Archive for November, 2007

Ali
November 11, 2007

He walked very softly. Like a cat. Many times, I would be startled nearly out of my skin by the low “pare” that initiated most of my conversations with him.  And every time – once I regained my composure – I would have a fleeting moment of something very like gratitude that he used that bit of familiarity with me. Not that it was some sort of special greeting – to him, everyone was pare.

I imagine it’s been that way for the entire 35 years he’d given to the COMELEC.  Everyone was pare to him. Just like everyone has been favored with that childish giggle of his.

That laugh. Many COMELEC officers guffaw. Some chortle. Others, more niggardly perhaps, just smile. But he giggled, complete with a hand covering his mouth and heaving shoulders convulsed in mirth. For many, this will be how he is when they remember him.

The laugh, the easygoing familiarity with everyone, the soft walk – all that concealed a truly fearsome legal warrior. Many times we’d find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, and I’d be on the receiving end of a withering lecture on the fine points of the law. He had earned the nickname ‘Justice.’

But for all that, he’d always quickly go back to that easygoing fellow whose company I always found enjoyable. The stormclouds gathered on his furrowed forehead during an argument would almost immediately be melted away by the sunny and mischievous disposition that was normal for him.

I think I may be rhapsodizing him, but then you’ll have to excuse me seeing as how I knew him personally. And most of us who do will probably talk about him the same way.

He was one of the last of his breed – a COMELEC warrior who dealt with politicians fiercely and firmly, had only snarling patience for those who gratuitously bad-mouthed the COMELEC and its personnel, but who was gentler than strangers imagined, and who was every COMELEC employee’s friend.

Allah hafiz, Sir.

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Answers
November 5, 2007

I’m sorry to everyone who commented or asked a question on this blog or in ecomelec, for not having been able to reply sooner. Anyway, I hope this post answers some – hopefully most – of your questions.

1. Teachers’ pay

a) The COMELEC is only giving 1,000 pesos, plus a transport allowance of 500 pesos. If the teachers also handled SK precincts, they get an additional 500 pesos. All in all, the minimum a teacher can get is 1,500 pesos; max, 2,000.

b) The idea that teachers would get 3 thousand stemmed from a Memorandum of Agreement between the COMELEC and the DepEd which mentioned that amount. What hasn’t been given focus is the fact that the MOA also says ‘subject to availability of funds.’ As it turns out, the DBM approved only the 500 peso transpo allowance – which is, therefore, the extent of the availability of funds.

c) Distribution of the funds for the payment of teachers is through the municipal treasurers, not the COMELEC field office.

2. Complaints etc.

a) Complaints about election campaign violations or flying voters should be documented (take pictures, shoot video, get samples), accompanied by the complainant’s affidavit, and submitted to the local COMELEC.

In the case of flying voters in particular, it’s important that you must have some sort of proof that they are registered elsewhere and that they’ve already voted there. Mere suspicions, doubts, apprehensions, concerns, or accusations don’t count.

b) If you have complaints about how the elections turned out (ex: those protesting their loss) consult a lawyer. If you’ve already retained or hired a lawyer, don’t let him bully you into asking the COMELEC what to do next – first of all, that’s his job; and second, the COMELEC will not give you an opinion. If you think you have a COMELEC opinion on your case, chances are, it’s an opinion that won’t hold any weight.

If i missed anything, please let me know.

Oh, and about my theory regarding the next Chairman’s term? I’ve been told that I was wrong.