Category: elections

andy agonizes, to resign or not to resign

now that the impeachment process has started rolling in the House despite the majority leader’ objections, and now that his fellow commissioners have publicly asked him to resign or take a leave so he can attend to his troubles with family, SALN, atbp., comelec chief andy bautista has to decide soon, and he says he will, in the next few days.

In a radio interview, Bautista admitted that he has reached a crossroad in his life where [he] is now weighing the interests of his family, the Comelec, democracy, and the 2016 elections.

clearly, family is not the primary consideration or he would have resigned already. so it must be the 2016 elections.  the grapevine has always alleged that it was rigged, that comelec and smartmatic connived to make LP win (mar, leni, the senate slate) except that in mar’s case, duterte was so far ahead, naging imposible nang talunin, which of course puts leni’s win, and our so-called democracy, into question, along with: how many votes did every one get ba talaga?

andy bautista has always denied it: no evidence or proof of cheating daw.  if that is so, then what is it about the comelec and democracy and 2016 that weighs on his mind more heavily than family?

can it be na totoo ang chismis, there was cheating?  which could mean that andy has been hoping that the beneficiaries of the cheating would could move heaven and earth to foil an impeachment attempt dahil sasabit din sila?  and / or maybe andy has been hoping to strike a deal with the duterte admin — leave me be and i will make sure you win the plebiscite on charter change and federalism?  is that too wild a thought?

alas for andy, an impeachment complaint was filed august 23 by former negros oriental rep jacinto paras and lawyer ferdinand topacio.

Apart from alleged misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, the complainants also cited as ground for the criminal liability of Bautista the hacking of the Comelec website that led to the leakage of voters’ database as found by the National Privacy Commission.

They accused him of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in the complaint, which was immediately endorsed by three representatives… Gwen Garcia of Cebu, Abraham Tolentino of Cavite and Harry Roque of Kabayan.

the very next day, august 24, the house of reps’ secretary-general transmitted the complaint to the office of the speaker who has 10 session days to refer it to the rules committee that has three session days to refer it to the justice committee that has sole jurisdiction over impeachment cases.    

majority leader rudy fariñas, however, is being difficult.  puro hearsay lang daw, absent the personal knowledge of the complainants.

Fariñas underscored the importance of the verification portion of an impeachment document, which states that complainants must have evidence of their “own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic documents”.

also, kailangan daw munang tapusin ng House ang budget deliberations, which he says wlll be around mid-september pa.  hmmm.  back in the time of corona, fariñas was part of a minority that didn’t sign the impeachment complaint.  today, it is said that it is he, not speaker alvarez, who calls the shots in the House.  read manolo quezon’s A Congress of cats

Today, the point person in the House is Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, arguably one of the most powerful holders of that position in living memory. This is because Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, even in his previous stint as a representative, was never a major mover or shaker and, aside from his closeness to President Duterte, lacks a track record of leadership or camaraderie, or a party franchise and independent means to quickly assert personal dominance in the House (in contrast to his predecessors and successors who were active party men before they assumed the speakership, like Manuel Villar Jr. who compensated for his lack of political ties with an immense personal fortune and by taking over the Nacionalista Party franchise).

in the year 2000 it took just 11 days from the chavit exposé that tagged erap as a jueteng lord (oct 7) for the house of reps to file a motion to impeach (oct 18).  in less than a month (nov 13) senate prez manny villar, upon obtaining the minimum one-third (73 of 218) votes, declared erap impeached and ordered the complaint transmitted to the senate without delay.  trial started dec 7 and abruptlly ended jan 17 2001.

in 2011 it took just six days since the PNoy speech (dec 6) savaging chief justice renato corona (seated just two meters away) for being beholden to former prez gma and for his foiled attempt to allow her to leave the country against the new admin’s wishes.  dec 12 iloilo rep niel tupas of the justice committee presented an impeachment complaint that a few hours later was signed by 188 of 284 reps and transmitted at once to the senate.  the trial began jan 16, ended may 29  2012.

in 2017 it’s taken 16 days for tish’s exposé to elicit an impeachment complaint. despite fariñas.  quick enough, considering that so much else is going on.  feels like a confluence of events coming up, and then again maybe not, yet.  the only thing i’m sure of is that we’re being asked to multi-task, to be vigilant on multiple fronts.  it’s a test.

no documents, no proof

now that paolo duterte’s name has come up as, allegedly, a player of sorts in the illegal drugs market, the senate hearing on the huge shabu smuggling under faeldon’s watch seems to be going nowhere remarkable, except maybe to demonstrate how impossible it is to get names named and personalities shamed and charged, puro “hearsay” kasi, walang dokumento.  and so when the prez says about the pagkakadawit of his son: show me the evidence, give me an affidavit, and i will resign (cool na cool), eh wala na, tapos na ang boksing.

imagine if comelec chief andy bautista were as cool-na-cool re wife tish’s allegations. instead he looks, seems, gets hot under the collar, the same with his kuya martin.  i suppose because nga of all those documents that tish found and that are now under scrutiny by the authorities.  even if he were innocent, he has a lot of explaining to do, and really he has no one to blame but himself.  given the animosity pala between him and his wife, it’s hard to believe how careless he was with such important documents, atbp.  it tells me that he became too sure of himself (hubris) and of his power over his wife (money).

anyway manolo quezon raises a good point.

…it’s not as if the common-sense solution for anyone desiring to exonerate themselves isn’t clear. With so many officials, elected or not, weighing in, the obvious solution seems curiously absent so far: Bautista signing a waiver to all his bank accounts.

the yellow camp believes, hopes, prays that chief andy will be found innocent, of course.  unless he’s guilty beyond reasonable doubt.  then, next we pray that duterte finds and appoints a rare one who is relatively beyond reproach, both at home and at work, and who will get us out of the pocket of smartmatic.

‘piso para kay leni’ nixed by supremes

suspicious daw the timing of the supreme court decision denying the petition of vp leni robredo’s supporters that they be allowed to pay some 6 to 7M of the 15M total in electoral protest fees owed the presidential electoral tribunal (PET).  read rina jimenez-david sa inquirer:

At this point in time almost all “eyeballs” are on the dispute between Commission on Elections Chair Andy Bautista and his estranged wife Patricia. In the heated exchange of accusations and counterclaims, including imputations of hidden wealth, an extramarital affair and the existence of a “third eye,” the name of Bongbong Marcos has cropped up, mainly because Ms Bautista’s lawyer is a good friend of the defeated vice-presidential candidate. Is the marital spat just a conflict between husband and wife? Or are Robredo, the Comelec and the conduct of the 2016 elections the ultimate targets? The timing is suspicious indeed.

i have family and friends who voted for leni, and who are indeed passionate about that win, and they wanted to send money, pero paano ba, tanong sa akin.  kaninong bank account puwede magpadeposito, kilala mo ba ang mga iyan?  so katrina asked a friend in the vp’s camp, and he referred us to the facebook page kung saan nakapost ang essential info. 

but as it turns out, the law is quite clear about it, a public official may not cannot accept goodies of any kind:

Presidential Decree No. 46 prohibits public officials from receiving gifts or any other valuable thing on any occasion when the gift is given because of an official’s position, regardless of whether or not the gift is given for past favors, or if the giver is expecting to receive a favor or better treatment in the future.

The same prohibition against receiving gifts can also be found in Republic Act No. 6713, which specifies that prohibited gifts include those with a value that “is neither nominal nor insignificant.”

and yet and yet bongbong marcos was allowed to accept donations, in fact admitted that friends helped him raise 36M of the 60M total.  napaka-unfair.  bongbong is not a public official, kasi nga natalo siya ni leni, so he lodges a protest and forces leni to engage, tapos siya lang ang puwedeng humingi ng donations?  but should PET rule in bongbong’s favor, what is to prevent those generous donors from exacting favors from the new veep?  such interesting names, presumably donating in the millions, presumably with vested interests in a marcos vice presidency.  next stop, malacañang?  

in contrast, leni’s donors are anonymous citizens, across classes, who won’t be asking the vp any favors except precisely to fight this good fight.  and in fairness, my sib and friends weren’t naive.  alam nila na baka hindi pumayag ang PET, in which case okey lang sa kanila, let the money then go to the veep’s  anti-poverty program, was the attitude.

i’m not sure what they’re thinking now, now that the incredible tish bautista has raised serious questions about the credibility of the 2016 elections.  i’d be thinking, what if leni loses, bongbong as vp will get to use the money?  umm, baka dapat iderecho na ang milyones sa home for the aged or somewhere like that.  but wait, may motion for reconsideration pa daw.  baka naman matauhan pa ang supremes.

if not, LP spokesman barry gutierrez says the robredo camp will be raising the money instead.  the liberal party to the rescue?  bakit ngayon lang.

in defense of tish

wittingly or not, patricia cruz bautista has succeeded in sharpening the divide between the pro-duterte — who love her to pieces and can’t wait to see chief andy impeached and replaced with a digong cohort — and the anti-duterte who have only contempt for a mother who has exposed her own children to public scrutiny and shame, never mind that chief andy does have truly a lot of unexplained wealth and unusual banking practices to explain.

and what if tish’s suspicions prove founded.  what if she’s not making up any of this.  what if she  speaks the truth, this is bigger than her and her children, the stakes are just too high.  i can relate to that.  she is said to have a “third eye,” is a faith healer of sorts, and believes that the universe will provide for, will look after, her children.  shades of desiderata.  very brave and new age, kinda like gina lopez, breaking out from patterns that oppress, even, breaking a taboo, as walden bello puts it:

Now that the taboo has been broken, there will be more B vs B cases. Good if the impact is less corruption.

yeah, IF.  would a duterte appointment in COMELEC bring less corruption?  i doubt it.  the president can rant and warn all he wants that he will not tolerate the slightest whiffs of corruption, but it’s really all talk and bluster, the corruption goes on anyway, sa COMELEC pa.  so do  i want chief andy to stay?  it’s out of our hands, it’s all up to congress, and we know naman, what digong wants, digong gets.

digong wants barangay elections postponed once again, from october this year to may 2018, kasabay ng plano nilang plebiscite on charter change (related to federalism and economic provisions malamang) and the BBL, and the house has obliged.  the senate is playing harder to get, good for them, but i’d be very surprised if the super-majority would dare defy, disappoint, duterte on this one.

so if it’s a done deal na pala, chief andy will be replaced, sooner than later, he should be considering options other than taking his wife to court for robbery, extortion atbp. (hell hath no fury like a macho scorned).  on SRO (dzmm teleradyo) i heard alvin elchico ask atty. tranquil salvador III (who was with the defense team of chief justice corona) what he thought chief andy should do.  he said he would advise chief andy to resign (spare us all from house and senate hearings and a possible impeachment process) AND to settle na with tish, for the sake of the children.  then the talk will just die down; he gives it three weeks (correct me if i heard wrong).  then, i suppose, the people can take andy to court, depending on NBI findings? and he can defend himself there.

in other words, huwag nang gatungan pa ang apoy, baka kumalat pa ang sunog.  which makes one wonder, how widespread kaya can it get.  if we are to believe ex-chief sixto brillantes’ parting words to acting chief robert lim in 2015, before chief andy’s appointment…

Brillantes’ advice to acting chairman Lim: “Relaks ka lang. Walang kwenta ‘yung mga batikos… Kalahati lang ang alam nila. Hindi nila alam ang tunay na nangyayari.” (You just relax. Criticisms are of no value. They only know half of the story. They do not know what really happens.)   

… then maybe we should have those house and senate hearings, now na!  let’s hear more from ex-chief sixto, and chief andy, of course.  let’s have the whole story finally, straight from the horses’ mouths.