Seeking Closure

In seeking closure to the 2004 and 2007 elections, which type of book (history or law) should be thrown at the fraudsters first?

The truth has a funny way of coming out regardless of how it is suppressed.

After years of hiding and running from the law, former election supervisor of Maguindanao Lintang Bedol decided to surface last week and attest to what many already knew: that fraud had been committed in the 2004 presidential and 2007 senatorial elections favoring Mrs Arroyo.

The suspended regional ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan who is contemplating a life in prison for complicity in the Maguindanao massacre has also implicated Mrs Arroyo last week in a sworn statement.

When such evidence had been suppressed, some anti-GMA stalwarts sought to prod it out of complicit subalterns through a Truth Commission. Now that some of these subalterns have confessed to their involvement, they seem incoherent about the way forward.

Take Sen Chiz Escudero for instance. His proposal for a joint congressional fact-finding committee to determine the real winner of the 2004 presidential elections was echoed by his ex-partymate and vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda who suggested putting the picture of Fernando Poe, Jr her runningmate in Malacanang as a way of “correcting history” if it is proven that he won against Mrs Arroyo in 2004.

Such a move would be frivolous according to the senate president, Juan Ponce Enrile, who believes that prosecuting the case now lies with the Department of Justice whose chief says it is ready to handle it. Creating a separate body to deliberate over the issue would only impede the investigation. The point of Escudero and Legarda is to correct historically the results of the 2004 election, the point of Enrile is to determine criminal liability and prosecute the case against those found liable.

Congressman Ted Casino on the other hand wants Congress to go beyond the issue of who might have won or lost in the 2004 election and look at investigating and perhaps legislating ways to address vulnerabilities in our electoral system to protect it from manipulation in the future. A good point I might add. The problem however is how to deal with an issue that would already be under the jurisdiction of the courts.

Perhaps the best way forward is to expedite the legal proceedings first and then to use whatever evidence, insights or lessons uncovered in the process to inform future legislative proposals. While correcting the record books for posterity might be essential for the people involved, there will be ample opportunity to pursue this in the future. Right now, perhaps we need to let the proverbial wheels of justice turn.

The sooner we can get on with this, the sooner we can move on.

Doy Santos aka The Cusp

Doy Santos is an international development consultant who shuttles between Australia and the Philippines. He maintains a blog called The Cusp: A discussion of new thinking, new schools of thought and fresh ideas on public policy ( and tweets as @thecusponline. He holds a Master in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines and an MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

  • J_ag

    Closure???? Over a generation has passed since the Marcos have left the scene and the country has not seen closure of that sordid part of the country’s history.

    Imelda is in Congress. Bong Bong is a senator. His sister is a Governor.

    GMA’s grand kids are slated to become members of Congress after another generation.

    This is the way the system works.

    Bedol and Zaldy are part of an orchestrated PR campaign to spring Zaldy from jail.

    These bums and killers stole billions part from killing those poor devils that got in their way.

    Forget about the personalities and fight the system.

    Look at all the hulabaloo about the Spratlys. The Philippines signed on the Chang Mai initiative wherein we signed currency swap agreements with China, S. Korea and Japan. That underpins our forex reserves which just covers our total country debt.

  • Thai Anton

    Sue GMA for election fraud,and prove it in the court ,right now Pnoy admin is putting GMA on trial by publicity by media puppets like abs cbn . That’s why I’ve stop subscription to tfc.

    • Bert

      Don’t worry, Thai, Raul Lambino and Raul Gonzalez, also Edcel Lagman, are good lawyers, capable of acquitting GMA of any crime in any court, who knows. And there’s GMA 7 for you.

  • manuelbuencamino

    TO A GREAT MAJORITY OF FILIPINOS, the only acceptable CLOSURE is one or more courts declaring GMA GUILTY OF ELECTION FRAUD and sending GuLO to jail.

    To a few, like UPn, the only course of action left is to distract the majority, from jailing their patrona and throwing away the keys.

    • UP nn Grad

      After the YELLOWs marched triumphant as Ferdie fled to Hawaii on a helicopter, CLOSURE to many was a Truth Commission to find out “Who was masterrnind to Ninoy murder” plus recovering BILLIONS of pesos, plus jail time for the corrupt of the previous administration. Noynoy has said he has learned to value nation progress to healing his desire for personal closure, so who knows???

    • UP nn Grad

      CLOSURE AT ALL COST. Should be Noynoy aquino’s next election slogan. Get it done before SIonil Jose dies.

      • GabbyD

        what is the cost of closure?

        • UP nn grad

          extra-constitutional measures, maybe?extra to mean “in violation of”.

          Presi-Noynoy has already tried it once … five more years for two or three more tries!

      • UP nn grad

        ManuBuenca of course, is right. Many Filipinos want GMA convicted of ELECTION FRAUD and other stuff. GMA-JAIL or Noynoy-IS-A-“FAIL”!!!

        That’s intense pressure on Noynoy…. to be a FAILURE if he does not get GMA trotted off to jail. A FAILURE especially in comparison to his father, and of course, maybe-will-become-a-Saint Cory.

        My worry is that the pressure on Noynoy may make him do bravado-stuff. The pressure of being called a FAILURE can just get to him, and that’s not fair.

        Many Filipinos will be accepting if by 2016, the gap between Pilipinas and Thailand is cut in half, then Noynoy can retire to Spain where he can gallivant. Or to Germany — where he can drive a Porsche.

  • UP nn Grad

    To a few, the only acceptable CLOSURE is one or more courts declaring GMA GUILTY OF ELECTION FRAUD and sending GuLO to jail. It is up to PresiNoy0Noy to make this happen