Hector Tarrazona

CBCP: Clergy may join revolt

CBCP: Clergy may join revolt
By Evelyn Macairan
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A ranking official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday some members of the clergy are planning to join another popular revolt in the event of a failure of elections.

Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, CBCP Public Affairs Committee chairman, said a failure of elections where no president is proclaimed would force people to take to the streets.

“This (event) is one of those instances when the people would need guidance (from us),” Iniguez said.

Iniguez clarified that it is up to each member of the CBCP to decide whether to join such protest actions.

Iniguez said the statements made by Malacañang officials in playing up the scenario of a military takeover in the event of scuttled elections are not helping President Arroyo.

Iniguez appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to exert all effort to ensure that the elections on May 10 would be clean and peaceful.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo called on critics to stop discussing a scenario that he said will never happen.

“Let us not talk about failure of elections. There will be elections nationwide,” Melo said.

Melo noted that talk of a failure of elections snowballed following the pronouncement of deputy presidential spokesperson Charito Planas, who played up the possibility of a military junta taking over the government if elections fall through.

Melo said the declaration of failure of elections occurs only in isolated cases, such as in areas where violence prevents the people from casting their votes.

“Failure of elections happens for reasons that cannot be controlled like when there is violence and the people opted not to go out and vote,” Melo explained.

Melo said such a scenario occurring on a nationwide scale was highly improbable because the elections on May 10 would be fully automated.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento earlier advised the public to simply go out and vote on May 10 to defeat the possibility of a failure of elections.

“Even if the all precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines did not work on Election Day – which is impossible – elections will still occur if the voters showed up and voted… these ballots can still be appreciated and counted manually, just like in the past elections,” Sarmiento explained.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Comelec can only declare a failure of elections if the voters are not able to cast their votes due to forces beyond their control like earthquake, tsunami, terrorist attack or other violent incidents.

Self-defeating attitude

Administration presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro, for his part, said talk of a failure of elections are pure speculation and pessimism.

“For me, I would speculate that we should focus on who wins in (the) elections. We must win in the elections and when we speculate on no proclamation, that is very, very self defeating,” he said.

Teodoro made the remark in reaction to his cousin, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, warning of another people power revolt in the event of a failure of elections.

“It’s now incumbent on the Comelec to ensure that there would be credible, honest and acceptable elections,” the former Defense chief said.

Teodoro said talking about the possibility of a failure of elections at this point is short of admitting losing the presidential elections.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial candidate Rey Langit urged candidates to stop floating the idea of another people power revolution, saying this was a mere hypothetical issue, doing more harm than good to the country.

Langit said the ordinary people would suffer the brunt of ensuing political and economic instability, proven by the two EDSA revolts and several failed coup attempts.

Another senatorial candidate, Hector Tarrazona, also sees another popular revolt in the event of a failure of elections.

Tarrazona, of Ang Kapatiran party, said he saw what he called a “striking similarity” of the events that led to the two popular revolts that unseated two sitting presidents in 1986 and 2001.

Tarrazona, a retired Air Force colonel, pointed out the appointments of favorite military and police officials to key posts had destroyed professionalism in the ranks that led to the ouster of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

He claimed a growing demoralization among key officials in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police who were bypassed in the appointments.

Tarrazona likened the scenario in 1986 to the current situation, warning that if President Arroyo would push through on her alleged plans to stay beyond her term on June 30, a popular revolt would result, and this time, it might not be peaceful.

“My feeling is that it could be bloody if President Arroyo (pushes) herself,” he said.

Caretaker president

Talks on the possible failure of elections and no proclamation of a new president prompted several lawmakers to propose a measure on succession.

Sen. Rodolfo Biazon had proposed a caretaker president, citing the widespread apprehensions that the elections might fail due to the still unsolved power shortage problem in Mindanao and possible glitches in the automated balloting process.

Biazon also noted the fact that the terms of office of all three constitutional successors – Vice President Noli de Castro, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Prospero Nograles – are expiring at noon on June 30, along with that of President Arroyo.

In the event of an election failure and none of the three can assume the presidency even temporarily, it is feared that Mrs. Arroyo might hold on to power with the support of the military and the Supreme Court.

But other lawmakers led by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the proposal for Congress to choose a caretaker president in case there is a failure of elections on May 10 will run afoul of the Constitution.

“There is no such thing in the Constitution. A caretaker president is not among the three constitutional successors to the presidency,” he said.

Rodriguez said there is no need for a caretaker president as Biazon proposes, as incumbent senators can actually ensure the line of succession is not broken.

Rodriguez suggested that once it is clear after May 10 that there would be problems in determining the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates, senators could elect a replacement for Enrile.

“The replacement should come from the 12 whose terms of office will expire in 2013 so that at noon on June 30, he can take over from Mrs. Arroyo as acting president until the president-elect or vice president-elect is proclaimed,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said this is in accordance with Article VII (Executive Department) Section 7 of the Constitution, which reads:

“Where no President and Vice President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the President of the Senate, or in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President until a President or Vice President shall have been chosen and qualified.”

“It is clear from this provision that incumbent senators hold the key to preventing an extended term for GMA or a military takeover in case elections fail,” Rodriguez stressed.

He said senators could elect their new leader on May 31, when Congress resumes session principally to canvass the votes for president and vice president.

“By then, it should be clear if there would be problems in proclaiming the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates,” Rodriguez said.

Enrile, who is seeking reelection, has expressed willingness to relinquish his post “at the proper time.”

Enrile said he himself would initiate the selection of his replacement if there were a failure of elections on May 10. –With Jess Diaz, Jaime Laude, Mayen Jaymalin, Perseus Echeminada

When straight emits the odor of crooked

When straight emits the odor of crooked
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star

There is a paid TV ad titled Ituwid natin (Let’s straighten it out) that has been airing on ABS-CBN TV Patrol and Umagang kay ganda (Good Morning). It is hosted by showbiz personality Toni Gonzaga and she is assisted alternately by lawyers Geronimo Sy and Cesar Villanueva.

The paid TV ad is formatted to appear as a public affairs segment, similar to a typical talk show. It is well funded — PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Petron, San Miguel Corporation and the DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) among the listed sponsors. The PCSO and DBP are under the government.

One would think that with the devastation being caused by the El Niño, the funds of the PCSO and the DBP would have been better allocated for the affected farmers. Other than those affected by the El Niño, there are easily 20 other public needs the PCSO and the DBP would do well to address instead.

Ituwid natin purports to promote discussions on the gains and lessons of EDSA I and EDSA II and the roles of the presidents since EDSA I. But that is not how your Chair Wrecker saw it and yours truly is not alone in this observation. Two leading ABS-CBN news and public affairs veterans share the view that Ituwid natin is soft propaganda for massaging the exit image of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

Normally, we would not take issue with that. GMA is entitled to put her best foot forward, especially now that she is stepping down from the highest office in the land. But when GMA’s image repair is accomplished at the expense of the truth — whether it is the failure of omitting the whole truth or of telling a lie — then we must expose and challenge it.

Watching Ituwid natin gives the trained eye the impression that there is another agenda being served other than to repair the image of GMA. That other agenda is to lessen the monumental image of the late beloved president, Cory C. Aquino, the historical titan the whole world hailed as the Icon and Saint of Democracy when she passed away last August 1, 2009.

For instance, the segment where RAM (Reform the Armed Forces Movement) retired colonel Red Kapunan appeared is the best proof of this insidious Cory bashing agenda of Ituwid natin. Neither Gonzaga nor her co-host challenged Kapunan when he stated that the RAM launched their coup attempts against Cory Aquino because of their deep concern that the Communists were gaining ground under her administration.

The truth is Kapunan and his comrades launched their coup attempts because they were out to grab political power. The truth is it was the militarization under the Marcos regime that promoted the growth of the Communist Movement and that it was the democratic space Cory Aquino introduced after EDSA I that divided the Red Sea like Moses did in the Old Testament.

The truth is it was the growth of the Communist Movement owing to the oppression and repression during the Marcos regime which compelled then US President Ronald Reagan to stop supporting Marcos and pushed Marcos to vacate Malacañang Palace. Up to February 22, 1986, Reagan still supported Marcos. Reagan only relented after then US State Secretary George Shultz impressed on him that the Communists will attain stalemate here within two years if Marcos remained as president.

During the Cory years, the Communists were thrown into disarray and fought among themselves because many of their comrades were tired of fighting and were convinced by the sincerity of the new administration and the attraction of the new democratic space. To prevent their comrades from returning to the mainstream, the diehards started their own version of the Killing Fields of Cambodia — slaughtering their own kind.

The Communist political fronts were all dismantled by the political component of the Cory Aquino administration’s anti-insurgency program which was launched by then Local Government Secretary, the late Jimmy N. Ferrer. Ferrer was assassinated in what was made to appear as a job of the Communists but would later on tend to indicate that it was a Right Wing job designed to promote more conflict that will weaken the Cory administration.

Unlike Kapunan, Hector Tarrazona, another RAM member who also helped oust Marcos, did not join the coup attempts against Cory Aquino. During the 1989 coup, Tarrazona was the most senior officer at the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City. He stopped the officers and men under his command from joining the coup. The plan then was for the rebel sympathizers in the air base to take off in the trainer planes and to drop explosives on pinpointed targets.

Another RAM member, Rex Robles, is still remembered for sharing his tears before a national television audience when Cory Aquino passed away last August 1, 2009. Those were tears of regret from Rex Robles which enhanced his manhood for having admitted a wrong done to a great president and to the country. In contrast, Kapunan would rather prefer to rewrite history.

It is bad enough that many Filipinos do not know the real history of their country. What makes the situation worse is the constant attempt to rewrite contemporary history just to attain political gain or to simply save face.

Not knowing our real history, we end up embracing our biggest oppressors and rejecting the nationalists who are fighting for the real interests of the Filipino people. Just to show how sick the Filipino national soul is, we have found it acceptable and legal to promote the interests of another country and deemed it criminal for Filipinos to protect their national interests.

As a consequence of our folly, many foreigners have become filthy rich from the natural resources of our country while many of our people remained misinformed, uneducated and impoverished. For not knowing the historical truth, the Filipino has become the biggest impediment of Philippine progress.

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Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: [email protected] and www.chairwrecker.com