What really happened

Davao City is the new Mecca of the Philippines with all the Rodrigo Roa Duterte well-wishers —including turncoats, taipans who contributed to other candidates, and job-seekers—trying to get on the good side of the presumptive president. This phenomenon will continue since Duterte will be making Davao City his real home while holding Malacañang as his official residence.

This never happened when Fidel V. Ramos became the presumptive president. Neither did it take place during the time of Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III. Santa Banana, this says much about our society, when there are no public or national interests —just personal ones!

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Where did our votes for Marcos go?

This is what members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo are asking upon learning that their votes in Lamitan City, Basilan had vanished. In that city, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, bagged 100 percent of the votes while her rival, Senator Bongbong Marcos, did not get a single vote. What is curious is that Marcos was endorsed by the INC and the INC members usually vote as a bloc.

In Basilan, where there are Christians belonging to the INC, zero votes for Marcos is a puzzlement. There are at least three INC churches in the area!

To me, this is the best example of election fraud. And now I ask: Indeed, where did the nearly 2.5 -million Iglesia votes for Marcos go? This I think attests to the manipulation of results transmitted to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. A Smartmatic project director tampered with the hash code of the transparency server. After this, my gulay, the over-a-million lead of Marcos started disappearing.

Information technology experts say there was manipulation. Leni overtook Bongbong in the count after that breach of protocol. I say breach because the intervention was done without the permission of the Commission on Elections that owns the automated election system.

The Comelec chairman and Smartmatic officials, on the other hand, claim otherwise. They say what was done was only a “cosmetic change.”

I would rather believe the objective assessment of the IT experts. The conspiracy between Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and his Smartmatic friends is too obvious. We need a system audit to find out what truly happened.

Congress should also pursue its investigation into the alleged manipulation of votes. The breach of protocol could lead to economic sabotage because it might have compromised the integrity of the May 9 polls.

This is why the proclamation of the winner in the vice presidential race should be put off until the public is assured that no cheating took place and that the polls were indeed fair, honest and clean.

We cannot afford to have a vice president who cheated her way to the second-highest office!

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I have lowered my high expectations of real change under the Duterte administration because of several things that the presumptive president has been saying.

First of all, I cannot believe that Duterte can fulfill his promise to end criminality the illegal drugs problem and corruption in three to six months without resorting to drastic means like proclaiming martial law or having a revolutionary government.

With so much opposition to his advocacy of reviving the death penalty—by hanging, mind you—for heinous crimes, I bet Congress will not support this.

First of all, statistics show the death penalty has not deterred criminality. As for me, I believe in life, which only God can end.

Then, there’s the move of Duterte to give to the Communist Party of the Philippines, under Jose Ma. Sison and Luis Jalandoni, four of the most sensitive Cabinet positions: Labor, Agrarian Reform, Social Welfare and Development, and Environment and Natural Resources.

Joma Sison may be saying now that upon his return, there will be a ceasefire between the New People’s Army and the government. We have all heard him say this before, but under certain conditions like releasing all political prisoners and other demands. In other words, the sincerity of Joma Sison and Jalandoni are suspect. They come to the negotiating table with blood on their hands. How can there be peace with the communists when all their demands mean the government surrendering to them, my gulay?

For one thing: Will the Armed Forces of the Philippines just stand by and allow the communists to have power in government when so many soldiers have died fighting the NPA?

It would seem that Duterte, a self-confessed leftist, wants the government to yield to the communists.

There’s also the problem with China. Will he allow China to go on bullying us just because he wants to preserve cordial ties with our giant neighbor? No wonder China’s ambassador, upon meeting with Duterte in Davao, was all smiles.

As for Duterte’s promise of federalism, I am all for it. I have always wanted structural reforms in government. But I know too that shifting to federalism is easier said than done. We will need to amend the Constitution for that.

But who will amend the Constitution? A constituent assembly is suspect since it will further personal interests of congressmen and senators. Besides, it will promote political dynasties.

If Duterte wants to change the Constitution, there is no substitute for a Constitutional Convention called for that purpose. But, again who will constitute the “Con-Con?” The political dynasties which the Constitution itself wants banned? The charter called for a law to have it enforced. But how, when most of those in power are members of political dynasties?

There’s also the problem of constitutional regions for self-rule. The problem is that some regions are richer than others. So, may gulay, what will happen to impoverished regions like Muslim Mindanao and Sulu and the Cordilleras?

Federalism is something devoutly to be wished, but I doubt if it can ever come under the Duterte administration.

Think about it. Even the much-deserved amendment of the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions has been delayed. How much more restructuring the government system?

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There are two other notable appointments by Duterte, aside from that of Sonny Dominguez as Finance secretary, Gibo Tedoro as Defense secretary and Perfecto Yasay as acting Foreign Affairs secretary (until the ban on Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is lifted for either DFA or Justice secretary.)

I am referring to my good friend Jess Dureza as peace adviser. That was his job under GMA, and he’ll certainly do well. There’s also Andrea Domingo for Pagcor, the regulatory agency for gaming and entertainment.

But while I say that Domingo’s appointment is well-advised, perhaps the Duterte administration should now be thinking of privatizing all Pagcor casinos nationwide. Government has no business getting into this business, and competing with all the private casinos.

Pagcor should remain a mere regulatory agency.

Topics: Emil Jurado , What really happened
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