Welcome to the club PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 February 2016 14:01

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

Quando ba gayot? (When is it really set?)

We refer to the announced cloud seeding operations to which we even attributed the early morning dimly lit skies yesterday.

On several occasion the City Agriculturist’s Office had said, the project was to start 15th February, now it is reported that a team from Task Force El Niño of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-Asa) in Manila arrived yesterday to assist in the conduct of cloud seeding operations starting today (presumably yesterday, 16th) until Feb. 28.

When is when?

* * * *

Indigenous Peoples representative in the City Council Ismael Musa has allegedly besmirched the sanctity of his position when he joined a political party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) under Rep. Celso Lobregat of District 1.

Thus charged Mayor Beng Climaco during a press briefing Monday. She claimed, Musa’s position as representative of the IP in the City Council “is very sacred that only in our administration was (IP) given the dignity.”

Climaco said he must answer for that questioning further Musa’s supposed enjoyment of the privileges of being a member of a political party like the LDP, thus besmirching, destroying the IP’s image as an apolitical group.

Hmmm… sounds intelectual, but is it factual?

You see, Musa had repeatedly said, the first to offer him membership in a political party was LP (Liberal Party ), without really revealing just who. But that’s immaterial, don’t you think? Whoever made the offer, as according to him, in several occasions, must have had the sanction of his boss, the local LP chairman, the Mayor.

Come to think of it. Had Musa joined the LP, would anybody have gone after his head?

We doubt.

And if anyone did, would he have had the clout to succeed in unseating him.

Again, doubtful.

Water under the bridge, Maeng. That’s how the cookie crumbles.

Welcome to the club of the unseated.

* * * *

One of the four minimum security requirements mandated by law for the May 9 elections, was junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The highly important requirement, mandated as it is, is the use of the voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT).

The COMELEC decision was unanimously approved by the seven-member elections body, sitting en banc.

The VVPAT would have provided the system to allow voters to verify if their ballots were to be correctly counted in favor of the chosen candidates they picked with the issuance of a receipt showing the names of candidates voted for.

It serves as a deterrent against election fraud and provides a means to audit stored electronic results.

Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista made the disclosure during a hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System (JCOCAE), disregarding calls by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and election watchdogs to activate the security feature to ensure the integrity of the coming electoral exercise.

Voting counting machines have three other security features — digital signature, ballot verification or ultra violet detector and the source code review.

The application of these features is mandated under Republic Act 9369 or the Automated Election Law.

And the security features were part of the contract that the Comelec awarded to technology provider Smartmatic Corp., which supplied the 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) counting machines that were used during the 2010 and 2013 elections.

As in 2010 and 2013, Comelec did not activate the VVPAT during the elections. Hence the highly noticed rigging of results.

Bautista matter-of-factly justified their action on the voter verification system, mumbling that if used, it may trigger problems that can compromise the results of the elections.

What are the required safeguards for, if that’s the case?

The Comelec chief also noted that the Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the poll body on the issue in the Capalla vs. Comelec case.

Really? The SC dumping a mandate of law? Is that as easy as claimed?

Additionally, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the voting process will be extended by seven hours if the voter verification system is applied.

The heck with those additional seven hours voting time. The important thing, this time around, is that cheating discarded!

Also, election watchdog Reform Philippines Coalition (RPC) suggested that the printed receipt be dropped into a separate ballot box before a voter goes out of the polling booth, but     Comelec, snappily shot down the suggestion.

CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas earlier called on the Comelec to restore the four major security features that were removed from the vote counting machines in 2010 and 2013.

“The credibility of the elections and the stability of our democracy is at risk if the security and sanctity of the every ballot is compromised,” Villegas said in a pastoral statement.

Election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) also criticized the Comelec’s claim that the activation of the VVPAT would prolong the voting process, saying “what is important in elections is accuracy rather than speed.”

Here’s the full TMT report. - Clean election advocate Glenn Chong has pointed out that the Comelec decision to deactivate the VVPAT feature would render the elections illegal.

“That is a violation of the law. The Comelec is bound to commit the same mistake, similar to what it did in the 2010 and 2013 elections,” he said.

“With the coming 2016 [electoral exercise], its legitimacy, integrity and credibility are again seriously threatened by the very same controversial removal and/or dilution of the AES [automated election system] security features and the very same flagrant violations of our elections laws by those entrusted with their conduct and management,” Chong added.

Lito Averia, IT consultant of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, also criticized the Comelec for its decision, saying it denied voters the right to know if the machines read their votes correctly. (TMT)

* * * *

Boxing icon Sarangani Rep., Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, a senatorial candidate,. Is under heavy fire coming from sides.

Senatorial candidates of independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe’s Partido Galing at Puso and of the Liberal Party (LP) took turns to denounce him for comparing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to animals.

Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd said he was saddened by the pronouncement of Pacquiao, saying the boxer-turned-politician is wrong.

“He is misguided and I can’t agree at all (with what he said),” Sotto replied when asked by reporters during a news conference at Hotel Del Rio in Iloilo City.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares likened Pacquiao’s statement to an illegal blow that is below the belt.

Lawyer Lorna Kapunan said the Sarangani lawmaker should just stay in boxing where he can do better.

Oversees Filipino worker (OFW) advocate Susan Ople said Pacquiao, being a lawmaker, should respect all human beings.

“He needs enlightenment and guidance,” Ople added.

Senatorial bets of the LP also expressed dismay with Pacquiao’s statements against the LBGT community.

Campaigning in Silay City, Negros Occidental, Mark Lapid, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Ina Ambolodto jointly lambasted the worlds’ only eight-time champion in eight different weight classes.

In the showbiz world, Boy Abunda and Vice Ganda, both known gays, led the fight against Pacquiao. (TMT-supplied)

* * * *

Veteran actress Susan Roces finally broke her silence on rumors that Grace is the biological daughter of then strongman Ferdinand Marcos, categorically denying that her daughter, presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe, is the daughter of Marcos and her sister Rosemarie Sonora.

Roces, also said there is no basis for them to take up the challenge hurled against Poe to take a DNA test with Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who has jokingly considered her his sister in many occasions.

And that if Grace is her sister’s daughter, there is no sense denying it.

Roces was in Iloilo city where she was campaigning for Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.