Party list perverts

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Commission on Elections Chair Jose Melo says that the Comelec is having a hard time accrediting party list groups that truly represent marginalized sectors, and in recognizing nominees qualified to represent them because Philippine laws don’t define “marginalized.” But he himself seems to know — if we’re to go by his statement that limiting representation via the party list system to marginalized sectors “isn’t wise.”

“For example, here is a group of tricycle drivers. What if their nominee is a tricycle driver and he was not able to finish school. How can he represent the interest of tricycle drivers? They should have somebody who is educated to speak for them,” Melo was quoted as saying during a recent Comelec press conference.

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Oppressor and oppressed

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In the aftermath of his mother’s death and burial in the last quarter of 2009, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III overnight became the choice of an astounding 50 percent of the electorate for President of the Republic.

The early surveys showed Aquino III leading the previously unexciting and lackluster field of declared candidates for the post, which at that time included such mind-numbing and ho- hum contenders as Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., Bayani Fernando, Manuel Villar, and Joseph Estrada.

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Violence and remembrance

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The Nobel laureate William Faulkner observed some 50 years ago that their tragedy is that human beings can get used to anything. Faulkner was speaking in the context of the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, and the fear to which his generation had grown so accustomed it had become part of daily life. But his observation helps explain why public interest in the Ampatuan massacre of November 23 is waning.

As huge an outrage as the killing was of 57 men and women, 32 of whom were journalists and media workers, most Filipinos are already in the process of forgetting it, have already forgotten it, are no longer interested in it, or, when it was reported, were not even particularly shocked by it. Filipinos too can get used to anything — including the most brutal of murders and the worst killing of journalists in history.

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Mockery polls

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The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP-CMC) held mock presidential polls last week. The results surprised both the faculty as well as UP-CMC student leaders.

Richard Gordon came in first with a vote of 139 out of 370 students who voted, followed by Gilbert Teodoro (107). Benigno Aquino III was a poor third with 48 votes, followed by Manuel Villar with 37 votes. The rest of the results may be said to have been as expected: Nicanor Perlas received 15 votes, Eddie Villanueva 5, Jamby Madrigal 3, and Joseph Estrada 1, while Vetallano (sic) Acosta and J.C. de los Reyes received 0 votes. (The College has a total student population of over a thousand, and the low turn-out may be indicative of skepticism over the process or even the actual elections themselves.)

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