On Monday, 23 July 200y, the 14th Congress will convene. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will deliver her State of the Nation Address to the joint session of both House of Congress – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Mrs. Arroyo will be the one delivering the SONA thanks to former COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano aka Garci. We all know the love story of Ma’am and Garci.Among the distinguished luminaries who will in attendance in what they call the august chamber on Monday will be Juan Miguel Zubiri, the last senator-elect to be proclaimed by the COMELEC. Zubiri (I still balk at calling him senator) would not be there if not for another COMELEC official Maguindanao Provincial Election Supervisor (PES: read kapal ng PES) Lintang Bedol who was responsible for the dagdag-bawas operations in the province of Maguindanao which gave Zubiri the votes he needed to topple fellow Mindanaoan Koko Pimentel from the 12th and final slot in the Senate.
I am still grappling for understanding why the COMELEC accepted the Maguindanao votes as valid and consequently proclaimed Zubiri on the basis of the lead he obtained from the votes of that province. Didn’t it matter to them that they caught Lintang Bedol submitting a tampered certificate of canvass (COC) that forced them to set aside the COC? Didn’t it matter to them that a few days later Lintang Bedol went into hiding ignoring their summons to appear before the National Board of Canvassers to explain the questions surrounding the tampered COCs? Didn’t it matter to them that Lintang Bedong later on surfaced to announce that the municipal certificates of canvass (municipal election results) disappeared into thin air? Didn’t it matter that later on the municipal election supervisors of Maguindanao appeared before the COMELEC’s special task force and presented what they claim to be the genuine the municipal COCs that they accepted them as genuine and ordered a special canvassing board to tally the municipal reports? Haven’t they heard the cries of Musa Dimasidsing who was gunned down because he came out to testify against the fraud committed in the Maguindanao election?
Didn’t they even get a tad suspicious when the results from the COCs showed that it was Juan Miguel Zubiri who was the topnotcher in Maguindanao and not Chavit Singson who was the topnotcher in the first Maguindanao results? And that this came about just when Zubiri needed the votes to overtake Koko Pimentel for the final Senate slot?
Well, maybe these and other circumstances may have led the Commissioners to initially doubt the validity of the election results from Maguindanao but when the arguments for and against the inclusion of these results were done, they found no reason to exclude the result from Maguindanao.
WHOOOOAAAAA!!!! I’m sure ordinary folks have seen what the COMELEC refuses to see. Maybe everyone, except the COMELEC of course, knows that the tampered results from Maguindanao should have been counted given the circumstances.
I saw the evidence of dagdag-bawas first hand. I attended the National Canvassing for the partylist election on several occasions especially when the results from the ARMM provinces were presented. I saw the tampered results and we were able to correct some of them but most passed the “standards” of the COMELEC despite the protests of the watchers and despite the glaring signs of tampering on the documents.
The dagdag-bawas operations have been part of our elections for many years, however, this year it has grown worse and more blatant. In fact the operations expanded to other provinces outside the ARMM. More COMELEC officials are getting involved. I do not wonder why. Nobody has been punished yet on the contrary most, if not all, of those mentioned and whose voices were heard in the Garci tapes are still in their positions or have even been promoted. The one who said “Hello Garci” is still President. The one she called Garci is still free and was even able to run for congressman. The military and police generals mentioned were promoted.
Until we learn to punish the culprits severely our elections will continue to be dirty and will even get dirtier every time. In 2004 it was Garci and Gloria… in 2007 it was Bedol ans Zubiri… who would it be in 2010?
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