POSTSCRIPT / May 27, 2004 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Stalling the canvass irritates most people

MOVE IT!: Most people are getting impatient with the antics of sore losers and their runners in Congress who are obstructing the official proclamation of the winners in the presidential and vice presidential elections.

We have this bizarre scenario of the people already knowing who had won as president and a Congress that pretends not to know or to believe it. This gap between public perception and congressional actuation is incredible.

If the members of Congress and the losing candidates that they serve have not sensed this growing impatience of the people, we suggest that they ask around outside their circle.

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LIMIT TO PATIENCE: It has been more than two long weeks since the votes were cast.

The dead have been buried and added to statistics. Eleven senators-elect and many local winners have been proclaimed. Campaign posters have been scrubbed away and the classrooms used in the elections cleared.

Unspent campaign funds have been hidden away in the banks by the Jose Pidals of this world.

What do the sore losers and their runners in Congress think they are accomplishing by using official time, funds and resources to obstruct the speedy and orderly proclamation of the winners?

Are these garrulous politicians unaware that they are just alienating people, and that the proclamation — which is sure to come — has actually become anticlimactic by this time?

There is a limit to people’s patience.

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ARROGANCE OF POWER: The case of Grace Cielo Padaca, the lady in crutches who won the gubernatorial election in Isabela and ended the three-decade hold of the Dy dynasty on that northern Luzon province, is another example of arrogance of power.

The good people of Isabela have spoken.

As shown in the Comelec’s final tally of the votes in the province’s 35 towns and one city last Saturday, Padaca won with 242,995 votes against Dy with 198,703 votes, or with a clear margin of 44,292 votes.

But just as the provincial board was preparing to proclaim her, a faxed order was received from the Commission on Elections stopping the proclamation. Comelec in Manila had given due course to a petition of Padaca’s rival, incumbent Gov. Faustino Dy Jr., to freeze everything.

Dy told the Comelec that Padaca, with the aid of the New People’s Army, had terrorized the people of Isabela to vote for her. Of this accusation, Ilagan Bishop Sergio Utleg said: “It is disgusting, unbelievable… I am so sad.”

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KNOCKING ON HEARTS: The order stopping Padaca’s proclamation was signed by commissioners Rufino Javier and Virgilio Garcillano, two of the three members of the Comelec’s first division.

Garcillano, btw, is an interim member, his appointment still awaiting confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. His handling of this case is likely to affect his chances for confirmation.

In bringing her fight to Manila, Padaca said she was “knocking on the hearts” of Comelec officials to be fair and to observe the rule of law.

On the Sunday after the completion of the count, Ilagan Bishop Sergio Utleg celebrated Mass at the St. Ferdinand cathedral in Gamu town in thanksgiving for her victory.

The bishop remarked that Dy, who he said would do anything to stay in power, should be ashamed of himself. He added that charges that the woman-candidate terrorized voters were “highly ridiculous and unbelievable.”

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BLATANT CHEATING: The election in that Dy enclave away from the scrutiny of the media and civic groups in the capital had its usual share of cheating.

The provincial board of canvassers rejected certificates of canvass from the towns of San Agustin and Cordon that were found to be fraudulent. The board used instead the official CoC copies of the National Movement for Free Elections for the official tally in the two towns.

In San Agustin, a CoC signed by the municipal board of canvassers showed Dy with 7,474 votes and Padaca with 1,166. But the Namfrel CoC showed Padaca actually had 5,012 votes against Dy’s 3,025.

In Cordon, the CoC showed Dy leading Padaca by 10,000, but the Namfrel CoC had it the other way around, with Padaca winning with a margin of at least 3,000.

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MADONNA & CHILD: Maybe senator-elect Jinggoy Estrada should keep quiet in the meantime about the integrity of the elections.

He went through the same elections and the same certificates of canvass that gave him a seat in the Senate will be used in the coming national canvass of the votes for president and vice president.

Somebody should tell him that he could not renounce the CoCs in the national canvass that is about to start in Congress without taking the same negative position vis-à-vis the same documents that had affirmed his election.

He might feel that his fellow stalwarts in the opposition expect him to follow the negative party line and to make those mandatory noises about fraud having marred the May 10 elections.

But we’re sure that soon enough, it will dawn on Jinggoy that he is no longer a mayor of a suburban town (now a city), but an honorable senator of the land. Hoping he will learn the ropes fast, we wish him well.

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DOUBLE JEOPARDY: Some kill-joys are suggesting that mother and son, Senator Loi and Jinggoy Estrada, may want to just share the same pork barrel, countryside development funds, and similar high-value fat — so we harassed taxpayers will not have to spend double for the same household.

The suggestion makes sense to many taxpayers and those allergic to political dynasties and double taxation. Oo nga naman , why should we be burdened twice without any guarantee, or even just a prospect, of a corresponding doubling of the quality of service?

Some of us are wondering if in this country of more than 80 million, one family has so monopolized genius or the capacity for service that it would inflict two of its members on us.

There is a similar situation in the case of the Revillas. In the Senate, there was the aging actor Ramon Revilla and his son-in-law the basketbrawl star Robert Jaworski serving together. Now we have another actor in the clan, Bong Revilla, joining the family reunion in the Senate.

We are not saying that the Senate has been prostituted, but only that it has been trivialized.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 27, 2004)

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