The media is taking a significant stand to inform the public in real time what is happening to the first automated election in the Philippine history. For Filipino citizens who are unable to register to participate in this momentous event, hey! this is Philippine history in the making! I feel sorry for those who will be unable to vote. That is a sad thing considering that cheating if not totally eliminated will be minimized. The first time voter youth are excited to experience it.

ABS-CBN and partners are serious in getting things done the right way this coming election. It launch in different parts of the country the Boto Mo Ipatrol Mo which empowers citizenry to be vigilant and become watchdogs in the coming elections. Members, mostly youths register, become a member and will be part of the eyes and ears of the election. Using modern technology, one can send reports to ABS-CBN and will be shown or reported in real-time. Illegal posters, vote-buying can be documented and sent to the network. This will be a good deterrent for those who intend to violate election code. We must learn our lessons from the Maguindanao massacre. It happened even before the election. Too many lives were lost because of abuse of power.

Pres. Arroyo is unable to join the campaign in Pampanga because of her husband’s condition (First Gentleman Mike Arroyo has a new tear in the thoracic aorta of the heart.) Meanwhile Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone believes she can become the Speaker of the House.

Militant groups say that Philippine President Gloria Arroyo will use party list seat aside from congress to make sure for an easy win in House. Militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and election watchdog Kontra Daya in a joint statement adds that nine of the 185 party-list groups are connected to Arroyo.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone is apprehensive about turnover of votes and focus instead on voter’s education than campaigning. He says “Mayron po kaming agam-agam na mababa ang turn out hindi na po kami nakafocus sa campaign pero sa voter’s education.. marami pa nga ang hindi nakakakita ng typewriter iyan po ang concerns po talaga.”

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting ( PPCRV) leads peace covenant signing of all local candidates in Cagayan de Oro City. The community is hoping for a clean and honest election.

The COMELEC has a new resolution that only those who truly belong to the party list must represent them. Militant groups say that the party list group system has been bastardized and nominees do not care anymore of the ideals it stands for which is primarily to represent the marginalized group.

The battle for gubernatorial seat in Batangas Capitol building has officially began. Sanchez who is running against Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, says 29 towns supports him. Santos-Recto counters it is only in papers.

Religious leader Mike Velarde admits not all El Shaddai followers will vote for his candidate.

Esmael Mangungudatu an Umbra Sinsuat will run against each other for the gubernatorial seat in Maguindanao. Mangungudato admits after the Maguindanao massacre where her wife was among the victims, he still worries about his security and safety.

The COMELEC has set up specific protocol should Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine fails because of brown out. Each machine has a battery that will run for 16 hours. It also uses wireless transmission so electricity is not needed during transmission. Just like a cell phone, you can still send message when battery is fully charged even during brown out. Each PCOS machine has a back up battery good for another 16 hours.

COMELEC Legal Dept. Head Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan says it is monitoring campaign activities to make sure fair election practices are observed. Pictures and videos may be used as evidence and it will file charge against violators. He adds it expects to receive additional requests for security details. The COMELEC is enforcing its rules on prescribed size of posters and posting areas. It is a requirement to print the name and exact address of the sponsor of the campaign material and the printer. For skeptics that COMELEC might be unable to enforce the law considering there might be a lot of violators he comments “Sa nakaraang election ako’y tinatanggal pero hindi lang ako tanggalin dito, huwag lang akong galawin.”
This is very rare in our government personnel. I hope Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan is serious. The public seldom hears of a public servant who strictly implements the law and stays long in office. Either cases are filed against them or they are pressured to resign. I am also having apprehensions about Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Versoza. Although he denies being pressured by Malacanang, media perceive otherwise.
It was a bit odd that the President did not seem to recognize Verzosa’s presence at the 113th founding anniversary of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City Monday while naming the service commanders in the audience one by one except of course Versoza. That was the second time Verzosa was not acknowledged.
For the first time in her term’s history on March 17, Ms Arroyo missed out the graduation ceremony of the PNP Academy, an event she made a point to attend in the past.
Earlier Verzosa was reported saying that he will not follow any illegal order from the President.
Gary Olivar, deputy presidential spokesperson say “There is nothing to be inferred from the incident that rises to the level of something that we should be worried about as citizens, there is still a functioning and good relationship between Verzosa and the Commander in Chief.”


About Maria Arlene V. Goyenechea

mother of four, married, female, Filipina, fascinated with Japanese culture
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