POSTSCRIPT / January 21, 2010 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Pineda better abandon poll protest vs Panlilio

CLARK FIELD – Everybody here seems to know the results of the protest that former provincial board member Lilia “Baby” Pineda had filed against Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio. The talk is that she has won by some 2,000 votes.

But the Commission on Elections division hearing the protest appears afraid to announce and defend the recount results. Its decision, btw, will go up to the en banc, or the poll body’s entire bench.

Either way it goes, the protest will be appealed by the loser to the Supreme Court — triggering a string of related petitions, motions, et cetera, that will so delay a final resolution that even if Pineda wins it might just be a hollow victory.

A final Supreme Court verdict will not put closure to this political dispute. The case will remain hanging in the people’s mind.

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RETURN BOUT: If I were Pineda, I would just leak the unofficial tally (everybody knows it anyway), express satisfaction, and leave it at that — while pursuing my candidacy for governor without pressing the Comelec to install me as governor.

A formal legalistic verdict of a Comelec that is still struggling to make whole again its tattered image is likely to whip up a backlash, especially if the transfer of power to Pineda is mishandled in the mass media.

Such a backfire could take away precious votes from her in the May 10 elections, a political process that, I submit, is the best way (not through a court or a Comelec hearing) to sort out the wishes of Capampangans as to who their governor should be.

Let us just wait for the elections that are only four months away. Let us simplify the Panlilio-Pineda electoral dispute into a return bout through the ballot this May.

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POLITICS-FREE: We are in the midst of an election campaign that has been heating up, but one does not feel it in the air here at the Fontana Convention Center sitting in the somnolent shade of acacias spread around this freeport zone.

Not even the presence of top newsmaker President Gloria Arroyo could stoke the animated exchanges into bursting into political diatribes.

Although she is running for the congressional seat in the second district of her congressman-son Mikey, she is here not as a candidate but as guest of honor at the induction of officers of the non-partisan Capampangan in Media Inc.

In a gathering such as this, Aching Gloria is among friends. But keep in mind that the crowd consists mostly of media professionals who know how to keep their proper distance.

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VAYA CON DIOS: After the CAMI induction and one is seated for lunch to the right of the President, what subject does he bring up without spoiling her appetite or spilling the soup on his barong?

President Benigno Ricafort of the Clark Development Corp. was luckier. Seated opposite her, he was able to update his boss on major CDC projects.

But whatever was brought up, the conversation kept drifting back to Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, who was felled by cardiac arrest in his bathroom the other day.

The President happened to be down south where there were no cellphone signals, so she learned about it much later. Then, they had to travel by boat on rough seas for several hours to Batangas City from where escorts then whisked her to Manila.

It was already in the wee hours when she arrived at the Heritage Park in Fort Bonifacio, where the remains were initially taken for viewing.

As I said in the invocation that kicked off the induction program, “Vaya con Dios, Cerge. Remember us when you are finally in paradise with our Divine Publisher.”

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LOOK AROUND: Cris Icban Jr., chief editor of Manila Bulletin who is CAMI chairman seated to the left of President Arroyo, recalled to her Cerge’s last column published in their paper a day after he died.

In his “Cerge for Truth” column titled “Just look round you,” he wrote:

“A curious visitor (to the majestic St. Paul’s cathedral in London) was asking the caretaker why there was no statue erected in honor of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect who built that great structure. The caretaker showed the visitor a wall within the cathedral with an inscription in Latin that reads: Lector, si monumentum requires, circumspice. Roughly translated in English, it says, ‘Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.’

“I believe that someday we would be reminded of that inscription when people start looking for a monument of one of the most hardworking and successful infrastructure builders of our time — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The proof of her monumental achievements would be everywhere, spanning the whole archipelago.”

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CAMI OFFICERS: I beg your indulgence in my mentioning the CAMI officers inducted yesterday: Cris Icban (Bulletin), chairman; Fred dela Rosa (The Manila Times), vice chairman; Dik Pascual (Philippine Star), president; Ernie Tolentino (DZXQ), vice president/Metro Manila; Fred Roxas (Bulletin), vice president/provinces; Joe Cortez (Philippine Graphic), secretary; Nonnie Pelayo (Business Mirror), treasurer; Ashley Manabat (Banner), auditor.

The directors are: Tony Lozano (Senate media), John Manalili (PBS Radyo ng Bayan), Al Pedroche (Philippine Star Ngayon), Vet Vitug (Northrail), Vot Vitug (Philippine News Agency), Jake Espino (Philippine News Agency) and Willie Capulong (NOW).

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 21, 2010)

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