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Wednesday, 24 February 2016 11:57

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

Former Sen. Richard Gordon has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to activate the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) feature of the automated election system in the May 2016 balloting, contending Comelec had twice violated the law in the past.

The petition for mandamus called for the compulsion of Comelec to implement the security features required under Republic Act 9369 or the Automated Elections System Law, of which Gordon was the principal author.

Claiming that to activate the VVPAT, could be used as a tool for vote-buying, the poll body unilaterally decided not to activate the security feature.

The commission also noted that  the voting period would be extend by seven hours.

Oh, shucks! Such flimsy reasons. Even  granting that its reasons are valid, Comelec is just the same violating provisions of law mandating the use of tsafety features.

The VVPAT fixture ensures that the votes cast by voters are correctly counted through the issuance of a receipt.

The receipt shows the names of the candidates voter have chosen.

Some groups justifiably argue that the feature also serves as deterrent to election fraud and provide a means to audit stored electronic results.

The voter-verified part refers to the fact that the voter is given the opportunity to confirm that the choices indicated on the paper record correspond to the choices that the voter has made in casting the ballot, Gordon pointed out.

Gordon warned that the credibility of the May 9 local and national elections may suffer if the Comelec is again allowed to flout the law.

Habla pa! (No need to say it).

The administration does seem determined to cheat in the coming polls.

Nevertheless, a survey shows only some four in every 10 Filipinos believe that there will be cheating in the May 2016 elections while less than half of those polled expect the national and local polls to be clean and credible, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

To this corner, such results do not actually reflect the thinking of the Filipinos. I dare say, no less 8 of 10 voters expect cheatings in the May elections.

What with the abounding lapses noted of the Comelec.

As it was done in two previous polls, most particularly in 2013, unless nipped in the bud, the electoral exercise will be rigged.

Augh, augh, further browsing of the survey results held from January 24 to 28, 2016 indicate we are on the same frequency, after all. It showed that 39 percent of the respondents were sure that candidates will cheat while 29 percent believed otherwise.

The remaining 32 percent of those polled were described as ambivalent on the issue.

* * * *

America appears to be accepting the veiled challenge of China arising from its deployment of surface-to-air missiles in  the South China Sea.

The commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said Monday, expressing wariness of the situation in the disputed islands that is “painted” as a battle between the United States and China, said the US military, just the same, will continue flying over the region.

US Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin’s comments come a week after it was revealed that Beijing had deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the fiercely contested region. And such presence, the US said, provided increased evidence of militarization of the area by China.

Subsequently, China  accused the US of its own supposed militarization of the region, contending that patrols by US Navy vessels and military aircraft had escalated tensions and raised concerns about stability in the area.

Disregarding the seeming China dare, last month a US warship deliberately sailed near one of the Beijing-controlled islands in the Paracel chain in a so-called freedom of navigation exercise.

Aucoin told reporters, “I wish it wasn’t portrayed as US versus China,”

Very clearly, then, we can safely conclude that Aucoin, in making the statements, was aware of what he is wary of - a US versus China situation. (MB-fed)

* * * *

Upon stepping down from office mid-year of 2016, President Aquino’s net worth is expected to be richer by around P20 million.

Based on his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, Aquino’s total wealth amounted to P50.194 million when he assumed office on June 30, 2010.

His real properties then was collectively valued at P33.755 million, including the house he inherited in Quezon City declared to be worth P13.8 million.

Per Aquino’s first SALN, his property possessions include a residential lot in Antipolo, Rizal that he inherited worth P12.2 million; another residential lot in San Juan that he also inherited, valued at P7 million; another residential lot in Tarlac that he purchased worth P604,680 and agricultural land, also in Tarlac, purchased at P116,588.

His other personal properties are motor vehicles valued at a little over P9 million, investment in stocks in seven companies worth P4.774 million and cash totaling P3.635 million.

When he assumed office, President Aquino, a bachelor, listed one liability in the form of mortgage debts amounting to P2.430 million.

From then on, net worth continued rising. After six months in office, he filed his second SALN, which showed his net worth increasing to 54.999 million as of Dec. 31, 2010.

The increase in his wealth was, however explained by Malacañang, as supposedly due to the income he earned from the sale of a residential lot in Antipolo City.

One year later, President Aquino’s wealth again increased to P65.130 million as of Dec. 31, 2011 supposedly because of the increase in the value of his house in Quezon City which went up from P13.796 million to P23.6 million. (MS-supplied)

* * * *

Although Nike has dumped Pacquiao as an endorser, the eight-division world champion continues to wear its line of products from cross training shoes to boxing boots to quick-drying shirts and shorts during his workouts.

But during a game of basketball on Sunday night, Pacquiao wore an Under Armour rubber shoes, of which his chief trainer Freddie Roach is among the athletic firm’s endorsers.

And Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s promotions man, said a tie up between Under Armour and Pacquiao is possible, saying there is life after Nike.

The partnership of Nike with Pacquiao took all of a decade, but dropped him instantly when Pacquiao became a target of several sectors worldwide over what was termed as a slur that the boxer said of LGBT’s.