After Automated Elections, You Can’t Go Home Again

An air of excited expectancy was palpable in our neighborhood this morning. There was a feeling that the day ahead would be full of surprises, hopefully not unpleasant. We live right across a voting precinct and the place was abuzz with activity the past few days. The poll personnel and volunteers were there a full two hours before the voting was to officially start, although the cops and military who were guarding the place were camped out days before.

As always, it’s a chaotic process: long queues, inaccurate voters’ lists, the confused electorate mingling (and occasionally tangling) with the frazzled election officials, shady characters working for the various candidates hovering in the sidelines. A crazy stew exacerbated by the steamy summer heat.

But after you get through the long lines, the voting itself is relatively quick and painless. Simple, fast and apparently transparent. The PCOS machines, at least where we voted, worked wonderfully. I saw smiling faces leaving the polling place. Even the police looked relaxed and happy. Or maybe it’s just me feeling good about politics for the first time in a very long while. Continue reading “After Automated Elections, You Can’t Go Home Again”

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Why I Will Not Vote for Noynoy Aquino

This is in response to a friend’s bewildered query as to why I’m not voting for Noynoy.

In September of last year, I wrote a post in which I said that we should give Noynoy Aquino the benefit of doubt until he shows us that there is something behind that bland (bald?) demeanor other than tired platitudes and empty promises, the hallmark of the trapo. Nine months on, he has not said or done anything which would have convinced me that he has the qualities to become a capable president. In addition to other reasons enumerated in another later post, the following points have convinced me that the country is in deep trouble should he succeed:

1. He did not fight a “good fight” — In the sense that St. Paul meant, that we should exhibit intelligence, humility and moral courage in all our struggles. Or at least try to.

Instead, he relied on mudslinging and black propaganda. Most of the presidential candidates did so too, but his was the most odious in terms of viciousness and because of his oft-stated claim of virtuousness by reason of parentage. This two-faced and cynical approach to politics means it will be business as usual if he gains power. While mouthing high-minded ideals, he conducted his campaign at the level of the gutter. He will bring this hypocritical outlook to Malacanang.

His true character was revealed when Chiz Escudero unveiled the NOYBI initiative to stab Mar Roxas in the back. It took him a long while to publicly repudiate the effort and reaffirm support for his embattled running mate. This despite the fact that Mar selflessly paved the way for Noynoy’s run.

It was Mar again who immediately and graciously stated that any support for the standard bearer is welcome although it might bode ill for him. Say what you will about Mar Roxas, no one can deny that he’s a class act. In contrast to Noynoy’s new buddy, Jojo Binay, who out-trapoed the trapos in order to build a dynasty in Makati. Jojemar is telling the truth though. If he wins, he’s going to do to the rest of the country what he did to Makati, which is to say institutionalize patronage politics and corruption. Continue reading “Why I Will Not Vote for Noynoy Aquino”

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The Hope of Audacity

If anyone seems to be having the most fun out of campaigning for the presidency, it looks to me like Dick Gordon.

Just check out his video with the comedy duo Moymoy Palaboy which has gone viral. This is not the demeanor of a man lagging far behind in the polls. He looks and sounds like a winner.

The irrepressible Gordon is nothing if not audacious. After failing to keep the U.S. bases in his bailiwick of Olongapo City (God stepped in anyway with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo to ensure that the Americans well and truly left), he turned what could have been a calamitous situation into a golden opportunity. Pushing for the establishment of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, he converted the former U.S. naval base into a thriving freeport, creating more jobs and revenue than when the U.S. military was there.

As Secretary of Tourism, he once again showed his marketing savvy (he was at one time a brand marketing exec for P & G), boosting foreign and local tourism after years in the doldrums. He was also the high profile head of the Philippine National Red Cross, making his presence felt at every natural or man-made disaster even while serving in the Senate.

All is not sweetness and light in Gordon country, however. Long-time anti-U.S. bases activist, child-welfare advocate and Gordon critic, Catholic priest Fr. Shay Cullen, paints a dark picture of a Godfather-like warlord who will not hesitate to use extreme measures to silence his critics and get his way. But this image did not gain wide acceptance in the public mind. Continue reading “The Hope of Audacity”

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