Archive for the ‘2010 elections’ Category

Marcos 'inauguration' February 25, 1986

Through this blog, I wish to share comments and my responses to them re the entry entitled “The political rehabilitation of the Marcoses”.

Mon Casiple believes that many of the 2010 voters are young and have no personal recollection of Marcosian martial rule. And that name recall is the ‘name’ (pun intended) of the senatorial game.

He infers therefore that many of these voters without knowledge of the past voted for Bongbong. This is a hypothesis that can be verified empirically. Niva Gonzales is of the same persuasion.

Pancho Lara wanted to know my take on why the Marcoses, particularly Bongbong, managed to get elected to a national post.

My answer:

Bongbong ran a skillful campaign by emphasizing the ‘good things’ (including the electricity-generating wind-mills) he had accomplished while governor in Ilocos Norte. Furthermore, no negative vote campaign was mounted against him. All fire was concentrated on GMA and the most likely sources of criticism–Satur Ocampo and Liza Masa–were quite compromised given that they were on the same ticket with Manny Villar as standard-bearer.

Both would have done the nation a great service by attacking GMA and Bongbong simultaneously.

Akbayan I believe can also be found lacking in this regard.

If the nation’s memory continues to be spotty, then FM II may just be a cruel reality. If that happens, then much of the blame may lie on us–those who went through the horrors of the dictatorship–but have not apparently done much to contest revisionist history.

Wow! Panalo sa obfuscation!

For example, I did not see us joining the lonely campaign of that educator (whose name I cannot even recall at the moment) to correct many of the public school textbooks, many of which continue to extol the dictator.

I believe the singular insight that we could draw from the Marcoses’ rehabilitation is that our work, our struggle is far from over. It has in fact taken on a new dimension.

We should never blame the mass of ordinary voters for the mandates of the likes of Senators Bongbong, Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid. It simply means that we have not done enough.

But this means we will have to seriously address the issue: how will we–those who fought against the dictatorship–make ourselves a weightier actor in the Philippine political arena?

How can we build bridges to citizens–both organized and unorganized–who have no experience of martial law and have vague recollections of the same so they could join us in rejecting an unrepentant Marcos faction at the polls?

How should we deal with the opinion of many voters who believe that Marcosian rule was comparatively better given the shenanigans of post-Marcos ‘democratic’ governments?

We need to give democracy a ‘good’ name and convince one and all that it is superior to authoritarianism.

Our general task is to transform our current procedural democracy (some say it is an oligarchical democracy) into a substantial one that is more responsive to the needs of the greater majority and the under-classes.

Specifically, we should bring the struggle to the door-steps of the Marcoses. We should wage a tit-for-tat, or better yet, a n > 1-tit-for-one-tat, struggle against them. We should not leave any self-serving interview or press release unanswered.

Though difficult, we should bring the struggle to Ilocos and Leyte even as we continue to consider the big picture.

We should not neglect the international dimension of the contest. We could draw on the support of the various anti-Marcos dictatorship movements in different parts of the world.

The work is cut for us! Will we be up to it?

The Imeldific hooting and wooting? Who can blame her given her family's good run at the polls?


Again, some prefatory disclosures are in order.  I was an ‘unwilling guest’ of the Marcosian detention camps from September 16, 1973 to December 12, 1974.  I was tortured during a tactical interrogation period of about two to three weeks or so at various security agencies (some of which are no longer in existence) including the Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Investigation Service (MPIS), and the 5th Constabulary Security Unit (CSU).

The namesake of the dictator (who painstakingly imitates his baritone voice) has just been proclaimed Senator of the Republic.

Bongbong Marcos

Imelda and the embalmed dictator

The flamboyant dictator’s wife (of the thousand-shoes-notoriety) is representative-elect of the second district of her late husband’s home province.

The former chieftain of the Marcosian national youth organization (Kabataang Barangay) will soon be governor of the same province by besting a cousin at the polls.

Imee Marcos

The sovereign people has spoken.

While these same Marcoses have gained popular mandates from their paisans in Ilocos Norte and Leyte in the past, the victory of Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. represents the first opportunity that a politician directly connected to the late dictator has won national approval.

Bongbong himself sought a senatorial seat in 1995 but failed.

The Imeldific stood for the presidency in 1992 and was blamed for splitting the vote that could have gone Danding Cojuangco’s way.

The political rehabilitation of the Marcoses have emboldened them not only to stick to the old position that the dictator (and by extension, his family) has nothing to apologize for with respect to his rule from September 1972 to February 1986.

Now you have Bongbong casting his moist eyes on occupying the presidential palace after the 2016 elections.  Perhaps, we may have to thank Jojo Binay, Chiz Escudero, and Mar Roxas for being available to thwart this nightmare.

Some of you might say that we should give Bongbong the benefit of the doubt; that we should not visit the sins of the father (nay the parents) upon the son.

But that argument rests on the premise that he was not complicit with his father’s crimes; that he did not personally benefit from the same; and that he did not at the very least commit sins of omission.

He sees nothing wrong with his father’s rule.  He denies they acquired ill-gotten wealth. He denies his father cheated during the 1986 snap presidential elections.  He maintains that his father’s ouster was an American-inspired conspiracy.

In a recent interview with Agence France-Presse, Bongbong elaborated the following thoughts on alleged human rights abuses during his father’s rule:

1.  He initially said that some minor incidents–such as a drunken soldier beating some one up–MAY have occurred while his father was in power. Meaning he was not even sure or he is not willing to concede that even a MINOR incident even happened.

I will assure Senator Bongbong that the policemen and the intelligence officers who tortured me and my companions during my tactical interrogation sessions were quite sober.

2. He asserts however that it was not national policy to commit human rights abuses.

Retort:  Assertions to the contrary are cheap.  Hasn’t Senator Bongbong heard of command responsibility?  During the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the defendants sought to excuse themselves by claiming they were simply following orders.  In this case, you have Bongbong saying we are blameless because the soldiers and the rank-and-file were acting on their own.  Talk about a novel defense.  In my language, I call it konkretong palusot!

3.  Pushed further on issues such as the detention of journalists, the closure of newspapers, and the imposition of martial law, he said that such measures were needed to contain wars against Muslim and communist rebels.

He adds:  “So the war rules applied, I suppose, in that regard.”

I can’t help but get sarcastic with the new legal scholarship forwarded by Senator Bongbong Marcos.  Can he cite the pertinent sections of international conventions on war  that permits the detention of journalists and closure of newspapers? Not unless he justifies unbridled war?

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Imeldific was confident of winning back much of the wealth seized from her family.

The Lady, known for her large collection of jewelry and 1,200 pairs of shoes, said she would not accept a compromise deal but would pursue her claims through the courts.

“I am sure that the things that are ours and truly ours will come back,” the 80-year-old told Reuters by phone from the northern Ilocos Norte province. “Truth and justice sometimes grind exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly well”.

Indeed, the contestation regarding truth over Marcosian rule will get fiercer over the next six years given the recent rehabilitation of the Marcoses on the national level.  Such contestation will determine whether another Marcos will occupy Malakanyang come 2016.

I really hate to be a spoil-sport but I will go on just the same and raise some questions re the May 10 general elections.

The Inquirer today reports that “[T]he number of disenfranchised voters in last Monday’s election may range from 2 million to 8 million, a figure that could have changed the picture of the vice presidential and senatorial races, according to the Commission on Elections’ consultant on queue management.

While the automated voting was a success, Marvin Beduya said other aspects of the May 10 computerized elections may be considered a failure.

Beduya is quoted saying: “I think we should celebrate the success of the automated voting soberly and with the thought that it may not have delivered the true will of the people, the key purpose of elections, in a manner that is very difficult to prove”.

The long lines and the crowds wilting outside the polling precincts may have discouraged millions of voters from exercising their right to vote, said Beduya, an adjunct professor at the Asian Institute of Management, in his blog

He said this may have affected the outcome in the tight races, particularly in the vice presidential contest between Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Sen. Manuel Roxas II. The margin of votes between the two candidates was just under a million votes.

Basing his computation on the voter turnout, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting data, and the historical record, Beduya said between 1.91 million to 7.92 million voters may have decided not to turn out and vote—what other analysts have termed “self-disenfranchisement.”

“I am inclined to believe that these discouraged voters who came from the demographic of the elderly and the disabled, mainly in the urban areas and so may have voter preferences skewed to certain candidates,” he said.

Aside from the vice presidential race, this management failure may also have affected the contest among the 11th-, 12th- and 13th-placed senatorial candidates. Based on historical data, the margins between the candidates in these spots are small.

Beduya said the congestion at the polling centers was due to such factors as the clustering of the precincts, the board of election inspectors lack of training to handle the large numbers of voters, and technical anxiety about the voting machines.

Let me comment on Beduya’s observations.  How can anybody celebrate the ‘success’ of the automated election system if one similarly recognizes that it may not have reflected the ‘true will of the people’ given the large numbers of apparently disenfranchised voters?

I also argue that Beduya makes an unwarranted conclusion when he declares that the disenfranchisement only affects the contest between Roxas and Binay for the vice presidential post as well as the contest for the 11th up to the 13th senatorial posts.

I think it can also affect the presidential contest between Noynoy and Erap.

Let me first declare that I will give up my Filipino citizenship if Erap gets a second lease in the presidential palace.

Let me also say that I have already accepted Noynoy as the 15th president of the Republic.

However, if some 2 to 8 million voters were disenfranchised last Monday, then even Noynoy’s spectacular lead over Erap of close to 5 million votes does not guarantee that he actually won the polls especially if we take the high end of the estimate.

Of course, we will not know how the disenfranchised would have voted last Monday.  For all we know, most of them would have still voted for Noynoy.

But that is precisely the point.  We will not know and we cannot know–a point that Beduya himself recognizes.

We should really pay attention to improving the queue management system, as Beduya was reported to have recommended last Tuesday.  It may have been a mistake to cluster precincts and prior time-and-motion studies should have been mounted to see if 1,000 voters per clustered precinct could be properly serviced within the designated voting time period.

Conrad de Quiros and Harry Roque are reportedly happy to be proven ‘wrong’ re their apprehensions over the new voting system.  The local bourse also reacted favorably with upbeat indices.

Elsewhere, Moody’s believes the absence of doubt re Noynoy’s victory is favorable to the country’s credit rating.  The credit rating agency said the seeming consensus that Aquino was the clear winner of the 2010 presidential election meant that the probability of disruptions created by protests by losing candidates is low.

Consequently, Moody’s said, the absence of chaos in the political front appeases investors and encourages a positive outlook on the Philippine economy.

Given Beduya’s observations regarding substantial voter disenfranchisement, aren’t the celebrations and congratulations premature?  Or shouldn’t they be at least qualified?

I strongly share Mr. Beduya’s opinion and concern that we cannot simply move on and feel good about Monday’s elections.  We need to dissect our first stab at automated elections, identify shortcomings, and implement measures to correct them so they will  not happen again in future elections.

Finally, can’t the COMELEC be put to task for allowing disqualified presidential candidate Acosta to still be made available to voters?  Large notices regarding his disqualification should have been posted in every precinct to warn voters who will choose him that they are wasting their votes!


Smartmatic/TIM PCOS machines: Will they work to contract specifications today?

The Philippine Star reports today that “foreign investors have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, putting on hold or temporarily withdrawing their investments in the Philippines due to jitters over today’s elections, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

Gunigundo is quoted saying: “We continue to see inflows from the external markets. Perhaps if there will be – we don’t have the numbers yet – it is because of election jitters”.

He also pointed out that foreign investors could have adopted a wait-and-see attitude because of the uncertainties brought about by the May 10 elections.

Guinigundo said the jitters could have forced investors in the financial and equities markets to temporarily pull out their investments in the Philippines.

What Gunigundo had observed are signs of the political-business cycle in the Philippines, a phenomenon identified years earlier by UP School of Economics dean Noel de Dios.  Post-1987, the cycle theoretically repeats every six years, that is, every time a new president is elected.  Since the Philippine president is restricted to a single term, investors apparently adopt a wait-and-see stance in the early months of the term of the new president to discern his (or her) general policy preferences and programme.  Then as the policy landscape firms up, investments (including portfolio) will come back in.

Investors may also opt to exit before the presidential elections so they may not be forcibly locked in during the early term of the incoming national chief executive.  This is insurance in case the new president adopts policies unfriendly to capital.

It is an empirical matter whether the cycle was observed since the year 2000.  If we may recall, President Estrada’s grip on power started slipping when his erstwhile ally, Gov. Chavit Singson, started singing about jueteng payolas in late 2000.  Then it was almost a fast break to his derailed impeachment and his eventual ouster in January 2001.  I surmise that capital left the country in late 2000 and adopted a cautious attitude through the first three quarters 2001 as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had to consolidate her grip on power in the light of the challenge of the poor people uprising of April-May 2001.

I also hypothesize that capital adopted the same wary stance prior to the May 2004 presidential elections.  It would be curious to find out how capital behaved in response to the 2003 Oakwood mutiny , the ‘Hello Garci’ revelations and the political crisis generated in the middle of 2005 and the attempted coup of February 2006.  May I call on Noel de Dios to do the appropriate study.

If today’s elections will be concluded successfully, investors will have no cause for alarm because a presidency either by Noynoy Aquino or Manny Villar will mean the adoption of orthodox or centrist business policy.  Investors may be quite wary of a new Estrada presidency given the latter’s demonstrated propensity to give preference to his midnight cronies.

To be fair, investors may also be cautious about allegations regarding Villar’s use of governmental powers in favor of his own business interests.  If Villar wins the presidency, he will have to assign his assets to a blind trust or to divest completely and convincingly to avoid tremendous conflict-of-interests issues.

Of course, if elected president, Noynoy must likewise disclose his assets, assign them to a blind trust or divest, and assure the electorate that he will not use or will not be used so his clan’s control over Hacienda Luisita will continue or that the Supreme Court will rule on the long-standing temporary restraining order against the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s ruling for distribution of Luisita land to its farm workers.

The last time we heard news about Hacienda Luisita is that it is heavily indebted.  Thus, we have to be assured by Noynoy that if he gets elected president, the estate will not get preferential credit especially from government financial institutions.

What exercises investors’ worries more than who will be the successor in the presidential palace are grave concerns regarding the automated electoral system adopted for the first time (without any piloting) amid all these news regarding malfunctioning PCOS machines, undelivered and untested flash cards, non-independently-verified machine source codes, and the like.

The worry list is quite long.

Hence the prudential behavior of capital.

Is he trying to make a point re Guido Delgado?

Prefatory disclosures:  I was the chief of staff of then Representative Manuel A. Roxas II from September 1994 to April 1995.

For the May 10 elections, I have my own choices for president and vice-president but I will not and cannot openly campaign for them.

As a faculty member of the state university, the University of the Philippines, I cannot engage in prohibited partisan activity as in openly campaigning for a particular candidate or candidates or a political party.

With those matters dealt with, let’s proceed to my latest no-brainer question (NBQ).


Why won’t Manny Villar sanction ex-National Power Corporation president Guido Delgado for releasing in a press conference a so-called psychiatric report on then 19-year-old Noynoy Aquino alleging that the teen-ager was suffering from depression and melancholia?

Even after the alleged author of the report, Fr. James Bulatao, denied that he ever made and signed the same report?

Even when Guido Delgado himself burdened the journalists present to prove or verify the allegations in the said report?

Even as reports indicate that Delgado (or Delgado’s camp) was responsible for an earlier faked psychiatric report supposed signed by Father Caluag?

Will an excuse that Delgado was a just a ‘volunteer’ suffice for Villar’s nonchalance?

Does being a volunteer exonerate someone

Manny Villar

from the consequences of his public acts?

Depression?  Melancholia?  Give the teen-aged Noynoy a break!

If I had my father in prison and our family friends were ostracizing (or at least avoiding contact with) us,  I am entitled to be depressed and to be melancholic.

How about the earlier Caluag report alleging that Noynoy was manic-depressive?

The new term for this condition is actually bipolarity.

Mind you, bipolarity is not insanity.

In fact, insanity I believe is a legal and not a psychiatric category.  If one is declared insane, he will be deemed not fit to stand trial and thus could not be convicted for apparently criminal acts.

I suspect that the attorneys of Andal Ampatuan Jr. are preparing to plead insanity for their client what with him declaring support for Villar one day and then declaring support for Noynoy a few days afterwards.

I repeat: bipolarity is not insanity.

I say this not to clear Noynoy because nobody has yet established that he is diagnosed bipolar.

I say this to correct public misperceptions about bipolarity.

I am a diagnosed bipolar and I am not insane.

You can ask my psychiatrist who is campaigning for Villar.

However, I have to first ask his permission  before I reveal his name.

Noynoy and Kris

Here’s the easiest no-brainer-question (NBQ) I have composed so far.

Would his candidacy for the presidential post have been a viable one if Noynoy was not the son of his famous parents?

Would he be topping the surveys since September last year?

If his mother did not die in a very timely and opportune fashion in August last year?

If he was not the brother of Kris Aquino? Of Ballsy? Of Viel? Of Pinky?

If Mar Roxas did not make way for him?

If his girlfriend was not a run-a-way looker and a formidable politician in her own right?

But apparently to many voters, these are reasons enough for them to support Noynoy.

I just hope they have made the right choice.

Manny Villar trying to make a point

Would the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have given Manny Villar the extra ‘time of day’ if he was a mere private citizen and not the Senate president in 2007?

Villar claims he met PSE officials as a private citizen.

At the time, Villar met with the PSE board in June 2007 when he was the Senate president and called SEC officials regarding a now-controversial (secondary) public offering of shares of his real estate firm, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc.

Now, Villar claims he did not violate any law since the PSE was a private entity and that the latter had the discretion to waive the so-called 180-day lock-up rule on the shares his family owned.  He also ‘explains’ that government did not lose any money from the deal.  In fact, he claims that government earned more than P100 million in taxes from the public offering.

The Vista land issue was recently brought to the public’s full attention by Erap’s camp even if talk about the controversial public offering was percolating since last year.

What irony!  When Erap was impeached for, among others, corruption charges re jueteng pay-offs, he exonerated himself by saying no government money was involved and thus no law was violated.

Villar was the same Speaker of the House who transmitted (ala Bicol express train chu chu!) the articles of impeachment against Erap to the Senate through an opening prayer. Talk about creativity! Talk about daring!

And now the tide has turned.  In response, the Villar camp reminds us all re Erap’s Best World caper and the ‘tamaan ka ng lintik‘ warning against then SEC chair, now Bangon Pilipinas vice presidential bet Perfecto ‘Jun’ Yasay, Jr.

This may all the case of the pot calling the kettle black and vice-versa.   However, black cooking vessels may still be capable of spewing truths.