Panic triggers attack mode

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Not only Fernando Poe Jr. is shooting himself in the foot by prematurely announcing his victory and generally confirming his inadequacies. The Arroyo government is, too. In the brief span of four days, it has succeeded in planting the seeds of suspicion in millions of otherwise complacent minds that it might indeed have orchestrated not only the nation-wide assault against the six party list groups its National Security Adviser claims are communist fronts, but also large-scale fraud during and after the May 10 elections.

The fraud is fairly well-established, as is the disenfranchisement of close to a million voters. What is yet to be proven is whether the disenfranchisement was selective and not the result of plain Comelec incompetence

Situation normal

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A hundred and forty-one dead in election-related incidents. Some candidates complaining that their votes were not being counted, or were being credited to their opponents. And there

Low expectations

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Despite all hopes to the contrary, the country will probably find out within the next few days that the contest for president was indeed between Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fernando Poe Jr.

Contrary to the Poe camp’s predictions, the country should also be discovering that Mrs. Arroyo will continue to be its president for six more years—unless the country shifts to a parliamentary system of government, in which case she’s likely to be in Malacanang until she’s 70.

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American gulag

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A member of the US Special Forces bound his hands with rope and put a hood over his head. He was held in a room with the windows blacked-out and guarded round-the-clock. The guards taunted him with epithets like “shitbag” and “shithead.”

He was given food, but not enough so that he was always hungry. Wounded during his first days of captivity, his wound was left untreated, as US military intelligence interrogated him several hours each day.

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Coming this May: more of the same

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Despite hopes for the contrary, the May 10 elections are likely to result in the same thing Philippine elections have been noted for since 1947: the triumph of money, of alliances of convenience, and the use of public funds for private ends.

The trapos call it democracy. But it’s no more than traditional elite politics, the poor being so out of it except as window-dressing for the futile exercises Filipinos call elections.

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Opportunity missed01

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A project monitoring how the campaign for the May 10 elections is being covered by selected media organizations in Manila has bad news to report. The leading metro Manila broadsheets and the two biggest television networks may be “failing to meet a fundamental responsibility.” That responsibility is “making voters aware of what choices are available to them for the 12 Senate seats” as well as for the party-list and local elections.

Called “Elections: Citizens’ Media Monitor,” the project was put together by the non-governmental Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) with the help of church and civic organizations, and forty volunteer journalism majors from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication under the supervision of two of their professors.

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