Danton

I spoke with Danton Remoto of Ang Ladlad today, and he explained his side of the story behind the denial of his group’s request for accreditation. He informed me that he was going to file a motion for reconsideration, and reported some disturbing facts to me that I promised to look into.

All told, I believe that – assuming Ang Ladlad can show that it has faithfully complied with all the requirements of the law – then it should be granted accreditation. As a matter of fact, that’s what I emphasized in today’s press release.  The disapproval of the group’s application was based solely on it’s non-compliance with the law. Or more precisely, the requirements for accreditation set down by jurisprudence (which, of course, is part of the law of the land).

Still, I suppose this ruling must sting like hell. And yet, despite all that, Danton was very polite and upbeat. His equanimity was much appreciated, coming as it did, on the heels of what had to be a huge disappointment handed to it by the COMELEC.

I appreciated it even more since I had occasion to compare him to Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

Tinio, for whose group the COMELEC recently bent over backwards, had the temerity to threaten, yep threaten, COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos if the COMELEC didn’t do what he wanted.

It was at a meeting with Kontra-Daya, that new group formed by Vice-President Tito Guingona and Fr. Joe Dizon, when Tinio started ticking off provisions of RA 9369 which he said had to be operationalized in May 2007. First mentioned was the  requirement for there to be an 8th copy of the election returns. Abalos said that it would be done – as he has often said in public. But Tinio belligerently pointed out that the 8th copy wasn’t mentioned in the General Instructions for BEIs

That statement nearly knocked me off my seat. The GI was promulgated on January 26, while RA 9369 was published for the first time on the same day and was scheduled to take effect only in February. How could Tinio expect something that wasn’t even a valid and enforceable law yet find its way into the GI? In any case, Abalos assured everyone that an 8th copy would be available.

Towards the end of the meeting, after everything had been going on cordially enough, Tinio suddenly pipes up again with his insistence that the COMELEC should provide facilities for flashing the canvassing up on widescreens at every canvassing center. Now, on the surface of things, this would entail considerable costs, mostly from procuring multimedia projectors for every canvassing center. The Chairman responded by saying that we would do this if we could get the money for it.  Tinio shoots back with an arrogant “pag hindi niyo ito ginawa, sasabihin naming wala kayong political will!” in a very belligerent tone, yet again. The intent to threaten Abalos with unfounded public criticism was clear, and it elicited a strong reaction from the COMELEC Chairman.

Obviously, Tinio had gone on a bear-baiting expedition. Watching him smirk at Abalos rising to the bait reminded me of sophomoric juveniles getting cheered on by their mates whenever they get under the skin of the teacher with their wisecracks.

Abalos clarified that he was willing to field projectors if we could find the money for it, but Tinio apparently wanted a blanket guarantee that we would do it, even if we could not find money for it. The bottom line is this: the budget we were granted by Congress to run the May 14 polls is the barest minimum we can work with. If you add another significant expense, then some items on the budget would have to do without; and the budget is so thin that “doing without” might literally mean cutting alot of necessary corners.

Someone pointed out that RA 9369 itself provided for a 2.6 billion peso budget. Sure, it did. But it also said that the money would come from the COMELEC Modernization Fund – there is no such thing. And since there is no COMELEC Modernization Fund, the 2.6 billion being referred to actually does not exist. And the only thing we can buy with non-existent money is a non-existent multi-media projector.

However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. Certainly, the COMELEC can deputize other government agencies to fill in where the COMELEC cannot provide. In the case of multi-media projectors, for instance, we could probably ask the DILG to help us out. These alternative modes should have been deemed included in Abalos cautious statement that “we will do it if we can.” It went without saying that, obviously, if we get DILG to help us, then “we can.” His objection to Tinio’s statement, therefore, was not to the idea of complying with the law, but with the abrasiveness and rudeness that Tinio must have thought was a cool thing to use. And the funny thing is, Tinio’s principals – Fr. Joe Dizon, RC Constantino, Tito Guingona, and all the rest understood exactly what Abalos was saying and were satisfied with his statement that he would do his best to make it happen.

What a disappointment. And to think that both he and Danton are teachers. How can one be so rude in the face of what was, ultimately nothing more than a cautious statement; and the other, so gracious despite such a grievous disappointment?

28 Responses

  1. […] I found this interesting entry from Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in his blog. He talks about the irony in Wednesday’s meetings with Kontra Daya and Remoto. I spoke with […]

  2. Dear James,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. You are a man of honor.

    Cheers,

    Danton Remoto

  3. Hi Dir. James,

    What can you expect, not all teachers are worth emulating…spoiled brat, I must say.

    Village Tickler

  4. Dear Dir. James,

    Can you just look at the list of newly-approved party lists and honestly tell me that they are ALL bonafide and true party list groups that embody the spirit of the party list representation law? Come on, what’s this KASANGGA which has posters around the city but gives no information about its advocacy?
    I do think that you might be one of the more decent people in Comelec, and I do hope that you can help support the cause of Ang Ladlad.

    Sincerely,
    Raymond Macapagal

  5. Hi tickler. I suppose you’re right. Not all teachers are worth looking up to. Too bad, tho’ that the person supposed to speak for teachers also happens to be exactly the kind of teacher whose example we should worry about.

  6. Dear Mr. Macapagal,

    While I agree with you that some accreditations for party-list seem unrighteous, I am certain that all at least cleave faithfully to the letter of the law.

    Accrediting Ang Ladlad will , indeed, show faithfulness to the spirit of the law, but we must also have compliance with the letter of the law. As I pointed out, Ang Ladlad was not able to prove its presence in the provinces, according to the standards set by the Commission.

    Mr. Remoto – when we spoke – pointed out how the Commission may have been mistaken when it came to this conclusion. And I am looking very closely into what he said. I hope that it can eventually be shown that Ang Ladlad DID comply with the letter of the law.

    And with that compliance, I hope accreditation follows with no problems at all.

  7. Dear Dir. James,

    Greetings, I hoped to find out what specifically did Ang Ladlad fail to prove to the Comelec in terms of its national membership?

    What about the letter of the law was Ang Ladlad not able to comply with?

    The purpose of my question is to be able to understand the Comelec decision objectively and rationally.

    The resolution states: “Contrary to petitioner’s allegation in its petition that its membership is national in scope, reports from our field offices reveal that it doesn’t exist in most regions of the country.”

    Do the Comelec field offices report that there are no lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people in most regions of the country or that the organization Ang Ladlad has no official presence in most regions of the country?

  8. Dear JHBD,

    It’s the official presence that is being questioned. I think the presence of LBGTs is beyond refutation.

    To be accredited, a PL organization must prove it has a presence in a majority of areas within its constituency. So, a national PL organization (like Ang Ladlad claimed to be) must have a palpable presence in a majority of places nationwide. That presence is evidenced by local chapters.

    According to the Resolution, what happened was that this nationwide presence was not proven.

  9. Hi Dir. James,

    It’s a good sign that COMELEC is trying to look at the points, questions and issues raised concerning the disqualification of Ang Ladlad in the partylist election.

    Though Ang Ladlad is not my preferred partylist group, I am also concerned with the rumors that COMELEC accredited a certain partylist group associated with a relative of the COMELEC chair?

    And another rumor has it that there are sectoral parties such as the Alliance of Rural Concerns (ARC) and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) were not accredited for the partylist election this year.

    As far as I know, PL should have a been a venue for engagement for the marginalized, yet LADLAD (for the LGBT), ARC (for the rural workers, I assumed) and TUCP (for the workers) were not accredited.

    And as far as I know, these groups aren’t Malacanan-backed groups, with the exception of course of TUCP which is openly supporting PGMA.

    Sayang.

    Village Tickler

  10. Great work comelec. You have done a great work in the last elections, you are doing a better work now. We are forever grateful for your great wisdom and equality. What would the Philippine be without the comelec? Such a perfect world we live in no?

  11. Hi tickler, when dealing with the issue of non-accreditation, my hope is that people try to find out why a certain group was not accredited. while it is true that everyone must be engaged, it is also true that there are rules that need to be observed. take tucp, for instance. i believe tucp lost its accreditation because it failed to garner enough votes in the last elections (i could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that I’m not). Now, following the rules means letting the consequences of non-compliance flow, regardless of whatever else we may feel about the group.

    The law says a PL group that doesn’t get the required number of votes loses its accreditation; TUCP didn’t get those votes, ergo, it loses its accreditation.

    So although we know that TUCP is huge and represents a marginalized sector, what can we really do? If we exempt TUCP from the rule, then shouldn’t we exempt everyone else as well? Where, then, would it all end?

    Kaya nga in the specific case of Ladlad, I’m hoping that Danton can come up with definitive proof that Ladlad does have an official presence where it says it does. That way, Ladlad can get its accreditation.

  12. Hi jher,

    it’s that new thing called ‘sarcasm,’ right? haha. that’s funny. and so original.

  13. I support Ang Ladlad,

    I want to vote for it, I intend to back it and I want it to be accredited.

    Accredit ANG LADLAD… NOW NA !

  14. hmmm… hinay hinay lang. i support the LGBT cause, I am also gay, but i read the resolution and the reports on ladlad’s accreditation, and i just have some questions.

    1. Hindi ba dapat mas organisado Ang Ladlad para maipakita na meron talaga siya ng national membership? I am gay, but it doesn’t mean that Ladlad speaks on my behalf. The only way that Ladlad could prove that it has sufficient membership ay kung meron siya ng sapat na list ng members, hindi yung dami ng mga bakla at tomboy sa Pilipinas. Hindi naman ata maganda na i-claim na komo maraming bakla, miyembro na sila ng Ladlad. Hindi enough ang 300 members na binigay niya sa COMELEC.

    Tingin ko rin, hindi rin magandang dahilan na hindi out ang maraming mga bakla, especially if we constantly hear from Prof. Remotos that Ladlad has thousands of supporters. E bat di pwedeng gawing members ang mga supporters na yun?

    At the same time, COMELEC has to be more fair in its accreditation rules. Tutuong nakakadismaya na may mga grupo na kahit halatado namang wala miyembro, na-accredit sila. Granted, hoiwever, na may mga ganung kaso, hindi ito excuse para ma-accredit ang isang grupo na walang enough na miyembro kagaya ng Ladlad. Dapat fair and full implementation of the law.

    2. my other question is, bakit hindi as a sectoral party nag-rehistro ang Ladlad? Bakit national party, tapos alam naman nila na 300 lang ang members na pwede nila mamobilize for accreditation?

  15. Director Jimenez,

    I have to express my sentiments towards the Comelec’s denial of accreditation for Ang Ladlad as a PL group.

    I believe that the Comelec should uphold the law at all times, and I do have confidence that you are doing the best you can to preserve the integrity of our national elections. Still, I cannot help but feel disappointed with the resolution against Ang Ladlad.

    The technicalities invoked against the organization is not a question for me, because they are requirements stipulated in our laws. But what I am in doubt is the process of verifying these requirements. I humbly ask the Comelec if there is a clear process for verification of these requirements, especially with regard to the “national scope” issue? Are the reports from the field offices officially instituted, systematized, and concrete? If it is not, was there any on-the-record dialogue regarding the best process for verifying an organization’s national scope? Since Ang Ladlad was rejected because of technicalities, it is only proper that we ask the Comelec if they are able to comply with all these technicalities. Is the Comelec ready to divulge field reports, rugulations in verifying the requirements for application, and all pertinent documentation, even before an appeal is made? I do hope so, because it speaks of the credibility and integrity of our election body.

    Given the technicalities of the requirements for application, the Comelec ought to have a proper and fair due process on them. This is the least they can do to have a conscientious ruling against any PL applicant. Let the Comelec be reminded that these people are already part of the minority, and that it should avoid double standards and further marginalization of the marginalized.

    Thank you very much.

  16. Dear Young Voter,

    First off, let me applaud you for being concerned enough about your country to take your duty as a citizen seriously.

    Secondly, an inquiry into the technicalities of this case is exactly what I am advocating. So I guess we agree.

  17. I support Ang Ladlad.

    Ricardo Sunico
    Pasay City

  18. Hi Dir. James,

    First of all congratulations my tukayo for this site. I don’t really delve much into politics, and only do so when I believe that more voices are needed to be heard, and heard clearly.

    I understand that the non-accreditation of Ang Ladlad is due to a specific technicality, the failure to show an organization which is national in scope.

    I however believe that, as what Sen. Recto has said, there is no question that as an organization Ang Ladlad has passed the litmus-test of party list representation – it represents a clear marginalized sector of the nation – the LGBT community.

    I am hoping that this technicality will be outweighed by the essence of what party-list representation is all about, and you give Ang Ladlad and it’s founding chair, Prof. Danton Remoto a chance to represent this sector — as he has been doing so unofficially for the more than 20+ years of his career.

    Give Ang Ladlad the party-list accreditation it trully deserves.

    James Zamael Sandoval
    San Juan

  19. (1) I support Ang Ladlad.

    (2) It’s good to know that government personalities are keeping in touch with the technology of the times.

  20. Hi Dir. James,

    On the case of TUCP, they argued that they merged with other partylist group and therefore ATUCP isn’t TUCP at all.

    Are there clearer rules when partylist merge in the same manner that I heard Abanse Pinay merges with Promdi this election and what if Abanse Pinay failed to garner enough votes this time around as they failed in 2004 yet was able to get last 2001?

    Village Tickler

  21. lifo rules, guys.

    Tickler, very interesting question. Let me find out if we have clearer rules on this.🙂

    Vida, thank you very much for dropping in.

    James, (nice name!) I too hope that Ang Ladlad can be given a chance.

    Ricardo, thanks for the comment.

  22. Good day my fellow voters!

    Contrary to the previous posts made here, I AM GLAD THAT COMELEC DECIDED “NO” FOR LAGABLAB.

    Let me explain my point.
    The term “marginalized”, which is a basis for which a group may be included in the partylist system, is defined in http://www.allwords.com as:

    “To push something or someone to the edges of anything (especially of society or one’s consciousness), in order to reduce its or their effect, relevance, significance, etc.”

    My question is: Can we say this definition is true of the gay community?

    If Philippine society is indeed pushing the gay community on the edge, then I have several whys:

    Why is there a significant number media exposures that present the and tackle the homosexual lifestyle? (such as movies “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros”, “Pusong Mamon”, “ZsaZsa Saturna” and a recent flick again by Rustom Padilla to be shown this month)

    Why are there significant number of openly gay personalities known and respected?

    Why are there organizations that promote the gay lifestyle that can openly rally and affect not only in the political arena but in most areas of Filipino lifestyle?

    Why can we openly post comments and negatively bash against unpopular media or politicians who stand in the way of our agenda?

    and many more similar whys…

    If we are indeed, marginalized – we cannot do ALL THIS.

    But as it seems CORRECT, WE ARE NOT.

    What are we protecting here?

    Is it really the persons who may have attractions with the same-sex (but who do not necessarily adhere to our belief system)?

    Or is it a political agenda that we want to impose in Philippine society – to accept a lifestyle which borders relativism and individualism?

    A statement that says “I am gay, and I am happy about it, and I don’t care if I have to trample against other people’s rights – I want to have my right to party and be gay!”

    Think about it…

    TO THE POLITICIANS OUT THERE…
    we EX-GAYS are voters ourselves.
    we want to be counted.
    we want to protect ourselves from political agenda that is against our belief system.

    we are here also in your midst.

    For people who may be struggling with same-sex attractions and are willing to accept a chaste life, contact:

    COURAGE (www.couragerc.net)
    BAGONG PAG-ASA (www.bagongpagasa.org)

    BOTANTE RIN KAMI !!!

  23. We are Courage Philippines, a lay Catholic spiritual support group.
    http://www.couragerc.net

    Our membership belongs to persons who are homosexually oriented (and we would like to be referred to as persons with same-sex attractions).
    However, our group does not advocate the gay lifestyle nor the gay culture. We do not advocate same-sex unions, nor promote a lifestyle that predisposes a person to promiscuity. We do not adhere to the agenda of the group called Ang Ladlad, lead by Danton Remoto. We instead promote a life of chastity. We instead promote a life of true charity and intimacy with another person. We instead uphold the values of life, love and family under the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    We support COMELEC for its decision to deny partylist accreditation to Ang Ladlad – because their ideals and gay agenda this group does not represent our ideals and goals. We are persons who homosexually oriented, but we do not support Ang Ladlad.

    And our group belongs to a network of other organizations (such as Bagong Pag-asa, Living Waters Community) whose members are also homosexually oriented, yet also share in our goals and ideals of chastity and the true meanings of love and family.

    If COMELEC changes its decision and accredits Ang Ladlad as a partylist, it has discredited us – because we have the same basic qualifications of members (persons with same-sex attractions), but we do not share their ideals and relativistic morality.

    Not all homosexuals are alike.
    We hope COMELEC and the general public sees that.

  24. Dear Director,
    I’m Zohaib Khan from karachi, pakistan and the nephew of ur sister ….. good luck in the on going elections in the philippines, we here in pakistan Enjoy reading ur blogs because it helps the public be aware of the current issues going on in the philippines …..
    Thank you and best regards to u Mr Director and more Power to u …..
    ZOhaib

  25. Dear Director James
    I believe it was most unfair of some of the Foreign Observers to suggest that COMELEC is itself complicit in election fraud and other irregularities, because there is simply no evidence to support such an allegation. As you suggested on TV last night, there may be some wrotten apples in the system, but they are in a minority. If the whole election process was flawed, Trillanes would not be in with a chance! At least COMELEC rectified the clerical errors discovered in Zambales. Let us hope it does not happen again elsewhere.
    From my observation I would say that COMELEC is doing its utmost to ensure the success of the 2007 election, but it is also struggling to contend with rampant fraud, corruption, vote buying and intimidation.
    Commissioner Sariento is right to point out that “the idolatry of gold and the terror of threats” has marred the election process in Lanao. But in truth his comments accurately reflect the real position elsewhere in the country.
    The winning independent candidate for Mayor of our town in Western Visayas used the 10 million Pesos he received from an Administration Congressman running for the Senate and the donation received from a re-election senator from the Opposition to buy the votes of the electorate , spending between 500 Pesos and 1500 Pesos per person. His main opponent from the Administration is unlikely to complain because she used the 5 million Pesos she received from the Administration to buy votes, and she also distributed free medicine. Many voters were disenfranchised, because their names were excluded from the voting register.
    How can COMELEC possibly be expected to police the elections when fraud, intimidation and vote buying are taking place througout the country on such a massive scale? I hope that people can understand how difficult is your task.
    Keep up the good work,
    James

  26. Thank you, ma’am. Thank you very much

  27. Thank you, Zohaib.

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