Punchline

LP-COMELEC-Smartmatic conspiracy

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

IT is worrisome that the Duterte administration is ominously quiet about the expose of former Cong. Glenn Chong about the the LP-Comelec-Smartmatic conspiracy that cheated in the 2016 elections to ensure the victory of presidential candidate Mar Roxas, VP Candidate Leni Robredo and selected senatoriables (whom I surmise to be Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Bam Aquino) in the polls.

Given the unprecedented popularity of candidate Rodrigo Duterte, the conspiracy failed to to apply the formula but it was possible in the tight race in the VP and senatoriable race.

For instance, I could not imagine how the largely independent popular and highly respectable Sen. Serge Osmeña could be beaten in the polls, by all three. And the filing of protest by Bongbong Marcos became inevitable.

The detailed proofs of fraud presented by Atty. Chong were damning!  But for reasons only known to the Palace, not a word of protest or indignation came out of Malacanañang.

Did the Duterte administration think it was a futile exercise since that would mean hailing the groups to court without any positive result in sight? Was it afraid that the attempt to discredit the 2016 election would be labeled as political persecution of the opposition?

So here we are set to go through 2019 election without any sanction vs. Smartmatic and Comelec. I deeply worry.

What assurance can this administration have that the 2019 elections would not be rigged again? Is the administration simply watching out for evidence with which it can go after the conspiracy hammer and tongs?

I sure hope the continuance of Smartmatic in 2019 will result in true choices of the people.

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SUBSTITUTION FOR POLITICAL DYNASTIES. Still on the Comelec, I have always thought that its rule on substitution was adopted as a useful tool to benefit political dynasties. It places their opponents at a serious disadvantage and is a deceitful practice directed at voters.

In my book, it translates to only one word – Lokohan!

A no substitution rule should only apply when the candidate is killed or dies for any reason but to accept substitution for reasons of health, withdrawal of support by a political party are capricious in nature and violates the basic value of public trust. The giveaway is the qualification that only persons with same namesake can substitute.

Worse, substitution can be twisted to mean political dynasties can actually switch candidacies whimsically as if electoral posts are a matter of possession and smacks of opportunism.

The persistent rumor, therefore, that father-and-son Espino will switch a day before the deadline unfairly taints the image of the Espino name in politics, something contrary to what I know the Espinos stand for.

I hope that someday soon, when the constitution is amended, Comelec rules will be reviewed and amended to remove the rules that reinforce role of political dynasties.

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PINOYS FOR DEATH PENALTY.  The recent SWS survey shows Filipinos are not wholly in favor of the restoration of the death sentence if there is another way to deter the commission of drug-related crimes.

In other words, that translates to a big majority favoring the restoration of death penalty because there is no other way to deter illegal drug trading but to invoke Hammurabi’s code “eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth.” That, however, would be labeled as extra judicial killing in today’s context.

The death penalty, execution by musketry, in the early days of martial law had one convict die from it. That definitely sent chills down the spines of both hardcore convicts and suspects for some time. His televised death was enough for the drug syndicates to rethink their future until the bleeding hearts in Congress pleaded for a more humane way of executing convicts.  And the execution policy was quickly junked in favor of death by lethal injection.

Death by lethal injection immediately lost the deterrent effect. Realizing this, the human rights groups jumped on it and the movement to scrap the death penalty be removed from the country’s statutes snowballed since death penalty has not been proven to be a deterrent!

I say, restore the death penalty and make that execution by musketry, and the country will see its effects, it will be far effective as a deterrent than talks of EJK.

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FLOODING NOT A CAMPAIGN ISSUE. I’m glad that the province has been spared finally of calamities over the past weeks. If it didn’t, we would not hear and see the end of ranting on radio and social media about failure of governments to prevent flooding in barangays and in business district areas.

It’s scraping the bottom of the barrel to point accusing fingers at incumbent officials for neglect and dereliction of duty over the flooding.

The infrastructure built in towns and cities over the decades were done according to data registered in experienced calamities. No government in the past (and today) could possibly predict how destructive the wrath of nature could be.  If they did, we’d all be in living in paradise today.

To fault incumbent mayors today for cause of flooding in barangays, would be to indict all past mayors also for neglect and lack of vision.

For instance, is there any town or city prepared for an eventuality like the breaking of the San Roque Dam because of mismanagement or human error? Or an earthquake with 8.5 intensity? Or a deluge caused by a volume of rain never seen before over a 5-day period? 

Those who insist on calling out mayors for failing to prevent flooding in the town or city as a political campaign issue are actually bankrupt of any legitimate issue to convince voters that they deserve to be elected.

Any politician who raises flooding as an election issue should not be trusted with his/her judgment.

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RESILIENCE IS THE KEY. I had a brief talk with DBM Sec. Ben Diokno last week.

I asked him what can be done to turn the impact of inflation around that’s seriously affecting households?

He said there’s nothing much government can do because most of the factors are beyond the government’s control:

1) The price of oil is pegged on worldwide market basis.

2) The TRAIN is already a law that cannot be summarily discarded or supplanted with local initiatives. To do so would make government leaders criminally liable.

3) To unilaterally suspend the imposition of taxes on fuel will risk the continuance of reforms already started by government, among them the catch-up projects on infrastructure long ignored by past governments that kept the country’s economy at a laggard pace, the subsidy of free education to all (from kindergarten to college), etc..

4) The tariff war between the US and China is affecting our own export and import situation.

He said, we have managed 20-50% inflation in the past, we surely can be more resilient coping with our present 6.7 inflation rate today. Things simply appear tough and difficult because the situation is being magnified to be the worst to serve destabilization efforts, and it is a convenient campaign issue for the opposition.

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