When they say that the Fil Community in San Francisco is one of the most active and politically aware, they are not kidding.

COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos’ visit to the Philippine Center here in San Francisco was well attended by various members of the Filipino community. Abalos provided the community with a bird’s eye-view of the elections, but what emerged as the main concern of the community was the fate of ‘Kuya’ Ted Aquino’s candidacy.

The Chairman, upon learning that Mr. Aquino had filed a motion for the reconsideration of the COMELEC decision to disqualify him, assured the community that Mr. Aquino’s name would still appear on the list of senatorial candidates. However, the name would be marked with an asterisk signifying a pending disqualification case.

Also brought up during the meeting was the plight of Ang Ating Pag-asa (AAP), a PL organization representing dual-citizens(?). I’m not personally familiar with AAP’s case, but I promised that I would look into it as soon as I got back to the Philippines.

Another interesting matter discussed was a benchmarking exercise – for lack of a more precise or descriptive term. The idea is to document the COMELEC’s activities geared towards the conduct of the 2007 polls for the purpose of establishing a baseline against which all future elections can be measured. Very nice idea, and one this COMELEC has been very committed to.

And then, there was Mr. Greg Makabenta who was very forceful in his expression of his opinions. Nevertheless, the tone of the meeting remained positive with several key community leaders expressing their willingness to give the COMELEC the chance to prove our detractors – and popular perception – wrong. One of them even commended the Chairman for his courage in willingly walking into a ‘den of lions,’ and in admitting that the COMELEC does have perception problems which we are now bent on addressing.

My thanks for that. After all, a fair shake has always been all I have been hankering for.

And finally, on a more personal note, I met Dalisay Bocobo Balunsat. So, here’s a shout out to DJB: Your aunt is way cool, Dean. And she has a cute nickname for you.


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