POSTSCRIPT / December 15, 2009 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Selective human rights concern of CHR noted

HUMAN RIGHTS: Have officials of the Commission on Human Rights and their foreign guests gone on vacation after that tiring trip to Maguindanao to register their concern for the massacre victims in Ampatuan country?

After they have rested and their visitors are done with their sightseeing, maybe they can find time and show as much concern for other Filipinos whose human rights have been violated in flagrant fashion.

With due respect, I think the ire and fire of the CHR and their foreign guests should not be reserved only for government personnel who may have overstepped the line of maximum tolerance.

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WHERE’S CHR?: Just to tick off some glaring incidents over which the CHR and its foreign visitors may want to express concern for Filipinos whose human rights had been trampled by armed goons not related to the government:

* A vice president of the Basilan State College, his wife and a neighbor were snatched last Thursday by armed men who later demanded P20 million for his release. The family of the victim, Orlando Fajardo, who is suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment, does not have that kind of money.

* Let us hope Fajardo will not suffer the same grisly fate as factory worker Mark Singson, another kidnap victim whose head was found in a bag in the city plaza after his employer failed to pay the ransom demand of P1.5 million.

* In Agusan del Sur, 42 hostages taken by tribal gunmen were released over the weekend after four harrowing days in the mountains. The victims, aged 17 to 62, are too dazed to even wonder what ever happened to their human rights.

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CORRECTION: As jumping sales figures correct themselves to more realistic levels in the stock market, survey results on voters’ preferences for the 2010 presidential election can be expected to adjust or settle later to more plausible scores.

Look into the latest nationwide survey of the Social Weather Stations showing for the first time a drop in the previous score of Liberal Party presidential candidate Sen. Noynoy Aquino from 60 percent last September to 59 percent in November.

The same Nov. 4-8 survey showed Nacionalista Party presidential bet Sen. Manny Villar surging from 37 percent in September to 45 percent in November. That cut frontrunner Aquino’s lead from 23 to just 14.

It was the first time that Aquino’s rating dropped since surveys showed him galloping with more than 50 percent share in preferences in the weeks after the emotion-packed burial of his mother, democracy icon Cory Aquino.

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HAGEDORN RIDER: But note that the November survey showing a narrowing of Aquino’s lead allowed the 1,200 respondents to give not only one but several choices to the question posed in Pilipino:

“Under the present Constitution the term of President Arroyo ends in 2010 and there will be presidential elections in May 2010. Who do you think are the best leaders (mga magagaling na lider) to replace President Arroyo?”

In the same survey, a special question commissioned by Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn asked the respondents to reply with only one choice from a candidates’ list to the question “…whom are you likely to vote for if elections were held today?”

The unique elements of the Hagedorn rider are the respondents’ being (1) given a list of candidates, (2) asked to choose only one and not several candidates, and (3) asked to decide on the basis of elections being held that very same day of the survey, not in May 2010.

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CATCHING UP?: The standing of the top two candidates in the Hagedorn-commissioned question and the other question allowing the respondents to give multiple choices remained with Aquino still ahead of Villar.

Only the gaps in their standing changed. In the Hagedorn question, Aquino scored 47 percent to Villar’s 20, or a difference of 27. But in the multiple-preference responses, Aquino had 59 percent to Villar’s 45, or a smaller difference of 14.

This seems to indicate that voters’ choices can still change substantially between now and Election Day five months from now.

With this observation, Villar partisans raise the possibility that their candidate could close the gap further, and eventually overtake Aquino, as the campaign moves on toward May 2010.

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THE OTHERS: In the multi-preference survey, coming third after Aquino and Villar was Sen. Chiz Escudero whose 15 percent standing in September went up to 27 percent. (He withdrew from the race after the survey, so that did not affect his standing.)

Former president Erap Estrada, who was previously third with 18 percent, dropped below Escudero to fourth place with his 18 percent unchanged.

Administration candidate former Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro jumped to fifth place with a rating of eight percent, or double his previous four percent. His camp is excited over his gains.

These standings being cited are based on the multiple-preference SWS survey, not the Hagedorn one-preference-today question.

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CAMI NOTICE: The Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) will hold its Christmas party and election of officers at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 at the China Place resto, Pan Pacific building, Gen. Malvar corner M. Adriatico sts., Malate.

Present and prospective members may contact acting Secretary General Joe Cortez, 09392207358 for details.

Registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2005 as an organization of Capampangan media practitioners, CAMI aims for fraternal networking; promotion of Pampanga art and literature; and the raising of the standards of Philippine journalism.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 15, 2009)

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