Archive for March, 2007

Joselito Cayetano disqualified and other news
March 27, 2007


Not much need to say anything beyond that. However, just to provide a bit more detail:

  • Joselito Cayetano was disqualified as a nuisance candidate by the COMELEC 1st Division.
  • Joselito Cayetano was called a nuisance candidate because it is clear that he does not have any capacity to conduct a nationwide campaign. The 1st Division took into consideration Joselito Cayetano’s financial circumstances and the fact that he was relying almost exclusively on KBL – the political party which allegedly nominated him, but whose top leadership has recently ‘disowned’ him.
  • Joselito Cayetano may still appeal the ruling of the Division, thus the disqualification still is not final.
  • In the meantime, considering that the disqualification may still be overturned on reconsideration, Mr. Joselito Cayetano’s name will remain on the Certified List of Candidates for Senators (for the 2007 National and Local Elections).

In other news …

The Certified List of Candidates for Senators (for the 2007 NLE) has been released. The candidates in the list are:

  1. Angara, Edgardo
  2. Aquino, Noynoy*
  3. Arroyo, Joker
  4. Bautista, Martin
  5. Cantal, Felix
  6. Cayetano, Alan Peter**
  7. Cayetano, Joselito***
  8. Chavez, Melchor
  9. Coseteng, Nikki
  10. Defensor, Mike
  11. Enciso, Ruben
  12. Escudero, Chiz
  13. Estrella, Antonio
  14. Gomez, Richard
  15. Honasan, Gringo
  16. Kiram, Jamalul
  17. Lacson, Ping
  18. Legarda, Loren
  19. Lozano, Oliver
  20. Magsaysay, Vic
  21. Montano, Cesar
  22. Oreta, Tessie
  23. Orpilla, Ed
  24. Osmena, John
  25. Pangilinan, Kiko*
  26. Paredes, Zosimo
  27. Pichay, Prospero
  28. Pimentel, Koko
  29. Recto, Ralph
  30. Roco, Sonia
  31. Singson, Chavit
  32. Sison, Adrian
  33. Sotto, Tito
  34. Trillanes, Antonio
  35. Villar, Manuel
  36. Wood, Victor
  37. Zubiri, Juan Miguel

* – Official Party nomination shall be subject to the outcome of GR Nos. 174992 and 175546, now pending before the Supreme Court.

** – Subject to a pending disqualification case, docketed as SPA 07-023

*** – Subject to pending disqualification cases, docketed as SPA 07-017 and 07-018

Also …

The Certified List of Party List Organizations participating in the elections has also been released. The following appear on that list:

  1. 1-UTAK
  3. AT
  7. ABONO
  9. ADD
  12. AGBIAG!
  14. AGAP
  15. AHON
  17. APOI
  19. AKSA
  20. ALAGAD
  22. ABC
  23. ANAD
  24. AAWAS
  25. ANC
  26. APO
  27. ARC
  29. AVE
  30. ATS
  31. ALMANA
  32. AKAPIN
  33. AGHAM
  34. ASAP
  35. ABA-AKO
  36. AN WARAY
  37. AMIN
  40. AG
  41. ALIF
  42. A SMILE
  44. ANAK
  45. ABS
  46. AMANG
  48. AAPS
  49. APEC
  50. BABAE KA
  51. BAGOI
  52. BATAS
  53. BTM
  55. BANAT
  57. BIGKIS
  58. BP
  60. BUHAY
  61. CIBAC
  64. GRECON
  66. DIWA
  68. HAPI
  71. KALAHI
  72. KAKUSA
  74. KASAPI
  75. BUTIL
  76. NELFFI
  77. PM
  78. PMAP
  79. PBA
  80. SM
  82. SPI
  83. SUARA
  84. SB
  85. BANTAY
  86. TUCP
  87. UMDJ
  88. UNI-MAD
  89. VFP
  90. YACAP
  91. LYPAD

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That’s 91 PL groups participating.


A page from the anarchist’s cookbook
March 25, 2007

Commission on Elections insiders yesterday confirmed that former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio “Garco” Garcillano had met with them to ensure a 9-3 victory for the senatorial candidates of the administration’s Team Unity (TU) in the May 2007 mid-term polls.

The Tribune’s latest article seeking to destroy the credibility of the coming polls reads more like a conspiracy theory in its attempt to stitch several separate issues together into a seemingly coherent whole which, not surprisingly, points to a foregone conclusion: that the elections will be rigged. The whole mess isn’t even original; just another page torn from the anarchist’s cookbook.

To my mind, it follows a distinct pattern shared by all forms of black propaganda:

Start with an ogre – a discredited figure that many people already dislike and distrust. The more hated the person is, the better the net effect of the propaganda. In this case, who better than Garcillano?

Posit a scheme so audacious that people will have to believe it to be true. Hitler once said that the people are more likely to believe a big lie than a little lie, so the grander the scheme, the better. In this case, have Garcillano be the orchestrator of a grand plan to ensure a staggering majority victory in the senatorial race; add to the mix a statement like ‘compliance is a must,’ which carries with it the implicit threat of reprisals.

Of course, even with Garcillano in a starring role, the scheme still isn’t big enough, so rope in all the other controversies already swirling about in the political atmosphere: take etta rosales’ claim of sham PL organizations and implicate a Senatorial candidate, and for a bit of historical footing, insinuate that this whole grand scheme is just a continuation of an earlier failed attempt to subvert democracy.

And then, leave the whole thing hanging. No concrete conclusions, no concrete accusations. Just a report by an anonymous bunch of ‘insiders’ who, for added drama, are portrayed as ‘gnashing their teeth’ in anger at being told what to do. A basic trick known even to freshman psychology students: the human mind need only be prodded in the right direction and it will, on its own, pursue that road to the end.
And this is what the people behind this article are counting on: that all they have to do is  plant the idea that there are evil deeds in the offing and leave it to the public to fill in the blanks, to define the ramifications, and to forecast the possible outcomes.
Indeed, there is no hell quite as frightening as the hell of your own design.

Pre-Election Day Checklist
March 24, 2007

(This list appeared originally on

Are you ready to vote?

1. Have you decided what you want out of these elections? – This is the most important question of all. When you have finally decided what you want to see after May 14, 2007, then you can more intelligently make your choices. It’s simple: pick the candidate you think will deliver what you want to see after the elections? On the national level, do you want to see any government policies changed? Then vote for the one who sees things the way you do. He’ll be your representative in government, right? So you better make sure your representative thinks the same way you do. If he doesn’t, then he’s not going to do what you want him to do, he’s not going to fight for what you believe in, he’s not going to help you, your family, your community, and your country.

2. Have you canvassed your options? – When you buy anything of value, don’t you spend hours and hours at the mall trying to find the best deal? If you’re looking for clothes, you check the fit, the way it’s made, how comfortable it is. If you’re looking for a gadget, you check for features, you check for durability, you check for style. In other words, you look for value for your money. Elections should be the same. Does the candidate offer you value for your vote? Or is he all anger and promises and fancy packaging?

3. Have you exercised due diligence? – Due diligence is just a fancy way of saying have you done your homework? Sometimes, things are not always what they seem to be. In order to avoid being fooled by a candidate’s outward appearance, look deeper and find out what makes him tick? Or maybe, you want to find out who puts money in his pocket? Do your homework, if you don’t want your future to go to the dogs. Ask around. Maybe some people have a better idea. Maybe they know something you don’t. Sometimes, when we see something that looks good, we’re so overjoyed that we don’t bother to ask others about it. Take cellphones for instance. A brand new cellphone always looks good in advertisements and posters. But can you really tell from a picture how easy it’ll be to use? Can you tell from an advertisement how heavy 6.1 ounces can get in your pocket? The same goes for candidates. You can’t tell just from looking at them what they can do and what they’re capable of. So poke around; examine his platform, examine his track record, examine his life as closely as you can. You might learn something you didn’t know about that candidate you’re almost ready to pick. And who knows? You might even discover something that’ll change your mind.

4. So, you’ve made up your mind, eh? Do you know where you’re going to vote? – Don’t wait until election day to find out what precinct you’re assigned to. And don’t lie around like Juan Tamad waiting for the answers to fall out of the sky and onto your lap. Get your butt moving and find out where you’re supposed to vote. Go to the Office of the local COMELEC Election Officer. If you can’t, go on-line at and let your mouse do the walking.

5. Have you prepared your cheat sheet? – Write down the names of the candidates you intend to vote for. Remember, you’re voting for 12 Senators, 1 Congressman, and 1 Party-List Group. Plus, you get to vote for Governor, Vice Governor, Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan. Whew! Depending on where you live, you might have to vote for almost thirty positions! Can you imagine how long you’d take if you had to make all those decisions at the polling place?

6. Have you got your other election day props ready? – An identification card, just in case someone doesn’t believe that you are who you say you are; and two ball-point pens, just so you don’t have to worry about having a pen that you’re not comfortable using. Having these things with you should make you ready for almost anything.

7. Have you tied a string around your right forefinger to remind yourself that you need to get inked? – Getting your finger stained with indelible ink is the best to show that on May 14, 2007, you were a responsible citizen who exercised his priceless right to vote. Now who would want to forget something like that? Not you, for sure. So tie that string around your finger, or write it down on a post-it and stick it on your forehead, or make a mental note; ANYTHING, just don’t forget to go get inked.

If you answered no to any of these questions, you are NOT ready to vote. Go back to step one. Think of this as a pre-flight check. If your pilot skips one item on his checklist and the plane crashes, you are going to be so pissed. So, if you skip one item on this checklist, and the plane comes crashing down, you know who you can get pissed at. Yourself.

If you answered all these questions YES, then you’re ready to vote. Now go make a difference.

Election Handbooks
March 24, 2007

Nicked this from inside the COMELEC.




The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in partnership with the Asia Foundation, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) with the worthy contribution from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and Department of Education (DepEd) launched two Election Handbooks entitled “A Handbook for Members of the Board of Election Inspectors” and “Election Handbook for COMELEC Staff, Election Inspectors and Canvassers” today, March 22, 2007 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

One of the highlights of the launch was the turnover of the Handbook for the Members of the Board of Election Inspectors to the DepEd represented by Secretary Jesli A. Lapus. Representing the COMELEC were Chairman Benjamin S. Abalos, Commissioners Ressurreccion Z. Borra, Florentino A. Tuason, Jr., Romeo A. Brawner, Rene V. Sarmiento, and Nicodemo T. Ferrer. Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa of the PPCRV and Mr. Jose Concepcion of NAMFREL and representatives of global agencies who provided support and assistance to the project were also present in the said occasion.

The Election Handbook for COMELEC Staff, Election Inspectors and Canvassers is a compilation of excerpts of applicable laws, international standards, ethical principles, logistical preparations and procedures which will provide guidance and support to election workers. Meanwhile the Handbook for Members of the Board of Election Inspectors which is a product of the collective effort of COMELEC, DepEd and PPCRV is a shortened version of the General Instructions with easy to follow steps and answers to common problems and issues encountered by the BEI before, during and after Election Day.

This event also commences the series of training programs aimed at cascading to different regions in the country immediately to reach out as COMELEC field officials as possible.

Father, I Killed My Monkey
March 23, 2007

I recently found an old 2-tape set of to venus and back which I thought I had lost, and I’ve been tripping to it ever since. Of course, tori has almost been co-opted by the mainstream by now, but listening to this album instantly transported me to those years when her music held my hand.

tori_amos_005.jpg yellow bird flying gets shot in the wing . good year for hunters and christmas parties . and I hate . and I hate . and I hate . and I hate . elevator music . the way we fight . the way i’m left here silent . . . ooh these little earthquakes . here we go again . ooh these little earthquakes . doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces . . .we danced in graveyards with vampires till dawn . we laughed in the faces of kings never afraid to burn . and I hate . and I hate . and I hate . and I hate . disintegration . watching us wither . black winged roses . that safely changed their color. . . ooh these little earthquakes . here we go again . ooh these little earthquakes . doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces . . . i cant reach you . i cant reach you . . . give me life / give me pain / give me myself again / . . . ooh these little earthquakes . here we go again . ooh these little earthquakes . doesn’t take much to rip us into pieces . . .

Fire Loss
March 23, 2007

Over the past two weeks people have been talking about the fire almost exclusively in the context of the 2007 elections. Today, i got the chance to speak with a wonderful person named Cleo, and we talked of the fire from the point of view of history.

Or, to be more precise, the history that the COMELEC lost.

First off, there was the library. The COMELEC library was, to the best of my knowledge, the only repository of the COMELEC Reports – the written record of all COMELEC en banc decisions. Kinda like a SCRA for the COMELEC. The Reports came up to about the mid-70’s I think, after which the COMELEC stopped publishing them. But considering that the COMELEC has been around for more than 60 years, it would be fair to say that those Reports represented a huge chunk of our official history.

There was also the EID (my office) Gallery. In the Gallery, the EID-PR Division had painstakingly collected portraits of past COMELEC Commissioners, past Chairmen, and various images of elections past. Not quite as hoary as the COMELEC reports, but again, invaluable facets of the COMELEC’s history.

And finally, on a more personal note, I lost a  pair of campaign matchbooks used by then Presidential candidate Diosdado Macapagal.


After Cleo and I talked, the sense of loss that descended on me was pretty bad. Even the possibility of finding duplicates in the National Library, the Library of Congress, or even the Ayala Museum offered scant comfort.  I suppose it has finally dawned on me that when the nation lost the COMELEC Main Building, I lost pieces of me as well.

A little bit of Tori would be good right about now.

Are you on the list? Look under HeWhoMustNotBeNamed.
March 21, 2007

That’s what they say at exclusive clubs holding exclusive parties: “Are you on the list?” Well, at least in the movies they say that. In real life, it seems like the COMELEC gets the role of the bouncer with the clipboard. And last night, someone said they had gotten a copy of the list on that clipboard.

I suppose there wouldn’t have been as much of a ruckus if the alleged list had contained all of the names people expected, but none of the names people didn’t want to see. The problem was that the alleged list did have at least one name that many of the COMELEC’s outspoken critics didn’t want to see.

Which tells me that when the true final list does come out – anytime this week – and that name is still on there, we’ll be at the center of yet another sh*tstorm, quite possibly bigger than the one that swirled all around the COMELEC today. Which is damned unfortunate because the way the law works, that sh*tstorm is probably inevitable.

You see, the law COMELEC Resolution 7799 says:

SEC. 15. Nuisance Candidates. The Commission may, motu proprio, or upon verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute, or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of names of registered candidates, or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.

Note the words IF IT IS SHOWN. It doesn’t say IF IT IS OBVIOUS which is what people have been saying about the person whose name sends them into paroxysms of anger. When you’re talking about the Constitutional right of a person to run for elected office, OBVIOUS just doesn’t cut it. The use of the word SHOWN means that a candidate can only be declared a nuisance if it is proven that any of the three conditions for a declaration of nuisance-ness exist. If it cannot be shown, then it must be assumed that the nuisance-ness does not exist. Remember, even those whom everyone agreed ought to be called a nuisance were given a chance to prove everyone wrong.
And while we’re at it, let’s look at the words TO CAUSE CONFUSION. The law doesn’t tell us to declare a candidate a nuisance if his name CAUSES CONFUSION, which again is what his critics have been saying. The difference is that, with TO CAUSE CONFUSION, there is the element of intent – the intention to cause confusion which leads a person to file his candidacy with a name that sounds like someone else’s. With CAUSES CONFUSION (which the law does not say), intent would not be important. All that would matter is that the name actually misleads voters.

So, since the law says TO CAUSE CONFUSION, it follows that if want to SHOW nuisance-ness (as opposed to merely pointing out the OBVIOUS), we have to prove that there was that intention to mislead voters.

Now I realize that there will be people who will dismiss this line of reasoning as gobbledy-gook. But before they do that, I’d suggest that they try to put themselves in the shoes of the person they want to whip back into obscurity. What if you were that person? And what if you really wanted to run for office? And what if you happened to share the name of a famous politician? Would you appreciate people telling the COMELEC that you should be disqualified simply because they don’t trust you? Come to that, would you pull out of the race?

Ultimately, the COMELEC has to hold its ground and insist that due process be followed, whoever might be inconvenienced or benefited. The COMELEC simply cannot take the word of people who trot out ‘damning evidence’ without first validating that offering. If we were to do that with the stakes reversed, the very people who are now clamoring for us to cut the process short would be the very first ones to cry foul. Guaranteed. Which makes their demands for instant gratification almost hypocritical, eh?

In any case, back to He Who Must Not Be Named, the process of showing that his candidacy ought to be junked has begun; there is a pending disqualification case. Does this mean, then, that in the meantime he cannot be considered a candidate? Or that the COMELEC would be guilty of malfeasance if he is considered a candidate?

Absolutely not. However, his being considered a candidate now does not automatically mean that he cannot, at a later time, be disqualified. And by the way, this sort of situation also happened during the Presidential elections, when a candidate was disqualified in the middle of the campaign, AFTER he had spent a not inconsiderable sum of money.

C’est la vie, mon ami.

My blog is sick
March 21, 2007

Bah, humbug

On-line chat
March 17, 2007

After my recent on-line chat session with various people concerned about the elections – courtesy of sunstar – I realized that this was a powerful tool to increase to increase COMELEC responsiveness to the concerns of the general public, particularly the youth.

So, I am happy to announce that we will soon be putting up a chat room on bagongbotante to enable the public to have real conversations with COMELEC officials. Although, to be very frank, I will probably be the only one you can talk to with any sort of frequency during the first few days.

The smouldering ruins
March 11, 2007

Sometimes, it’s easy to think that the COMELEC building has been around for a hundred years. I don’t know the exact date of the building, but it’s easily older than I am, I should think, with its thick walls and creaky floors. But today, it doesn’t really matter how old the building is because, starting today, it won’t get any older.

COMELEC Main Building

???? – 2007