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Political Tidbits
Roxas should push election protest

By Belinda Olivares-Cunanan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:54:00 06/08/2010

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Congress, Government, Mar Roxas

As this column was being written Monday, the new president and vice president were scheduled to be proclaimed Tuesday, ushering in a new administration. There has been a move from the camp of Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Manuel ?Mar? Roxas II to have the proclamation of the winning vice president postponed, in view of a number of issues, including allegations of fraud and unexplained election phenomena. But majority of the members of Congress in the joint session argued that delaying the proclamation of the vice president would be more complicated since the 14th Congress effectively bows out after that event. Another joint session to canvass the results of the vice-presidential race would have to be called by the 15th Congress which convenes only at the end of next month.

* * *

I can see the reason of that argument, and Mar Roxas? only option seems to be to file an electoral protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Here are suggestions from various quarters for Roxas to desist from filing a protest. As the Inquirer put it in Sunday?s editorial, ?Having already sacrificed his ambition for Aquino, (Roxas) must consider whether he is required to do so again, in order to avoid an acrimonious start for the Aquino presidency.? He?s being asked to do what Al Gore did when he accepted the decision of the US Supreme Court declaring his rival George W. Bush as the winner in the 2000 presidential election to stave off a political crisis, amidst allegations of electoral irregularities in Florida.

* * *

But the issues raised against Binay?s camp by Roxas? camp and by the LP itself, led by campaign manager Butch Abad, such as the more numerous null votes in Roxas bailiwicks compared to those in Binay?s strongholds, as well as more votes than registered voters in a lot of places, are very serious and have a bearing on the conduct of future electoral exercises. Out of a patriotic duty, in order to help ensure that the frauds that visited the recent elections do not recur, Roxas should file a protest and press the PET to examine the ballots, especially in Mindanao. He has the financial resources for this, and he may be able to draw technical support from the Philippine Computer Society, which has detailed the weaknesses of the automated elections.

The argument that the Aquino presidency may have an acrimonious start if Roxas presses his protest does not hold water, since the LP camp has been troubled with acrimoniousness throughout the eight months or so of the campaign. There were constant reports of fierce infighting between various factions supporting Noynoy Aquino, which climaxed when the Noynoy-Binay faction surfaced. Revisiting past issues of newspapers, I noted Mar?s hints of betrayal at the hands of certain partymates.

* * *

Anna de Villa-Singson was being untruthful when she wrote in her letter published last Thursday that I had written that she had a PR office which had Comelec among its clients. Earlier, I raised here the opinion of columnist Winnie Monsod that the technical working group-random manual audit (TWG-RMA), chaired by PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa, with OIC Agnes Carreon of the Comelec?s Internal Audit Office and National Statistics Office Chief Carmelita Ericta as members, failed to complete the random manual audit (RMA), which is considered as the first line of defense against fraud in the automated elections. As an aside, I parenthetically threw in three sentences which read: ?(By the way, how true is the rumor going around that her daughter, Ana de Villa-Singson, who actually ran the PPCRV in the recent elections, has a PR office that has Comelec among its clients? If this is true, it would be a clear case of conflict of interest, challenging the credibility of PPCRV?s pronouncements. I?d be delighted to publish Ms Singson?s denial).? It was not a declarative sentence, but clearly an interrogative one, raised because I had received a number of texts about it. Singson?s reply was an autobiographical essay that not only lauded her life journey from corporate woman to stay-at-home mother and advocate of a cause (PPCRV). I have no quarrel with her sense of self-importance. What I don?t like, apart from her being untruthful about my having accused her outright of doing PR for Comelec, is that she has the temerity to lecture me on my professional conduct, when the organization she belongs to had botched up the very crucial election task it had committed to undertake.

* * *

Unlike my two interrogative sentences on De Villa-Singson, the Inquirer?s declarative sentence on my husband last Sunday was clearly off the mark. Counting him among the midnight appointees, this paper reported: ?Thelmo Cunanan, husband of Inquirer columnist Belinda Cunanan, was designated chair of the Social Security System on March 5.? I would have preferred that the SSS cleared this up, but since I was dragged into it, let me set the record straight: General Cunanan was appointed SSS chair in August 2004, a post with a three-year tenure; in 2007 he was re-appointed in an acting capacity. Over the past three years, thanks partly to bureaucratic inefficiency, no confirmation was sent. Thus the designation papers of March 5 merely confirmed his 2007 reappointment which ends on July 10, 2010. No midnight appointment. After six years as a very active SSS chair, he looks forward to a well-deserved retirement next month.

* * *

Reminder: Retrouvaille, the Catholic ministry devoted to helping ailing and troubled marriages, will hold its live-in weekend for couples this Friday June 11, to Sunday afternoon, June 13, at the Mother of Mercy Spiritual Center along SVD Road, Tagaytay City. Help is just a phone call away. Call Fr. Dave Clay, 0918-902-0511 and 525-0308, Inday at 938-9719 or 0916-443-8346, and Neomi at 681-5746 or 0916-395-4642.

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