy to feel doubly indebted to Mar; their relationship  goes a long way back when you include their families, respectively. Both come from the same elite class of landowners with representation in politics; they attended the same or similar private schools here and abroad; they have mutual Tita’s and Tito’s and family friends; they relate to similar experiences; and they have near identical social and economic backgrounds. Mar also acted as PNoy’s mentor of sorts in both House(s) of Congress.

Binay, on the other hand, was born and raised on the poor side of the tracks. His relationship with PNoy and family began as a political ally of Ninoy, perhaps, not on an equal footing initially, but grew in closeness to them as his political stock increased as Mayor and “chief politician” of the premiere city of the Philippines, Makati, all 28 years since Cory appointed him OIC in 1986. His experience with PNoy’s family has been one of proven loyalty,  both one to the other, specially in times of crises such as the numerous coup attempts against the Cory presidency in the late 80’s and whenever either of them was in trouble. The experiences PNoy and Binay share are of a more intense nature and on one occasion during a coup, the rebellion in which Binay took up arms to defend the Palace almost cost PNoy his life. So, there’s more drama and sentimentality that accompanies their friendship while that of PNoy and Mar has to do more with uneventful times in Congress, nothing as sensational except for the time he willingly slid down to the Vice Presidential race to give way to PNoy. Of course, one could argue that Mar was practically left with no choice but to acquiesce to the “clamor.” So, there….

But party politics dictates that the decision PNoy makes should be in accordance with party (Drillon, Abad, and Mar) preference and in that regard, Mar will have to be the anointed. Considering all that’s been said and done, our take on the coming elections goes like this: the President and the Liberal Party will be supporting Mar while the Aquino sisters and their relatives, in the Cojuangco side at least, will be going all out for Binay — makes one wonder about the sincerity of these folks in their “crusade” against corruption but that’s another story. The so called “yellow brigade” will be split as one can imagine, encouraging the ambition of a 3rd candidate to take advantage of the schism. But regardless of the division among the “yellow”, we don’t see how Binay, so far ahead in the race, can be defeated. Well, maybe in one scenario…which is in the realm of the “possible” but will take a lot of imagination on the part of a 3rd candidate. That scenario is simple and goes like this: a 3rd candidate surfaces who captures the hearts and minds of the youth in a big way as never before seen in this country and whose large number carries him or her on to victory and to the Palace. Imagine a candidate looking almost half the age of Binay at 73 yrs. old and who speaks the lingo of the young in a unforced and natural manner, sings their songs, and appeals to the young girls like a matinee idol. Add to that someone that can articulate clearly the needs and the problems the youth face in their daily lives.

Roughly half of the 50 million registered voters in the country are between 18 to 33 years old. Half of that 25M “youth vote” is 12.5M. Let’s just round it off to 10M votes…still, a most formidable solid bloc which, of course, are not the only votes “Mr. 3rd candidate” will be getting in a “solid” way. In addition, he would be the major recipient of the votes of his region, and if he plays it cleverly, the Iglesia ni Cristo solid vote to boot. The numbers speak for themselves: just under  half of the youth vote, a solid regional vote, a half-decent showing in the rest of the country  plus some help from Mr. Manalo can do the trick.  That imaginary candidate will not come from any of those that have been mentioned in media as “presidentiables” — we think none of them can beat Binay, particularly, the ones now tainted with the Pork Barrel scandal. But there have been many surprises in politics, including the last minute unexpected presidential candidate who won in the 2010 elections, and 2016 will have its fair share of it. Until then, this is mere speculation but the numbers remain real.

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