POSTSCRIPT / May 15, 2007 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Pampanga is a test of voters' maturity

MAYORALTY vs MAYORAL: Pardon my leading off with this note on usage. With election reports bombarding us, if I cannot get this off my chest now, I would go to pieces.

Many radio-TV reporters, anchors and commentators keep talking pompously on the air about “mayoralty” candidates when they probably mean “mayoral” candidates. Many newspaper reports are also peppered with the same carelessly used terms.

It is appalling that many of us in media do not know that one term (“mayoralty”) is a noun, while the other is an adjective (“mayoral”). They are not interchangeable.

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CATCH A BLOOPER: When in a quandary over which term to use, mentally replace “mayoralty” with “presidency,” or “mayoral” with “presidential.” (Note the rhyming of the equivalent terms.) Any error in usage then becomes obvious.

We do not say that someone is a “presidency” candidate, do we? He is a “presidential” candidate. Neither should we say that someone is a “mayoralty” candidate. Instead, he is a “mayoral” (counterpart of “presidential”) candidate.

Next time you watch TV, listen to the radio or read a newspaper, catch as many “mayoralty candidate” bloopers as you can.

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JBC SMUGGLING: With everybody distracted by the elections, Malacañang might just surprise us with a new, and controversial, appointee to the Supreme Court plucked from an unusually long list.

Days ago, the Judicial and Bar Council nominated eight individuals for possible appointment by the President to the Supreme Court seat recently vacated with the retirement of Justice Romeo Callejo.

With due respect, the nomination of just too many hopefuls is unusual, if not irregular.

This is the first time that the JBC nominated eight individuals for one vacancy in the Supreme Court. In the past, the number was limited to five. The most was six at only one time. Suddenly eight?

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ACCOMMODATION: Because of the election season, one cannot help entertaining suspicion that the submitting of a big basket of nominees was made by the JBC because of political accommodation.

This suspicion is aggravated by the fact that it was Rep. Simeon Datumanong, who represents Congress in the JBC, who insisted on the nomination of the squad of eight.

Note that the Supreme Court itself wanted only three in the list of nominees.

Despite the Supreme Court resolution banning the employment of the spouses of Court of Appeals justices and the recent tongue-lashing by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno denouncing serious allegations of corruption in the appellate court, the JBC still nominated CA Presiding Justice Ruben Reyes, whose wife was one of the targets of the SC resolution.

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BACKSLIDING?: Since Reyes is the CA head, should he not be held responsible under the command responsibility doctrine? Why did they still nominate him? Even the SC, insiders tell us, did not consider him fit to be included in its list of three.

But whether originally on the list or just inserted at the last minute, anybody on the JBC list of eight has an equal chance as the other nominees since the final personal choice will be made by the President.

For a while, we were beginning to be convinced about the independence of the JBC after it refused to nominate a lady senator to be chief justice and the lackluster government corporate counsel as an SC justice.

Is the JBC sliding back to a “culture of political accommodations”?

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HOMETOWN VIEW: As usual, I voted yesterday in Mabalacat, Pampanga, my hometown.

But unlike in previous elections, I made my choices only after talking to local media colleagues whose close-up assessments I value. They offered insights that I, engrossed with the bigger national picture, may have missed.

As I write this, nobody has an inkling of how the voting went in the province, especially as far as the governorship was concerned.

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BIG ISSUES: Some big questions in the home province of President Gloria Arroyo:

1. Will Fr. Ed Panlilio, the priest running for governor as a moral alternative to either a “quarrying king” or a “jueteng queen” make it? (The terms are used not as an indictment but merely as convenient tags.)

2. Will this bailiwick of the President — whom some jealous cabalens see as more Cebuana than Pampangueña — deliver a 12-0 senatorial shutout for the administration’s Team Unity?

Both questions can be answered with a premature “Possibly.” But only the numbers that will come out of the ongoing counting and tabulation can provide the answers. By tomorrow noon, we should know.

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PLUS POINTS: If Fr. Panlilio, called Among Ed by most parishioners, wins the governorship, I would attribute it to:

1. The snapping of many Capampangans from their seeming helplessness to free themselves from traditional politics fueled by dirty money.

2. The surfacing of Capampangans’ innate religiosity and their collective fear of being shamed (hiya) if they blow this rare opportunity to rid their community of the vice lords virtually controlling the province.

3. People from other provinces seeing in Pampanga a possible faith-based reincarnation of People Power.

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MINUS POINTS: But if Among Ed loses, I would attribute it to:

1. The Iglesia ni Cristo (claimed provincial vote of 40,000 in a voting field of some 1.2 million) throwing its support behind reelectionist Gov. Mark Lapid at the last minute.

2. Provincial Board Member Lilia Pineda, leading candidate for governor, immersing herself in needy communities and being attentive and generous with material assistance.

3. Fr. Panlilio’s coming in a bit late and not having as much time to mix and bond with as many cabalens. His kilometric motorcades where he would just wave to people may have been not as effective as long-term hobnobbing with them.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 15, 2007)

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