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No transparency, no honesty EDITORIAL 05/27/2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

No transparency, no honesty

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Poll body officials are clearly irked over the many allegations of automated electoral fraud along with the many pieces of evidence being presented by various losing candidates. But instead of giving their replies as well as explanations on how this massive electronic fraud came about while continuing to defend Smartmatic to the hilt, poll officials focus their ire at the whistleblowers who have come forward to testify to the irregularities in the electronic data transmitted and even at the whistleblowers within the Commission on Elections (Comelec) who blew apart the overpriced bid projects.

The Comelec officials complain that these whistleblowers should not go to the media with their stories and instead come to them to complain.

But that is the problem. They do come to the Comelec first to complain, yet the poll officials never bother to heed any of their complaints. Instead, they threaten to file criminal charges against those who have in their possession evidence of electronic fraud.

For the others, such as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) representative and a resigned lawyer of the Comelec in the office of poll Chairman Jose Melo, when they are invited to “shed light” on the irregularities, the commissioners — specifically Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer — starts shouting at them and pressing his finger on their face, screaming that they are liars. And of naturally, comes the threat to file charges again.

Given such a situation, why should anyone bother to go to the Comelec first, especially when the officials ignore their complaints, and when these are bared by the media, the poll commissioners cry foul, and even give the whistleblowers a dressing-down.

What the Comelec commissioners really want is to keep all these irregularities hush-hush and when these blow up, all they do is to claim that these allegations are all intended to destroy the “credibility and integrity” of the Comelec, which is really a laugh, considering that the Comelec den is filled up with crooks of the first order.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com1.html

A good start FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 05/27/2010

A good start

Ninez Cacho-Olivares

The one good thing about the current National Board of Canvassers is that it promises to act and it is doing so, very differently from the 2004 National Board of Canvassers, in that the two chairmen — Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles — are not going to do a Mr. Noted Act, the infamous method resorted to by the Senate Majority Floor Leader Sen. Francisco Pangilinan and then Deputy Speaker Raul Gonzalez, both of whom covered up the cheating of Gloria Arroyo, with whom they were allied then.

The two chairmen are going to allow the lawyers of candidates to bring up issues, but that they must be buttressed by evidence. As this is being written, the two chairmen are certainly being thorough in getting irregularities out.
Also, if and when certain documents prove to be questionable, then the committee will set these aside and tackle such later.

By coming up with such a firm and fair position, Congress — both the Senate and the House — may just be able to set aright an automated election that has been messed up by the Comelec, Smartmatic and the Comelec cheating syndicate.

Because there appears to be a big difference between the canvassing committee and the Comelec, in that Comelec officials were after speed and damn the sovereign will of the Filipino people, while the Senate and House leaders are after the accuracy of the count and upholding the voice of the people through the ballot.

Because in the end, it really doesn’t matter who sits in Malacañang, and who is the second in command is, or at least the constitutional successor is, because what is more important is that they who will be proclaimed are the genuine choice of the electorate, which is why accuracy of the count, as well as the authenticity of the election documents is very important in this canvassing.

Losers will concede gracefully, when they know that this is the real choice of the people.

Too often, the nation has had the misfortune of having their so-called elected representatives, senators, vice president and president who were never elected by the people but seated in these positions.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com2.html

‘Racehorses of the sky’ launch from NY rooftops focus 05/27/2010

‘Racehorses of the sky’ launch from NY rooftops


NEW YORK — A handful of pigeons circling the drab streets of New York’s suburbs gives no idea of the drama being enacted in the skies over the Big Apple this summer.

These are not ordinary pigeons, the flying rats of urban speak. They’re homing pigeons, winged racers who’ll literally give their lives to cross the finish line.

“They’re the racehorses of the sky,” as Peter Fusco, a 41-year-old pigeon keeper, from the borough of Staten Island, puts it.

Pigeon racing is little-known, but deeply rooted in New York.

So while the sport may have sharply diminished in popularity over recent years, old-timers and younger enthusiasts like Fusco will ensure that this year’s racing season is as fiercely contested as ever.

Keepers, known as fanciers, train their athletes in a game of daring, navigation and endurance. Released hundreds of miles from their home coops, the pigeons brave hawks, storms and deadly power lines to return. Many die.

“They have heart,” Fusco said. “I have birds come home with broken feet, busted keel, and they still made it home.”.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com3.html

Binay wins MR. EXPOSE Amb. Ernesto Maceda 05/27/2010

Binay wins

Amb. Ernesto Maceda
Comelec sources say that with 99 percent of the votes tallied, Jojo Binay (PMP/PDP-Laban) has won the vice presidency with a margin of more than 750,000 over Mar Roxas (LP), garnering more than 13 million votes. Binay won in 14 out of 17 regions. Only Regions VI, VII and Caraga voted for Roxas.

Why did Binay get 4 million votes more than his teammate, President Erap? Clearly because, in addition to getting 90 percent of those who voted for Erap, Binay got votes from those who supported Noynoy, Villar, Gibo Teodoro and Eddie Villanueva.

Gibo got about 3,627,999 million votes. With VP bet Edu Manzano being a non-starter, at least one third or about 1.2 million of Gibo’s votes went to Binay. Remember that Binay has sister city agreements with 379 cities and municipalities, 90 percent of whom are headed by Lakas mayors.

When Loren Legarda’s numbers started to skid to just about 10 percent, many of Manny Villar/NP mayoralty and gubernatorial candidates shifted to Binay. 

And, of course, a substantial bloc of Noynoy supporters, particularly the yellow army led by the Kamaganak Inc. were sympathetic to Binay from the start, punctuated by the Sen. Chiz Escudero endorsement.

But the principal factor in Binay’s victory is the resonance and acceptance of his message “Ganito kami sa Makati” convincing the masa that what “we have done for the residents of Makati, we can do for you,” giving the masa hope for a better life.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com4.html

Kris by a mile BLURBAL THRUSTS Louie Logarta 05/27/2010

Kris by a mile

Louie Logarta
The spectacular career of controversial entertainer Willie Revillame, who had made the noontime variety show Wowowee a huge commercial success for his mother station ABS-CBN and in the process netted himself a tidy fortune that with just a modicum of sobriety could keep him on easy street ‘till the day he dies, has come to a screeching halt.

Ironically, for all his braggadocio, Revillame’s unexpected demise came not at the hands of his erstwhile mentor Joey de Leon of rival GMA 7’s equally if not more popular Eat Bulaga with whom he has a very public running feud allegedly over ingratitude issues or the censors board, under Chairman Consoliza Laguardia, which had suspended his TV show on a number of instances for lewdness, or whatever, but the seemingly harmless and soft-spoken gay showbiz writer Jobert Sucaldito who also hosts an afternoon radio program on station dzMM which is part of the ABS-CBN Network.

Ostensibly, that is. Revillame’s demise from his lofty perch in ABS-CBN’s totem pole of celebrities as the star of the game show program for which he reportedly receives remuneration amounting to an unheard of P1 million (approximately) per episode is said to have been occasioned by his rift with Sucaldito that resulted in him hurling an ultimatum at network bosses led by owner Gabby Lopez, Charo Santos, Bong Osorio, etc. to get rid of the catty radio talent or he would be forced to resign from the show.

Reports said Sucaldito had gotten the ire of Revillame for his constant needling on air about the sophomoric manner Wowowee was being handled.

“Nanawagan ako sa management ng ABS-CBN, huwag ninyo namang payagan na tinitira ang show.... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com5.html

Congratulations and lamentations VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 05/27/2010

Congratulations and lamentations

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz

Truth to tell, multi-million Filipinos wanted honest and credible 2010 national elections — for a change. They have had one too many Philippine elections that were identified with glaring fraud and flagrant cheating. This has been the main reason upright and competent citizens avoided both local and national politics as a dirty play, a big pest. That was why when the Filipinos were told by the still reigning administration that they would have high-tech fully automated elections, they could not but look forward to the political exercise with much anticipation and pride. And with ample reason: The most corrupt and wherefore the poorest underdeveloped country in Asia was precisely the first one to have it much publicized — not only its supposedly full-scale but also allegedly full-proof mechanized electoral process. It was then not only good but great news!

Such wonder plus expectation was precisely the reason multi-million Filipinos — the young and the adult, the elderly and disabled — all trooped to the so-called “clustered precincts.” So what if a good number of them did not know what to do. Never mind if the heat of the day was practically unbearable. It was not important if there were long multi-lines of voters all sweating and impatient to cast their votes. The PCOS appeared to be wonder machines. The ballots looked both impressive and awesome. The elections had all the proper advertisements and needed promotions to psych the Filipino electorate into believing that the country would definitely have dependable and trustworthy elections — at long last!... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com6.html

Torch at the center By Ronald Roy VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 05/27/2010

Torch at the center

By Ronald Roy


Let me stress just one last time that former President Erap Estrada is the best qualified to run this country for the next six years — based on the documented strength of his accumulated executive and legislative experience. This I say not so much in the spirit of doing justice to one who was unconstitutionally evicted by an ungrateful power grabber nine years ago, as in the spirit of returning that power to the sovereign Filipino people who had resoundingly elected him their president in 1998.

Let me stress just one last time that I’ve never been a part of Erap’s media outfit, and therefore have never been hired or asked to write nice things about him since he became a mayor of San Juan up to the present, and that I’ve never asked him a favor nor ever have been granted one by him. I hope this puts to rest the persistent needling of some people that I campaigned for Erap whose lack of fortune at the polls would mean my getting nothing by way of a reward. I campaigned for him out of a conviction and a civic duty to get the right and deserving man to show the evil regime the exit door.

The elections may be generally perceived as over at this stage — barring the intrusion of divine justice of course — thanks to the premature grandstanding not only of winners and “high-fiving” officials from the Comelec and Smartmatic, but also, can you believe, to the diplomatic breach by US Ambassador Harry Thomas. 

In the latter’s case, can anyone pray tell me what standards of diplomacy brought the African-American diplomat to pay a courtesy call on Noynoy Aquino to congratulate him even before his official proclamation by Congress? In fact, Thomas had previously congratulated President Arroyo, barely hours after the polling places closed at 7 of the night of May 10, for what he judged as fast, clean and honest elections. Now the ambassador is an IT specialist!
.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100527com7.html

Auto polls’ integrity compromised, NBoC finds By Charlie V. Manalo 05/27/2010

As multi-snafus of Comelec, tech provider are bared

Auto polls’ integrity compromised, NBoC finds

By Charlie V. Manalo

Errors galore by the technical provider as well as the poll body’s incompetence marked the presidential and vice presidential canvassing yesterday, stalling the actual canvassing of votes.

An official of Smartmatic who provided the automated machines, along with the system adopted for the country’s first automated elections, yesterday apologized to the congressional canvassing board for the “erroneous” number of registered voters reflected during the initialization process of the consolidation and canvassing system (CCS) server to be used by the National Canvassing Board in the tally of votes for president and vice president.

“I apologize for the error that is presented in the server,” Smartmatic president for Asia-Pacific Cesar Flores told the joint congressional canvassing committee yesterday, even as he continued to assure that the data “error” of over 250 million registered voters as recorded in the server “does not have an impact on the individual certificates of canvass.

It was also found by congressional canvassing committee that in many instances, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allowed the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) to do as they pleased in preparing two certificates of canvass, a separate one for the president, and another for the vice president, even when the Comelec officials claimed were just one CoC, not two.

Lawmakers quizzed the Comelec for having two sets of CoC for the two highest positions as the congressional canvassing committee reconvened to settle questions on the authenticity of the CoCs before starting its count.
Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that the CoC per area came only from one file but printed in several pages. He claimed that the CoC for one Luzon provinc e was classified only as one document but has 36 pages, as there was pagination.

On the matter of the bloated number of voters, with the data registering some 257 million voters was claimed to be a “program error” which was transmitted to the Senate.

Cesar Flores admitted to this error, but said that this error was only for the national level.

“There was an error in the program. It was adding after per level. When the figure is transmitted to the provincial level, it was added to the figure from the precinct level and so on and so forth,” he said, saying this has resulted in the bloatred numbers of registered voters.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100527hed1.html

P500-M Esperon project graft-infested; P170M lost By Michaela P. del Callar 05/27/2010

P500-M Esperon project graft-infested; P170M lost

By Michaela P. del Callar

A P500-million project for rebel returnees initiated by former Peace Process Adviser retired Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, a close ally of President Arroyo, is infested by graft with P170 million worth of funds unaccounted for, current Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle Abaya told reporters yesterday.

Abaya bared “systemic corruption” involving senior and mid-level officials in her office, saying millions of pesos have been wasted on pay-offs, illegal disbursements, and illegitimate purchase of vehicles.

Speaking to a select group of journalists in her office in Pasig City, Abaya said she uncovered at least P170-million worth of funds intended for the government’s P500-million rebel integration program missing and unaccounted for. The budget for the Social Integration Program (SIP), a pet project of Esperon, was released in two tranches amounting to P250 million each since 2009.

“I found out that the first half of the budget was (completed) in one year. Only 36 percent went to the intended recipients. The rest were unauthorized purchases of cars, set-up and beautification of offices, representation, travel, supplies, and other expenditures still being figured out to this day,” Abaya said.

Under the program, rebel returnees are given P20,000 each upon their ‘surrender’ and an additional P50,000 for the turnover of weapons with promises of jobs and livelihood projects.

On top of the missing funds, Abaya also disclosed that money in allowances, bonuses, and perks were liberally given in the OPAPP but not in accordance to law while documentation was either missing or defective.

“We couldn’t even find the registration papers of 14 new cars. Of these, two cars were missing for four months but then suddenly manifested in our parking lot, without keys or papers.”... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100527hed2.html

Morato corroborates Adaza’s cheating operations report By Gerry Baldo 05/27/2010

Morato corroborates Adaza’s cheating operations report

By Gerry Baldo

Former director of the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board and now director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Manuel Morato yesterday corroborated the testimony of lawyer Homobono Adaza that seven men, among whom were at least four Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials, had offered to rig the May 10 elections.

According to Morato, Adaza’s testimony was true and that the seven men had indeed visited him in his office offering their “services” to make Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro win the polls.
The group, said Morato, wanted him to be the conduit to Teodoro.

“I gathered from a friend, lawyer Bono Adaza, that he had mentioned to you that there were seven people who came to my place, sometime in early February offering me a certain operation. And that’s what I would like to relate to you here and I have nothing really scandalous to say here and I would like to attest to the veracity of what my friend, lawyer Adaza, who is not my lawyer, that he told the truth, that I indeed related it to him,” Morato told members of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms during the continuation of their hearing.

Morato said that he is a supporter of Teodoro and that the seven men had wanted to make him a
conduit for the Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet but stressed to the group that Teodoro wouldn’t engage in cheating operations.

“It was being offered to presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro through me. I was supposed to be the conduit because they could not get hold of Gilbert Teodoro. So when I asked them to relate to me what it was all about, they said that for the amount of P1-billion, they could do a certain operation to ensure the winning of the candidate and I immediately cut them off and this is what I told them: i said, what you are tyring to tell me is out of character for Gilbert Teodoro to indulge in such an operation,” Morato said under oath.

He said that he alleged operations was two-pronged.

“They told me that the operation is two pronged: you can either cheat or they can protect you from being cheated,” he said quoting the suspects..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100527hed3.html

Abcede to force through Imelda jewelry auction 05/27/2010

Abcede to force through Imelda jewelry auction


Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Commissioner Ricardo Abcede is set on a collision course with his colleagues including his boss, PCGG chairman Camilo Sabio as he said he intends to pursue the auction of the jewelry collection of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

To underline his determination to pursue the auction before a new administration takes over on July 1, Abcede met with Sancroft Baker, representative of Christie’s auction house yesterday afternoon at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

Baker will start appraising the Roumeliotes collection after representatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), PCGG, Office of the President and the Commission on Audit (COA) retrieved the jewelry sets from the BSP vault where they are stored. 

Abcede said a gemologist from Sotheby will also arrive Thursday, to likewise conduct the appraisal. 

“These are all for the purpose of bidding for the right to auction the jewelry. By Friday, all appraisals would be completed after which a final meeting with the Department of Finance, Commission on Audit, Bureau of Customs and the PCGG would be held,” Abcede said. 

At the same time, the official defended his action on pursuing the auction despite the opposition of Sabio and Commissioners Tereso Javier, Narciso Nario and Jaime Bautista to the plan. 

In opposing Abcede’s plan, they said it “is not timely to consider the (auction) because this could be viewed as a so-called midnight transaction” adding that “they are in favour of leaving this matter to the next Commission.” 

The term of the current PCGG chairman and commissioners is set to end next month. 

The Commission also said “there has been no Resolution of the Commission authorizing the sale of the (Marcos jewelry) collection,” the Commission said.... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100527hed6.html

No word yet from Comelec body on P690-million folder scam By Marie Surbano 05/27/2010

No word yet from Comelec body on P690-million folder scam

By Marie Surbano

Poll Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal admitted that the panel created to probe the more than half a billion ballot secrecy folder procurement scam has not submitted its report yet.

Larrazabal said they are still waiting for the report of the three-man panel headed by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Ferdinand Rafanan who heads the commission’s law department.

“I have not read anything… we are just waiting for the report,” he told reporters.

When pressed what could be the reason for the delay in the submission of the report, Larrazabal declined to offer any comment, saying he would not want to assume anything.

“The panel was created to investigate it and we will just wait for the report,” reiterated the commissioner.

Last month, the Comelec en banc ordered the creation of a three-man panel to probe the alleged overpricing in the procurement of more than 1.8 million ballot secrecy folders valued at P689.7 million or P380 per piece. The supplier was OTC Paper Supply.

The commission had originally given Rafanan’s team only until April 20 to complete the investigation but it was extended to April 30 upon the request of Rafanan.

Meanwhile, Larrazabal said that a separate investigation is also being conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman on the anomalous deal..... MORE  

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100527hed5.html

CA denies habeas writ to Air Force ‘whistleblower’ By Benjamin Pulta 05/27/2010

CA denies habeas writ to Air Force ‘whistleblower’

By Benjamin Pulta

The Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down the petition questioning the continued detention of a Philippine Air Force (PAF) officer who was arrested and charged for uploading videos on a Web site detailing massive corruption among PAF officials.

In a 22-page decision issued by Associate Justice Franchito Diamante, the CA’s Special Former Ninth Division held that the petitioner, Maria Cristina Pogoy, failed to prove that the continued detention of his husband, Air Force Capt. Joenel Pogoy, violates the latter’s right to life, liberty and security that should entitle him to the privileges of amparo and habeas data.

The CA said the privilege of habeas corpus can no longer be availed of by the petitioner as formal charges have already been filed against her husband before the court martial.

Capt. Pogoy is being detained at the Custodial Center in Villamor Airbase while awaiting trial on the charges filed against him, which include violation of Articles of War 96 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman) 97 (disorders and neglects prejudicial to good order and military discipline) and 64 (disrespect toward superior officer).

“Definitely, the charges against Pogoy are not relating to minor offenses as the videos he is suspected to have uploaded in the Internet, by their very nature or tenor, bring discredit upon the Philippine military. Hence, they are serious charges that, to the mind of this Court, justify his continuous detention in the military base,” the CA said in its ruling..... MORE    

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20100527nat1.html

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