Conspiracies

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COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. thinks there’s a conspiracy afoot to discredit the Philippine electoral system. He’s identified the supposed conspirators as “those behind” the Automated Election System (AES) Watch, a coalition that has about 40 organizations and individuals as members, among them academics, non-government organizations and information technology (IT) experts.

In one more demonstration of the truth that you can’t be too good in doing your job in this country without being damned for it, Brillantes was in effect blaming AES Watch for being too systematic and too focused in its criticism of Comelec and the system over which it presides. He’s particularly piqued by the AES Watch claim that the Comelec’s conduct of the 2013 mid-term elections was even worse than its problem-plagued management of the 2010 Presidential elections. So annoyed was Brillantes that at one point he even threatened to sue Comelec critics, among them, probably especially, AES Watch.

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The eternal “only”

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ANOTHER event that in this country comes almost as often as its fun-filled fiestas is over, and everyone’s happy – or at least appears to be, except those few, pesky critics of the way things are done in this earthly paradise. The Commission on Elections is happy. Malacanang is happy. The Philippine National Police is happy. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is happy. The winning candidates are happy. Even the voters are happy.

The elections were “successfully held,” says the Comelec — and what election in the Philippines isn’t, and when was the last time anyone said otherwise? “Only” 200 to 300 of its 78,000 plus Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines hiccupped, rejecting ballots being fed into them, or even refusing to turn on, in some instances requiring the use of the latest high-tech Comelec device — e.g., broom handles — to fix, in others being consigned to wherever and whatever technological junk pile the Comelec has designated in advance (they knew some of them would fail; that’s why they bought them — which makes sense in the Comelec parallel universe).

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One man, one million votes

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THE candidates for the Senate will be focusing their energies in the coming week on getting the “command votes” of religious and other groups, said re-electionist Senator Gregorio Honasan of the supposedly, but not quite oppositionist, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

“Command votes,” said former Army Colonel Gregorio Honasan, “will prove crucial in getting the voters who are still undecided on their 12 choices (for senator) this late stage in the campaign.”

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Lethal mix

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JOURNALISTS AND POLITICIANS have always had an uneasy, troubled, and troubling relationship, whether in those countries that are, or which claim to be democracies, and even in dictatorships. But in this country where politics rules both during and between elections, the relationship has sometimes been lethal.

The “Fourth Estate” function of monitoring government often puts competent and honest journalists on a collision course with government officials whether appointed or elected, and with those politicians running for public office during election season. For the dishonest, paid partisanship leads to the same, at times deadly course with his or her patron’s rivals.

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