Monday, April 30, 2007

Double chalk

There are, of course, wholesale electoral fraud.
But let us start with the cheating in the precint level.
When we say precint it is like the police precinct---small quarters where the voters will actually go to physically cast their votes.
Precincts are usually in the public school buildings, different rooms, different precincts.
If you are a voter, you look for your name in the different precincts so you will know what precinct you will cast your vote.
Be wary of the "double chalk".
This type of cheating is simple.
Counters use chalk to list the votes in the blackboard.
One election inspector reads the ballot aloud. Another inspector correspondingly writes, or more appropriately, tallies the votes read.
But sometimes, the chalk is sliced thinly in the middle, so that unknown to the watchers, each stroke of the chalk on the blackboard will write or list down not one, but two votes at the same time.
The votes in the blackboard are group into "boxes" of five votes. In Visayan the counter shouts "kahon" (box) everytime the votes for a candidate reaches five.
At the end, the counter will just count the number of boxes multiplied by five.
It would be quick to form "boxes" of five votes by the double chalk scheme.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ways to cheat during elections

I would say it is unfortunate that the Filipino ingenuity is displayed in the bad light during election time.
Filipinos have developed so many dirty tactics during the elections.
Much has been said about "dagdag bawas", a method of election cheating where one candidate is given additional votes at the expense of another whose votes are shaved.
This was first uncovered by Senator Nene Pimentel when he ran during the 1995 elections.
He became a victim of this dagdag bawas method of election cheating.
I will discuss the other deceitful methods which are contrived during elections.
There is a method called "First Count, Last Count"
This scheme is employed when ther are multiple positions up for election, like, senatorial positions, city council, and to a lesser extent, provincial board positions.
In the "First Count Last Count" method, the persons involved here are those election inspectors in precinct level, specifically the one who reads the ballots.
Lets take as an example the senatorial counting in the precint level.
The ballot reader will first read out loud candidate "A".
Then he or che proceeds to read the rest.
There are only twelve names to be read.
But, if the watchers are not meticulous, the ballot reader will read thirteen, instead of only twelve names.
He will say out loud again, candidate "A's" name even if it is not actually written in the ballot.
So in one ballot, the name of candidate "A" is read twice, the first count, and the last (13th) count.
This can also be applied in the list of city or municipal councilors where there are ten names to be read.
The unscrupulous reader will read a total of eleven names per ballot instead of only ten.
That is the "First Count Last Count" scheme.
To prevent this, election watchers should be vigilant and told to make sure only the correct number of names should be read out per ballot.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Political dynasty and democracy

I read in the Negros Chronicle recently that political dynasty is anathema to a democracy.
I disagree with this proposition.
One Rachel Martinez also wrote to the effect that by tolerating political dynasties, the country is slipping back the medieval period were family dynasties ruled kingdoms.
I also disagree with this position.
That relatives are running for various elective positions is not anti-democratic.
I am a person who has faith in the body politic.
I am a person who does not think that I make judgments better than the sovereign.
What is anti democratic is when a system begins to prevent citizens from participating in the electoral processes.
What is anti-democratic is when the electorate is deprived the broadest freedom to choose who they feel should occupy positions in government.
Free choice is the essence of a democratic environment.
By having close relatives running for various elective positions, this shouldn't be equated with the dynasties of the past.
The distinction is that in today's set-up, the citizenry, the people themselves have the last say on whether to allow a relative of an incumbent to occupy public positions.
The dynasties of the past did not allow electoral invetervention.
Just look at the United States, with its over two hundred years of democratic exprerience, relatives ran and occupied various public positions.
John Adams was the 2nd President of the U.S. His son, John Quincy Adams later also became the sixth President.
Jack Kennedy became President, while brother Ted Kennedy became senator. Later Bobby joined brother Ted in the U.S. Senate.
Todays younger Kennedy's occupy other elective posts in the U.S., the most prominent of whom is a Kennedy by affinity, Arnold Scwharzenegger (spelling correct?) who is governor of California. Arnold is husband of Maria Kennedy Schriver (spelling correct?).
In the present, George W. is President while brother Jeb is Governor of Florida.
Father George Herbert Walker is ex-President.
Looking into the future, there might just be the first ever conjugal dynasty if Hillary Clinton makes it to the White House.
Her husband Bill was President of the U.S.
In all these political scenarios, was there ever a single issue raised on political dynasty in the U.S.?
Do you know why?
Because Americans put greater faith in the wisdom of the their electorate that they would choose properly the right people to lead them.
Americans don't give a damn if relatives run for public office, as long as the people retain their supreme sovereign authority to approve or reject these relatives running for public office.
That is the true essence of democracy.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Beating the summer heat

The best way to beat the summer heat is to wade in the beach.
While making a visit to Sumilon not too long ago, we took off from Silliman beach because that was where our pump boat awaited us.
We left very early dawn to Sumilon island.
Sumilon, as many locals would know is that island between southern Cebu and Dumaguete City.
It was once a sanctuary and managed by Silliman University.
But, noticing its potentials, the local governments in Cebu took it from Silliman's hands, and commercialized it.
There is now a high end resort in the island,
We only spent a few hours in Sumilon island and came back to Dumaguete City.
We docked at Silliman beach, near the Silliman marine laboratory.
When I was a little kid, Silliman University was always filled with beach goers every Sunday.
I can vividly remember going to Silliman beach ever Sunday, just to beat the heat.
There were cottages lined on the shore.
Then later, Silliman beach became so dirty that nobody would even wae there anymore.
At this time, people flocked to farther Agan-an, where sea water was fresh, cleaner, still unadulterated.
However, the Silliman marine laboratory turned things around, and brought Silliman beach back to what it used to be, a place for beach goers.
I was a bit shocked at the number of beach goers that swam at Silliman beach.
It was a return to the old glory that was Silliman beach.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chronicle's new face

My former classmate since kindergarten, Oning Yee, who is now based in Los Angeles will launch the new face and service of the Negros Chronicle.
Oning runs a successful computer business in Los angeles, and is now hiring Dumaguetenos in his work office in Bacong.
Oning is the classic example of working overseas, and helping the country's economy by providing jobs to locals who wouldn't have to leave the country.
Anyway, Oning is behind this new project of the Negros Chronicle website.
Currently, the website is static. It will be made dynamic so that there will be reader participation and instant feedback.
I told Oning that it is important that the Negros Chornicle be interactive.
He agrees, therefore, there will be forums, reader contributions, instant reaction, etc.
Most important, there will be daily breaking news, so the website will be updated on a daily basis.
So, in a few days or weeks, there will be a change in the face of the Negros Chronicle website.

Friday, April 13, 2007

FG's libel pursuits to take a break?

Judging the way the medical condition of the First Gentleman is being reported by the media, the courts handling FG's libel suits may have to grant a furlough, since the private complaint would not be able to attend, much less testify in the hearings.
Procedurally however, the judicial furlough would notcome unless there is a motion to that effect.
The prosecutor must file a motion to cancel or evensuspend the hearings, in the absence of the privatecomplainant who is medically indisposed.
Attached to the motion should be a duly notarizedmedical certificate issued by the attending phycisian.
Certainly, the court cannot rely on newspaper accounts on the health of a "private" indiviudual litigant,such news reports being hearsay.
But we really do not know if this would be the path to be taken by the prosecution.
It would not be unwise for the defense to object to any anticipated motion for postponement by theprosecution.
The accused has the constitutional right to a speedy trial.
The defense can ask that the trial proceed by callingother prosecution witnesses to the witness stand,while the testimony of the private complainant be placed in the "freezer" in the meantime.
We must note that the wheels of justice did not stall,even if one of the accused is suffering from cancer,and is undergoing medical treatment.
It would be preferable if the proceedings continue by calling other witnesses.
By the time all the other witnesses are through, it can be reasonably assumed that the private complainant would already be healthy enough to testify.
The First Gentleman's lawyer was heard before saying that his client will see to it that the libel suits be pursued till the end.
The defense can count on the good lawyer's assurances.
So, no postponements, companero?

Media coverage of a "private individual"

Mike Arroyo's lawyer, the good companero, must be scratching his head these days.
After the serious medical condition experienced by his client, he is having trouble justifying his legal argument that his client is a private individual.
Broadsheets and tabloids alike are bannering on a daily basis the medical status of his very "private"client.
Everyday that his "private individual" client is headlined smacks right at the face of his argument that Mike Arroyo is a private individual.
If the good companero or his client continues to insist that the first gentleman is a private individual, then he is the only private indiviudal in the whole world who is a public figure, judging by the way the media treats the story of his health condition. Imagine, there is even a continuous stream of medical bulletins for the media of this "private individual."
There is a clear definition of what constitutes apublic figure, both in American and Philippine jurisprudence (i.e. Ayer Productions, Curtis v Butts,etc) .
Mike Arroyo simply does not fit in the category of a private individual.
It's a case of a square peg placed on a round hole.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just for laughs

I consider myself an internet buff.
I get a lot of information from the internet.
There is no day that passes by that I don't visit the net.
I even rely on the internet, to get one simple laugh or two, although they do not always come by.
But not today. I stumbled on an "Endless Love" duet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Capco and Cayetano

I attended a hearing in Muntinlupa today.
A new counsel appeared for the adversary. He is the former mayor of Taguig, Jose T. Capco, Jr. of the Capco & Campanilla Law Office.
Capco sprung into media visibility lately, as he is the one who is filing a disqualification case against senatoriable Allan Peter Cayetano, who happens to be my batchmate in law school.
Atty. Capco and I engaged in a converstation about Allan's disqualification as a senatorial candidate.
I told him I have not followed the case at all, so he took liberty of trying to explain to me what his case is all about.
Anyway, he is alleging that Cayetano has not renounced his Philippine citizenship.
He clarified that he is not contending that Allan is not a natural-born citizn, a requirement for senator.
Capco led me to a maze of facts, which after some inquisitions, did not really convince me.
I am saying that in cases like that, which are politically charged, I need to see actual documents in their naked originals, and not just a verbal naration of facts.
Capco by the way admitted that Allan Cayetano is his "mortal" enemy.
He mentioned he is running for congressman in Taguig. I think Allan's wife is also running for congresswoman in Taguig.