POSTSCRIPT / November 1, 2015 / Sunday


Opinion Columnist

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Prospects get dimmer for Duterte + Cayetano

THE WINDOW of opportunity continues to get smaller for Sen. Alan Cayetano’s being able to romp off with the vice presidency next May riding on the popularity of his desired presidential running mate Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte’s presidential run is still an iffy proposition: He has declared repeatedly he’s not running for president, he has not filed a certificate of candidacy for president, and the trick of inserting him as substitute for his PDP-Laban party’s supposed bet has run into trouble.

Having been declared by the Commission on Elections as a nuisance candidate, PDP-Laban nominee Martin Diño has backed out to have Duterte take his place before the Dec. 10 deadline.

Diño said he was insulted by the Comelec’s ruling that he did not have money fora nationwide campaign. But it also seems that he had filed a defective COC, especially if he intended Duterte to use that certificate.

Manny Piñol of Duterte’s inner circle said cancelling Diño’s COC would close the door on Duterte’s substituting for him. That substitution would “put the election process in mockery or disrepute”.

Others described Diño’s COC as void from the start for having been filed in bad faith. There is also the matter of several errors in the certificate, rendering it not usable by Duterte.

Election lawyer Romy Macalintal noted that while Dino’s COC was for president, the filer wrote “For Mayor of Pasay City” under “position” sought. And while he was running for a Pasay post, he wrote “Quezon City” as his legal residence.

Macalintal also questioned why Diño’s COC was filed and accepted at the Comelec main office in Intramuros if the candidate was running for Pasay mayor.

As Duterte’s popularity climbed in social media and surveys, his hesitancy has puzzled many. We asked one of his advisers if the mayor may have been sort of blackmailed by detractors holding evidence of human rights violations and such high-handedness.

He said that theory has no basis and that Duterte is the type who cannot be scared by threats of violence or prosecution.

Taxpayer hits BIR rolling out Form 2305

FROM the reactions to our last Postscript saying that political parties should review the source code to be used in the voting-counting machines for the 2016 elections – or forever remain silent – we share this one that segued to tax-payment:

“Source code auditing is a very serious matter. I am not a programmer. The last time I encoded anything in Fortran or Cobol was in the very early 80s. The other equally important thing that must be addressed is – assuming the source code had a decent auditing from as many authorized stakeholders, what is the safeguard that this audited source code is the one that will be ‘re-inserted’ to those PCOS machines? That is just as critical to ensure a credible way out the nowhere-going Tuwid na Daan.

“An aside, but related to the topic of source code, the Bureau of Internal Revenue came out with a new form — 2305. Why would the BIR require companies, in our case, included in the top 20,000 taxpayers from the private corporation sector, the additional cost to accomplish this? Not to mention, aggravation?

“It requires as a minimum a copy of Microsoft Access 2010. We already invested a good sum for Windows 8.1, all upgraded to Windows 10. We also spent for our Microsoft Office 2013. Since Access is a database software, I doubt how many private small companies need to pay for this? Locally, the listed price for Microsoft Office 2013 with Access is P22,000+.

“So, I purchased online a stand-alone copy of Access 2016. As if this added expense is not enough, after paying and downloading my copy, it prompted me that my copy of Microsoft Office 2013 that cost me P4,800 has to be deleted!

“Because BIR made sure we need this Access, I ended up buying online a copy of Microsoft Office 2016. It still escapes me why our government agencies, for their ‘unique wisdom’, insist on using expensive proprietary software when there are free alternatives.

“For the budget BIR gets and for what they collect, the least they can do is pay a software developer ‘na hindi kamaganak o kakilala ng kamaganak’ to create a ‘platform independent’ software for taxpayers to ease the unnecessary added expense. They are already burdened by what they religiously remit to BIR.

“Last Friday, our young employee went to our Regional District Office to clarify some points. She had our copy of a downloaded User Manual that we neatly ring-binded, to hopefully make our concerns clearer. Lo and behold! The obviously but needlessly harassed employees in that RDO had to borrow from our employee a copy of this User Manual for them to photocopy! Duh? Wala silang kopya!?

“A few minutes ago, I had to use my decades-old brain that used to play with database programs to troubleshoot the persistent error popping out from our now just-about working BIR form 2305. There was no technical documentation, aside from the sparse User Manual.

“Hah! I need a copy of Adobe Reader! I had to retrace the error code and use my geekiness to figure this out. To assume that all computers have a copy of Adobe Reader is nuts! Modern browsers can open PDF files. So is my always reliable LibreOffice. And this was not noted in the User Manual.

“By insisting on the minimum requirement of having an Access 2010, either they are adding the financial burden to taxpayers, or they are actually promoting more software piracy!”

(The reader asked us to withhold his name, saying “mahirap magbigay ng constructive criticism sa pikon na pamahalaan”.)

(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 1, 2015)

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