.
Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Napikon na si Comelec Chair Brillantes over AES/CenPeg’s failing grade in election preparation score card. Let’s support the Movement Against Dynasties’ campaign to raise 5.2 million signatures for an enabling law vs. political dynasties. Candidates should be confronted with tough issues affecting them, instead of restricting interviews to niceties such as the candidates’ love life or how he raises his family.






The AES Watch, an umbrella coalition of about 40 organizations composed of IT practitioners, academics from various disciplines and other professionals monitoring preparations for the mid-term elections, and its companion organization, the Center for People Empowerment and Governance,  last Monday held a forum at the Bahay Alumni at UP Diliman and presented its STAR (for System Traansparency, Accountability and Readiness) Card of Comelec and its planned Automated Election System. Not surprising, AES Watch and CenPeg gave Comelec a failing mark amid warning that the coming elections could be marred by serious flaws.

Predictably too, napikon si Comelec Chief Brillantes and urged his critics to sue him. I suppose Brillantes is truly so irked already, but the IT professionals have every reason to be fearful of the coming elections as the poll body has failed to meet the issues, especially the very crucial ones, with candor and transparency. The IT people are just doing their job.

XXX

A civil society group that calls itself the “Movement Against Dynasties” (MAD), with lead convenor and chair Quentin San Diego and co-convenor and co-chair Danilo Olivares, launched its campaign to gather signatures against political dynasties last Sunday at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, with the full cooperation of Asst. Rector Don Murray.  MAD plans to bring the campaign to various churches in the metropolis as well as in other population centers around the country. MAD, however, will not only depend on the Catholic Church which has more parishes than legislative districts, but also on various other faiths and sects---making it truly an inter-faith effort.

MAD’s idea is to raise 5.2 million signatures, the minimum required by RA 6735, the People’s Initiative and Referendum Act, so that through people’s initiative it hopes to make the prohibition against dynasties mandatory in the Constitution---instead of depending on Congress to flesh out the constitutional prohibition vs. dynasties (Sec. 26, Art. II, “Declaration of Principles and State Policies”). According to Danny Olivares, Congress cannot be depended upon to pass that enabling law as it would hurt the legislators’ vested interest (more than 70 percent of members of Congress belong to dynastic families)---hence the need to rally the people to enact it themselves under people’s initiative.

XXX

Danny opined that MAD drew its inspiration from the Jan. 28, 2013 Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops which denounced the “widening practice of political dynasties.” Said the Bishops: “As monopolies in business, monopolies in politics limit the entry that can bring in new ideas and offer better services.  Political dynasties breed corruption and ineptitude. We are aggrieved that law-makers themselves defy the supreme law of the land by not following the mandate of our Philippine Constitution given 26 years ago to make an enabling law to ban political dynasties.”

A similar campaign vs. dynasties was launched last week by the Bicol Autonomy Movement, which hopes to gather at least 1.5 million signatures by the end of  April.  

XXX

As part of the information campaign on the evils of political dynasties, says Danny, on March 7, at 2 pm. at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig, three prestigious academic institutions will conduct a forum on the issue: professors from the Asian Institute of Management, on the link between dynasties and poverty; from the Ateneo de Manila, on dynasties and corruption, and the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, on dynasties and political violence.  More details about this forum later.

I think most of our citizens realize the pernicious and stifling effects on the socio-political life of the country of the dominance of dynasties in virtually every province, as well as the political violence that erupts in many provinces and cities every election. So it behooves us all to help support the campaign against dynasties. I salute the civic- minded people that finally mustered the resolve to launch MAD, as well as organizations, faiths and academic institutions that support it.  Calling especially on civic organizations such as the Rotary, Jaycees, Lions, Zonta, Soroptomists, etc. 

XXX

Independent senatorial candidate Teddy Casino has called not only for a tougher public discussion of the various candidates’ platforms and programs, but also for them to defend their respective stand about issues, especially the controversial ones. Casino vows to explain what’s generally perceived to be his “leftist” views. 

This is well and good and other candidates should follow suit and talk about tough issues involving them---or if they prefer to be evasive about those, media should confront them about these issues, and not merely confine radio/TV interviews to asinine matters such as their love life, hairdo, etc. We can follow the tough, no holds-barred interviews that US media conduct of the candidates.

For instance, a newspaper has been writing reams about the controversy surrounding the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) , more popularly known as Port Irene in Cagayan, that was created through the sponsorship of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. In this connection, UNA candidate Jack Enrile should be asked point-blank over TV and radio what his family’s connection with this controversial port, is, and the truth about allegations that super-luxury used cars are being smuggling through that port by the hundreds---for resale around the country, contrary to the provisions of the law. 

The young Enrile has to be asked all the scathing questions on this issue and he has to answer them if he deserves the people’s votes.

XXX

On the other hand, two weeks ago a columnist from the same newspaper wrote about what to him was the irony of Sen. Edgardo Angara’s chairing a global anti-corruption forum in Makati, when he himself is embroiled in the controversy over the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco) that Angara authored (Senate Bill 2603in 2007 which became RA 10083 in 2009 ) in his native province  of Aurora, whose costs have already climbed to P2 billion and is expected to exceed P3 billion. 

The columnist cited Sen. Serge Osmena’s charge that putting up such an expensive project in such a far-flung area has failed to draw a single foreign investor until now, and that it's only the Angaras who have profited from the project. The columnist cited how the bishops and the priests of Aurora  and Quezon are in full support of the farmers and fishers there who claim their ancestral lands had been grabbed from them by Angara's project---causing them to march all the way to Manila for two weeks, to protest their displacement.

Indeed, Sen. Angara’s son, Rep. Sonny Angara, who was his father’s co-author on this project (House Bill 10293) that "little owed to economic feasibility" and who is now running for senator in the LP coalition, should be confronted by media on this burning issue;  and he should answer it fully, if he is to get the people’s votes.

XXX

By the way, some months back, Ateneo students as well as seminarians from San Jose Seminary at the Ateneo Loyola Campus had shepherded those farmers and fisher folk from Casiguran on their protest march vs. Apeco to Manila. Because President Noynoy is an Ateneo alumnus, some school bigwigs thought of arranging a dialogue with him for the farmers and fisherfolk about the Apeco project, so he could hear their allegations about how their ancestral lands were grabbed from them. 

But the dialogue with P-Noy held at San Jose Seminary turned out to be a monumental disaster, judging from the Facebook post of Fr. James Gascon, S.J., former head of Jesuit Communications and now with CEFAM.

XXX

Wrote Fr. Gascon:

“The people who attended the supposed ‘dialogue with P-Noy’ and the Casiguran farmers were all down-trodden after. They all felt the President was such a bully. Never let people finish; insulted them. I could not believe that from Cefam I could hear people wailing.  One was even brought to the infirmary because she fainted out of frustration. The Ateneans who attended and walked with the farmers were literally wailing too. Not one from the seminarians who attended the ‘dialogue’ or should I say ‘monologue,’ spoke anything positive about the event.”

Talk in the campus afterwards was that Ateneo President Jett Villarin, S.J.,  texted P-Noy, who was his classmate at the Ateneo, and scolded him about the way he treated those Casiguran marchers.




For comments/reactions, please email:

No comments:

Post a Comment