Sound Snipings PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 13:57

Vox populi vox Dei

BY Jimmy Cabato

Writing time is a little after 11 am. Had to accompany a “truantic” grandchild to WMSU to talk of his status in college, after missing classes - God knows - for how many number of days.

And thank still to Him, his college superiors, led by Dean Barjose, nee Ms Mani, were so considerate to have taken pains to adjust his schedules with make-up classes and exams.

The only remaining kinks left are his two profs in minor subjects, prerequisites to the nursing course. We hope they are as considerate as the Barjose-led staff. His P.E. teacher was.

* * * *

Even as it is already fundamentally enshrined under RA 9369 or the Automated Election System (AES) law, a group of Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Evangelical and Muslim religious leaders still has to hammer on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to faithfully implement the minimum security provisions of subject law in the May elections.

Inter-Faith Coalition for Fairness, Accuracy, Integrity, and Honesty in Elections (FAITH), issued its call in the light of a recent survey by Pulse Asia that four out of 10 voters believe that there will be cheating in the coming elections, with most of the rest are noncommittal.

The non-implementation of the security provisions mandated by law will undermine the credibility of our elections and the stability of our democracy, it said.

Comelec, in fact, had admitted it did away with the security features of PCOS in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

And the coalition stated, it does not want a repeat of the largely-believed rigging of the past two elections.

The minimum security provisions mentioned by the group include source code review to prevent malicious or fraudulent instructions from being incorporated into the final version of the software to be used in the election system; ballot verification using UV detectors to prevent fake or spurious ballots from being utilized in the elections; digital signatures of the boards of election inspectors and boards of canvassers to prevent fake or spurious transmissions of election results; truly random manual audit to check the accuracy of the machine vote count; and voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) or voter’s receipt to insure the accuracy of the reading and counting of the votes by the machines.

The Comelec disclosed, it chose not activate the voter’s receipt feature, claiming it can be used for vote buying, a reason the coalition termed as flimsy.

And later, it said, the features are not compatible with the voting machines they had purchased for the polls.

Otro pa! (Yet another one) As expounded earlier, with the billions spent for the preparation of the this year’s electoral exercise and the billions expended for the purchase of the voting machines, here comes Comelec telling us the vote-counting machines are not compatible with the safety features as mandated by law.

Safely, we can say now that if it is not compatible with the features, is then compatible with cheating!

On the other hand, a petition for mandamus to compel the Comelec to print out and give the voter’s receipts filed by former Senator Richard Gordon, one of the principal authors of the AES law, is pending now before the Supreme Court (SC).

And Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System, also disclosed his intention to file a separate petition against the Comelec.

Believe it or not… It will be recalled that Comelec Chair Andres Bautista claimed, the SC had in the past junked a petition similar to the one filed by Gordon.

The highest court of the land! Disregarding a mandate of law.

Is that believable? Legal? Pray tell me.

* * * *

While the Poe camp claims the recent ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) declaring that a candidate who had renounced his American citizenship, had reacquired his Filipino citizenship, and had taken his oath of allegiance to the Philippine government but who, thereafter, had continuously used his American passport in his foreign travels is disqualified to run for public office, will not affect Sen. Grace Poe. Some, however, disagree.

It does appear that Poe and the disqualified candidate are similarly situated.

Poe had renounced her American citizenship, had reacquired her Filipino citizenship, and had taken her oath of allegiance to the Philippine government but thereafter, had used her American passport in foreign travels may spell trouble for qualification to run for public office.

But SS believes, if the Sereno arguments are followed, then that ruling would not apply. Recall that the highest ranking SC member, Ma. Lourdes Sereno, being its Chief Magistrate, is harping on Poe’s being a foundling; not on any other issue.

On top of this all, the Poe entry is a clinched cinch, it appears. Her name is already included in the ballots that are now printing.

It is a given that as her name appears on the ballot, she had been subjected to all electoral preparations and processes. Such being the case, she can be voted upon and her vote will be electronically counted.

That is where mayhem is may rule.

Unless in the end, the doctrine, Vox populi vox Dei, will apply. The voice of the people is the voice of God. That is, if she wins.

* * * *

Former Local Government Secretary and now LP presidential bet Mar Roxas belittles and charges rival candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s public projection as a tough crimebuster that helped sweep the streets of Davao City of illegal drugs. He called such portrait as just a hoax.

Roxas revealed that in 2014, he wrote Duterte to say that based on the assessment of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), almost 40 percent of barangays in Davao City fall under the category of “seriously affected by drugs” .

The PDEA report, he said, states that 72 out of 180 barangays of Davao City are heavily infested by illegal drugs, said Roxas.

He stressed the report was not of Roxas’ of PDEA’s.

Rep. Barry Gutierrez, LP spokesman for campaign, said the latest data still revealed high incidence of illegal drugs problems in Davao City.

He added, that Roxas letter to Duterte was in in 2014, two years have passed, drugs remain rampant in Davao City.

Gutierrez then chided Duterte for promising to rid the whole Philippines of illegal drugs in three to six months. In effect, he was telling us - when as mayor of    Davao City - he failed to clean his own backyard, which is only a bitsy slice of the Philippines, he cannot boast of saying he cannot do that in the country.  (TMT-sourced)