‘Noel’

What would we think if an election would not take place on the scheduled 2016? Of course, we will be asking why. Perhaps, for ordinary citizen like us, the holding or not holding the local and national elections does not matter at all. However, for those whose chances of winning are great, any idea about the postponement of an election is unacceptable. On the contrary, those whose administration is replete with suspicion of corruption and immorality will definitely be glad no end. The same thought of relief would probably be in the minds of politicians whose reelection to office hangs in the balance.

The next local and national election in the country is on May 2016. The election includes the president, senators, congress, governors, and town mayors.

However, this early, this column wishes to forewarn the readers that a “no election” would likely take place as dictated by events. Certainly, one of the reasons for the suspension of the scheduled national and local elections would be to perpetuate in power at all cost. The idea of perpetuation is attainable under justifying conditions. In other words, those who are in control of the reign of power could make justification whether an election is necessary. Aside from this, there are also circumstantial events that might justify the withholding of the election.

We hate to discuss about scenarios that could justify the suspension of the election in 2016. However, the events unfolding before our eyes are giving us a clear indication that “Noel” (no election) is likely to take place.

What are these scenarios? Everyone who reads and listens to everyday news stories have already an insight of the things to happen in the near future.

First, a war cloud is looming in the South China Sea. With China engaging in a veiled aggression and saber rattling among claimant-countries of the contested islands, a spark might lead to an Asian armed conflict.

For instance, China’s controversial nine-dash line is not only an encroachment of the Philippine’s territory but also an affront to the Filipinos. The once struggling country in Asia that China has now became a menacing Tiger whose claws are scratching the surface of the sovereign nations in Southeast Asia. China has lost respect to its neighbors as it flaunts its military hardware in a body of water they claimed to be theirs on two reasons – one, for historical reasons which is vague, and two, because of the name, South China Sea ( a historical fault of description committed by the seafarers of the past).

Now, China is building a small military base (a spitting distance) to the Philippines nearest island of Palawan. China is not only showing a provocative character, but is sending a strong message that it has now the capability to launch punitive military action anywhere in the South China Sea (including the Philippines.) China refuses to acknowledge the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of which, China is a member and a signatory.

If an armed conflict between the Philippines – short lived as presumed – it is an enough ground to postpone the national and local elections next year. It is not a question whether China will make the first move because the Philippines could also initiate a limited military action. We are talking here of only one scenario. There are other conditions, which we could tackle next time. -0-

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The time comes for restitution

A lot of whispers in the political circle are now getting louder. The rumors about the possible candidates are gradually emerging. But, who are the candidates? While there are those who are excited, many are also dismayed at hearing the names of wannabes – whether reelectionist or not.

Sometimes, one is astonished why people dislike names of candidates already known to them. Thus, perhaps, there is the feeling that the public officials being unworthy of the votes. Any idea on how the electors measure the capability of the elected public officials?

Someone mused that there is no need to measure the worth of elected public officials. They said that the reactions and the frustrations of the constituents in the way these elected public officials are running the affairs of their administration speaks louder than words.

But, why blame the elected officials? Isn’t it that the voters sold their votes and that the elected public officials are not, in any way, compelled to serve them in return? Can the voters claim the right to demand services when they themselves are to be blamed of their misery?

Well, there are also insinuations that the voters did not actually vote the incumbent public officials. The voters claimed they were cheated because they could not even account their own votes in their own precincts! These allegations are sometimes stranger than fiction. Nevertheless, with a widespread accusation of election fraud, the complaint could be true.

It is for this reason that one should seriously consider on whom to vote when elections come. If there are enough grounds – whether proven in court or not – that the elected public officials are corrupt, by all means, the voters should campaign to get rid of these public officials perceived to be corrupt and immoral. These corrupt public officials have no place in public service!

In any case, there is no need to tell who these corrupt public officials are. After all, we have written many times in the past that the public knows better the integrity of their leaders.

Now, as the election season is coming closer, it is time to review how the incumbent public officials fare in the last three years. It is also fair to take a second look for those who lost in the 2013 elections. Thus, a careful assessment of the performance of the winner and the losers could provide the voters an informed decision.

Perhaps, if the voters have mistakenly voted for an incompetent and a corrupt public official, then, it is only fair to boot out the public official from office. The fear of a formidable political machinery, especially the ruling political party, is not a ground to douse the resolve to kick the public officials out of office. The voters should not be cowed and be threatened with election fraud. Instead, the votes should rally together to expose the harbinger of deceit and the duplicity in the exercise of electoral polls. -0-

Padayon’s mayoral bet in Gingoog City killed

Since last year, the more than 40 unsolved killings have become an issue of concern among residents in the small city of Gingoog, east of Misamis Oriental, 122 kilometers east of Cagayan De Oro City.

The killings reached its height at the end of March 2015 when unidentified suspects shot and killed one of the city’s known opposition candidates in the 2013 mayoral elections. . The shooting stirred the entire province of Misamis Oriental that the news wire service breaks the story.

The suspects pumped bullets on Marc Anthony Bagaipo, 44, in front of a crowd who were shocked at the daring attacked during a vigil in the house of a political ally in Talisay, an outskirt village, east of Gingoog City.

I did not know Bagaipo pretty well until he called on me one time, while on coverage of the Capitol in Misamis Oriental. I thanked him when he told me that he always follow my column. Since then, we became informal friends and we simply nod our heads whenever we met elsewhere.

Then, I have the rare opportunity to meet and talk to Bagaipo when I was covering a relief operation for the flood victims sometime in January this year in Gingoog City.

Bagaipo personally supervised the distribution of free medicines (mostly for cough, fever, and vitamins for children), food packs, and rice to flood victims. The flood was the result of the Low Pressure Area (LPA) that persisted until January after the typhoon Seniang sometime in the end of Dec. 2014.

Personally, I could not detect any trace of a threatened man in Bagaipo’s face. When we met, he talked and chatted with the less fortunate who walked miles, with tattered and muddy slippers, just to have their share of the relief packs distributed by the provincial government of Misamis Oriental.

Bagaipo’s shooting took place in Talisay, a sleeping village that borders in the town of Magsaysay, the last municipal town east of Misamis Oriental. Police recovered empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.

The police theorized that Bagaipo must have known the suspects because the former did not resist when held on the shoulder. Perhaps, the suspect whispered something in Bagaipo’s ears before shooting him at close range twice on the head. Not contended, the suspect pumped bullets on Bagaipo’s breast as he, probably, staggered to the ground.

Certainly, the killers are professionals. One thing, however, the killers did not come from the place because the people failed to recognize them. At least, some witnesses have provided a vivid description of the assailants because they did not wear masks other than a ball cap and a jacket. The killers fled on two motorcycles that probably split as they rush toward the highway in order to deceive the would-be-chasers.

Who killed Bagaipo? Why now, when the local election is approaching? Was the killing politically motivated? Was Bagaipo a political threat that the only way to resolve the threat was to eliminate him? Why kill a man whose only weakness was the desire to serve the people? Why kill a man who was only known to be friendly and has no known enemy?

In 2013, Bagaipo ran for Mayor in Gingoog City under the opposition Padayon Pilipino political party. He lost by a slight margin of about 6,000 votes. Perhaps, if given a chance, Bagaipo who was reportedly active in serving the constituents in Gingoog could make it this time.

The Philippines needs a new national political party

With a limping leadership, the presidential and local elections in 2016 could be the worse for the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in the country. At the outset, every aspiring candidate and supporters would scramble in the search for a new, credible, and dependable political party in the national context.

The 2016 presidential elections would have been ripe for the Nacionalista Party (NP) to regain its status as one of the country’s reliable political organizations in the national and local level.

However, with party mates without solid political loyalty, the Nacionalista Party would be another candidate for the dustbin. Thanks to the former Senator Manny Villar, the NP president, who sold the soul of one of the country’s enduring political party to the LP in the 2013 senatorial and local elections.

Today, the NP persona has lost its value and has shattered the dreams of the country’s “nationalist” virtue. What seemed to be the only alternative to attain a political change and governance that the NP could possibly carry out with effectiveness have become a whisper in the moon.

Undoubtedly, the Filipino people need a political party that would otherwise cultivate a new political value. There were various attempts in the past, like the formation of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), an ambitious political party that would cater largely to the needs of the impoverished Filipinos.

However, the political elite smells the filth of those living in squalid communities that the only recourse then was to send the PMP’s figure head to prison. As a result, the elite political party of the Lakas-Kampi sent President Erap Estrada to prison on trumped-up charges.

A mixture of elite and the struggling political personalities also formed what could have been a formidable national political party: The United Opposition (UNO). Organized in 2007, UNO was a coalition of the PMP headed by Pres. Erap Estrada and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan with Vice President Jejomar Binay as the party President.

Although the UNO did not last long, there is now an attempt to form a new political opposition party: The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) headed by VP Binay. The UNA is formed in preparation for the 2016 Presidential and local elections where Binay is running for President.

The reorganization of the UNO and the formation of the UNA is necessary to weed out party mates whose alliance with the opposition is questionable. There is no question that some incumbent elected officials – in the Senate and in the locality – are “political opportunists.”

These political leeches are no more than “political turncoats” who would always jump, albeit with callousness into the wagon of winning political parties. While the character is prevalent in the locality, the same is true at the national level. Thus, perhaps, VP Binay should see to it that the UNA would not be infiltrated by political tyrants who would definitely sell the party’s principle.

One should know that the UNA has a formidable support by various opposition political parties at the local level. As far as one could remember, there are more than 20 local opposition groups throughout the country that are now fully supporting UNA. This is the reason that Binay’s popularity as a presidential candidate has not wavered in contrast to the popularity of other presidesidential bets.

We understand that more than half of the incumbent senators are now threatened that their re-election in the 2016 polls is now hanging in the balance. These senators are certified turncoats, and political opportunists who won their seats because of the support of the opposition. This column will definitely mention the names of these senators in the coming days

Palace pulls strings to clear Pres. Aquino

After the Board of Inquiry (BOI) hinted at the President Benigno Aquino III possible culpability in the slaughter of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) in Maguindanao last January 25, 2015, Malacanang appeared to be pulling strings to change the tenor of the findings.
The carnage of the 44 elite members of the SAF in the now infamous “Mamapasano massacre” has inflamed the nation on the Commander-in-Chief ineptness. There were insinuations that the President purposely allowed a sacked police general to oversee the operations as a way of regaining lost image.
Resigned Police Director General Alan Purisima, a four-star police general, erstwhile head of the country’s Philippine National Police (PNP), was simply trying to regain public trust after facing a six-month suspension with alleged graft charges. The President, a known personal and family friend, was suspected of trying to cover up the participation of Purisima after publicly blaming the SAF Director Getulio Napenas as responsible for the botched police operations.
The BOI, however, came out an official finding – amid suspicion that the Senate probe could influence the BOI final conclusion – naming President Aquino along with Purisima and Napenas to have violated the “chain of command” in the execution of Oplan Exodus.
Oplan Exodus was a police mission purportedly to serve the warrant of arrest against an international terrorist in the farming village of Mamapasano in Maguindanao. Unfortunately, the plan turned into a bloodbath that led to the carnage of 44 SAF officers. The BOI blamed Purisima and Napenas for keeping the mission for themselves and the President for allowing a suspended police general of issuing an “unauthorized” deployment of the police force.
The BOI incriminating report prompted the Malacanang lapdogs to scramble in a bid to manicure the President’s impaired image. First, it was Sec. Mar Roxas, of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) who tried to clear President Aquino. Then, Sec. Laila Delima, of the Department of Justice (DOJ), reportedly came out a ridiculous legal opinion when she opined that “President Aquino has not violated the “chain of command” because the chain of command applies only to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) being the Commander-in-Chief.”
Delima’s statement is not only ridiculous. It also implies ignorance. Everybody knows that the AFP comprises the four major commands of the country’s law enforcement agencies: The Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, and the Philippine National Police. Isn’t it reprehensible to defend something contemptible?
Not contented, Malacanang summoned Director Benjamin Magalong, head of the BOI and the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, to persuade the BOI to probably edit and delete the portion of the BOI findings that implicate President Aquino from any liability of the fallen 44 SAF commandos.
By the way, 20 Senators have already signed and approved the BOI findings. Of course, Senate President Franklin Drilon did not sign the BOI report because “he is not a member of any Senate committee.” The other Senators who did not sign the BOI report were Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (now under hospital arrest), Sen. Antonio Trillanes (a rabid Aquino supporter), and Sen. Lito Lapid (who always want to play safe).