Feb 14 turned out to be a very event-filled day, after all.
At about 11 pm, COMELEC Chairman Abalos, accompanied by elements of the PNP and some members of the media (and me), started on a roadtrip that would end up with about nine people apprehended for violating the Fair Elections Act.
Out of Mandaluyong, Abalos’ convoy turned onto EDSA on the way to Quezon Avenue. The length of EDSA that we traversed was pretty clean. Q.Ave was the same, except for the Pantranco stretch where we saw posters promoting the party-list group AMIN.
We went down Q.Ave all the way to Espana. Espana, it seemed, was Sonia Roco country. But I saw Loren Legarda there too.
Then left into Forbes Avenue – Lacson Avenue now, I think – which was Mike Defensor’s poster stomping ground. Poster after poster of Defensor holding what seemed to me like rolled up blueprints (he has designs on our future?) lined the pillars of the Nagtahan overpass.
Left into Magsaysay avenue, we encountered posters of Kiko Pangilinan, Ping Lacson, and more Defensor. On and on we drove, pulling a train of media carrying vehicles behind us: PDI, the Philippine Star, RPN, ABSCBN, and so on. We were a convoy of white pick-ups and FXs, led by a shining black Chairman-mobile.
We went up Aurora boulevard and on into Marikina. A quick u-turn and we were suddenly on Katipunan, going into old Balara. And that was where we made the first apprehension. Two guys ( a third managed to run away) putting up posters for Kasangga Party-List were caught with sticky fingers – literally.
They were taken to the Policy Community P – something. I forget. I only remember that the place was called the PCP, which made me snigger. I mean, cops holding office at a place called PCP? Hahaha. If ytou don’t get it, sori ka.
From there, Abalos told me to take the lead. No pressure, but he wanted to make more apprehensions and I had to find him some. So I led the convoy to Kamuning then up Xavierville Avenue (Road?) where we found the second group of gooks.
At first, Cha and my driver – Peter – thought that it was just a bunch of people taking out the trash. But the fact that there were rolled up things on top of their white pick up and two huge plastic containers full of black goo in the back tipped us off, so we pulled up and accosted them.
The driver was belligerent at first, but the sight of a visibly riled Abalos, the glare of tv camera spotlights, and armed PNP officers swooping down on him convinced him to adopt a more cooperative attitude. When we saw that the posters he had were of Mike Defensor, well, Abalos just shook his head in disbelief.
After that, Abalos was ready to turn in, so we started the long drive to Libis – the only place where we had any hope of finding an open coffee-shop where we could hold a de-briefing for our media friends. On the way there, we spotted yet another group. So, the whole convoy once again descended on the violators who received a stern talking-to from Abalos.
When we finally made it to Libis, we invaded a coffee shop and held an impromptu press con where Abalos pretty much dropped the gauntlet to politicians: don’t test us, he said.
Let’s see if they do.
A note about the pictures: I wish I had more.