Saturday, July 14, 2007

I was detained in China

Have you experienced having been detained in a foreign land?
That is the worst nightmare one can ever expereience.
It is horror enough to be detained in your own country.
It is doubly horrific to be detained in another country, in a communist country at that!
I experienced detention in China in may last visit.
I was in the company of my wife and son and some cousins.
Horrified as I was, my companions were more troubled.
My detention lasted for about fifteen minutes.
It was as if time stood still.
This is what happened:
I was lining up at the Hong kong border ready to cross to China.
When I gave my passport to the China immigration personnel, he gave me stern look, and then without a word, left his seat.
I saw him talk to another uniformed person who I surmised was his supervisor.
The supervisor then took my passport and went to a room.
At that time, tension filled not only my whole body, but also among my companions.
A little later, the Chinese immigration authority, who did not know a single English, gestured that I proceed to one cubicle.
It was a cubicle that was empty with only a chair.
There I sat for about fifteen minutes, all by myself.
My companions could see me from a distance.
None of Chinese guards knew an English word.
Then a horrible thought came to me: China is not a good place to be detained.
Fortunately, the supervisor came back, and went to me, gave me back my passport, compared the picture in my passport with my physical appearance. Without any explanation as to why I was held in their cubicle, the China immigration guard processed my passport, and then allowed me to enter Shenzen.
At that time, I no longer wanted to proceed to China.
I have never been detained my entire life.
And my first time in detention, albeit brief, was in a foreign land. Sa China pa.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Supreme Court to hear Koko Pimentel petition again

The Supreme Court today bared that it will again hear the oral arguments of Koko Pimentel at 10:00 a.m. on Friday pertaining to his petition to review and set aside the actions of the Commission on Elections which had denied him a chance to prove that the elections in Maguindanao and other Mindanao provinces were a farce and did not reflect the true will of the electorate.
I could be wrong but I believe the decision of the Supreme Court to hold oral arguments again on two similar petitions by one petitioner is unprecedented.
I have yet to research on any other situation that the Supreme Court made this unusual move, which is good for Koko Pimentel.
Technically there are two petitions of Koko Pimentel that came one after the other.
In his first petition, Koko Pimentel went to the Supreme Court and sought to exclude the Maguindanao canvass.
After the oral arguments where Koko Pimentel represented himself, the Supreme Court did not grant a temproary restraining order.
Subsequently, Koko withdrew his petition.
Thereafter, after the Maguindanao votes were canvassed by the Comelec dispite pleas by Koko to allow him to prove that the certificates of cnavass were manufactured, Koko Pimentel had no recourse but to elevate the matter to the Supreme Court.
By this time, Miguel Zubiri had already overtaken Koko in the counting with the canvassing of the votes from Bais City and Bogo Cebu.
As a matter of fact the Comelec was already poised to proclaim the senator from the republic of Maguindanao, Miguel Zubiri, when in the nick of time, the Supreme Court announced it was holding oral arguments on Friday.
So the scheduled proclaimation is cancelled.
What is the significance of the proceeding in the Supreme Court.
I believe this is the greatest opportunity to really cleanse and purify our rotten electoral processes.
I also believe it should already be the Supreme Court which should come into the picture.
The Comelec is hopeless. It is a failure.
Instead of cleansing the elections, it has only promoted the further deterioration of the corrupt electoral system.
If the Comelec commissioner really want to clean our elections, it can do it.
But it didn't. Instead, it blamed the Filipino way of life culture.
The Comelec is a constitutional body.
Only the Supreme Court can check the Comelec.
So this is it. This is the opportunity.
We have faith in the Supreme Court that it can move mountains, and stop the electoral corruption.
The 2010 presidential elections is only three years away.
The country cannot afford to have another president with dubious mandate brought about by massive poll cheating in the south.
We cannot afford continuous political instability.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wholesale cheating spotted in 10 Mindanao towns

Senatorial candidate Koko Pimentel has spotted wholesale cheating in at least ten Mindanao towns prompting him to ask the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as National Board of Canvassers (NBC), to act on his petitions to retabulate the senatorial votes.
Koko Pimentel said in these 10 towns in different provinces in Mindanao, election documents were falsified, enabling Team Unity bet Juan Miguel Zubiri to obtain from 87 percent to 92 percent of the votes cast which is “statistically improbable.”

Pimentel said his motions for the retabulation of votes in these towns are backed by documentary evidence that would show that election results were manufactured not only in Maguindanao but in other provinces also to bloat the number of votes for Zubiri so that he could overtake him (Pimentel) in the race for the 12th senatorial slot.

He has filed a new petition with the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec to retabulate the senatorial votes in Maguindanao. The petition was filed after Comelec shot down the repeated objections of Pimentel’s lawyers to the authenticity and validity of the Maguindanao results.

Pimentel identified the towns that are the subjects of Pimentel’s motions for recomputation to correct the fraudulent entries as Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Salvador and Matungao in Lanao del Norte; Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat and Kabuntalan in Shariff Kabunsuan; Lutayan and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat; and Patikul and Luuk in Sulu.

In Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte, Pimentel said that Zubiri obtained 24,560 votes or an incredible 90.29 percent of the total registered voters of 27,201 while Pimentel was credited only with 114 votes.

Another unbelievable result in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, according to Pimentel, is that out of 147 precincts in this municipality, the 12 Team Unity senatorial candidates garnered exactly the same number of votes that are equal to the number of voters who actually voted while candidates from the Genuine Opposition and other parties garnered a uniform zero or one vote.

For instance, he said all Team Unity bets received 167 votes out of 167 voters who cast their ballots in Precinct No. 0123-A.

They likewise received a uniform 193 votes each in Precinct No. 142-A where there were 193 voters who cast their ballots.

Available election documents also showed that there was a 100 percent voters’ turnout in 40 polling precincts while another 50 precincts had a voter turnout of 97 to 99.9 percent in Sultan Naga Dimaporo, which is an “incredible feat.”

Unfortunately, Pimentel said the manufactured votes from these areas have all been carried out into Zubiri’s running total through their respective provincial COCs.

But fortunately, he said the national canvass is still ongoing and he and his lawyers have filed the necessary petitions with Comelec-NBC to retabulate the votes in these areas using the election returns.

“We can only hope that the Comelec will be fair to us by giving us our ‘day in court’ to prove these petitions and not hastily proclaim just any 12th placer,” Pimentel said.

Other statistically improbable results due to “dagdag-bawas” operations that were discovered by the Pimentel camp are as follows:

· In Salvador , Lanao del Norte, Zubiri obtained 15,797 votes or 85.52 percent of the 17,646 registered voters while Pimentel was credited with only 402 votes.

· In Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabunsuan, Zubiri garnered 33,888 votes or 87.62 percent of 38,672 voters who cast their ballots while Pimentel received only 2,791 votes. The number of voters who cast their ballots was an unbelievably high 98.34 percent of the 39,326 registered voters.

· In Datu Blah Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan, Zubiri obtained 7,105 votes or 86.67 percent of 8,198 registered voters while Pimentel got only 2,833 votes. The voter turnout was 99.94 percent of the 8,203 registered voters.

· In Kabuntalan, Shariff Kabunsuan, Zubiri received 5,465 votes or 79.92 percent of the 6,838 voters who voted while Pimentel was credited with only 426 votes.

· In Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat, Zubiri obtained 23,452 votes or 91.80 percent of 25,546 voters who cast their ballots while Pimentel received only 10,580. The voter turnout was 97.16 percent of 26,291 registered voters.

· In Maguindanao province, Zubiri garnered 195,823 votes or 91.97 percent of 212,921 registered voters while Pimentel received only 67,111 votes. Nineteen senatorial candidates from GO and other parties obtained zero vote.

Earlier, attempts at wholesale cheating in North and South Cotabato by the administration camp were exposed at the national canvassing.

In North Cotabato , Zubiri’s votes of approximately 143,000 were inflated to 265,000 while Pimentel’s votes of approximately 140,000 were reduced to 95,000. In South Cotabato , Zubiri’s votes of 141,674 were increased to 218,664 while Pimentel’s vote total was left untouched. These attempts at wholesale cheating were caught and nullified by the Comelec.

Pimentel has filed electoral sabotage charges against the provincial election supervisors and other election officials who were responsible for the vote padding and shaving scam in North and South Cotabato

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Will Arnaiz be another trapo in the House?

If news reports are to be believed, it is very disappointing to learn that one of the first advocacies of the neophyte congressman of the second district, our friend George P. Arnaiz is putting off the barangay elections scheduled in October this year.
If the barangay elections are once again postponed, the Filipino people will again be deprived of their sovereign right to choose their leaders in the barangays.
We read in the papers that Rep. Arnaiz wants the barangay elections postponed due to lack of funds.
Worse, he prefers to appoint barangay officials rather than to elect them.
I personally had high hopes in this first time congressman that he would rise above traditional politics (trapo) that pervades in the House of Representatives. I had hoped that George Arnaiz would be different from the many, that he would stand out among a crowd of delegates who have but their own self-interests to protect.
But with his early display of trapo politics, I think I was wrong.
Pareho ra diay ni siya sa uban.
If Rep. Arnaiz thinks that money is the problem, then we challenge him and the other congressmen to shed off even a small fraction of their pork barrel, say P5-M each, in order that we can have enough funds for the barangay elections.
We need to change these overstaying barangay officials because many of them have become abusive. Many more have become non-performing.
Let’s take the case of Dumaguete City.
Many of these punong barangays incurred cash advances and did not liquidate them, until discovered by the COA.
If you read the COA report, some of the cash advances were made in 2005 yet, but were carried on to the next year, still unliquidated.
Worse, even as they had advances to liquidate, the punong barangays still continued to receive their honoraria.
The city accountant was told to stop releasing honoraria for punong barangays who still had unliquidated advances, but this was unheeded.
So tuloy ang ligaya.
By advocating the postponement of barangay elections, Arnaiz is playing and displaying traditional, patronage politics.
He is a former governor, therefore, it is to his personal interest not to change these barangay officials who had been there during his governorship.
Many of these have been his political runners when he was governor.
It is more convenient and less expensive to maintain the status quo, rather than to risk having new bargangay officials, and new political leaders to court.
The move to postpone barangay elections will be a popular advocacy among congressmen because this is to their own political advantage and self interest.
Many are incumbents in the House.
The first timers there are former local government officials like Rep. Arnaiz.
The others are spouses, sons and daughters of “retired” congressmen and therefore have a stranglehold of barangay officials.
Fortunately, we have a bicameral system of Congress.
And this early, there are senators poised to oppose this move by the House.
Among the senators who have already objected to postponing barangay elections this October is Senator Nene Pimentel, author of the local government code.
We remain steadfast in our faith that Ka Nene will purge this immoral design to deprive our people from choosing their barangay leaders.
As to Rep. Arnaiz’ position that he prefers appointed baragnay officials, this is a hallow political stunt because he knows very well that you need a constitutional amendment first before you can have appointed barangay officials.
Besides, assuming that he is successful in having the constitution changed, who will be the appointing authority? The congressmen like himself?
Then who will be our appointed bargangay leaders? The drivers, househelps, the gardeners, the incompetent sip-sips, of these politicos?
Mr. Congressman, please naman.
Show us you are made of better stuff. Show us that you are a cut above the rest. Show us that you are a someone the people can be proud of.
Ayaw na anang trapo.
Life is short.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


The word doesn't ring a bell, for sure.
Well, Pagalungan, is an obscure, almost unheard-of town in the southeast part of the province of Maguindanao, Mindanao.
That was until a few days after the May 14, 2007.
Pagalungan may yet just hold one of the vital keys in proving massive electoral fraud in Maguindanao, where Team Unity candidate Miguel Zubiri got his more than 195,000 votes (the voters who actually voted only totalled 198,000) to wipe out the hard-earned votes of Genuine Opposition candidate Koko Pimentel.
In other words, Koko Pimentel, earned a total of around 133,000 votes over Zubiri from different provinces from all over the country.
But Miguel Zubiri miraculously got the votes of almost one hundred percent of the voters who voted in Maguindanao (195,000 out of 198,000 actual voters).
Yes, it would be as possible as believing that the Earth has two moons.
Let's go back to Pagalungan.
If you would recall, the provincial canvass of Maguindanao officially declared that 19 senatorial candidates, including winners Panfilo Lacson, Noynoy Aquino, Alan Cayetano got ZERO votes from the province of Maguindanao.
But lo and behold, uncanvassed election returns from the town of Pagalungan have just been turned over to the Comelec.
What did the results show?
No senatorial candidate got a zero vote in the town of Pagalungan, Maguindanao.
Even the most unknown senatorial candidate, a person named Orpilla got eighteen votes!
A common-sense question is now in order: Why did the Maguindanao provincial certificate of canvass come ahead of the Pagalungan town canvass? The cart came ahead of the horse?
How many uncanvassed municipal returns are there still?
So the Pagalungan election results totally demolishes the myth that there were candidates who got zero votes in Maguindanao.
It shows that the Maguinandao provincial certificate of canvass is a farce, freshly manufactured.
By the way, do you recall the name Musa Dimasidsing?
She was the Maguindanao district election supervisor, who was gunned down on June 9th in Cotabato for having exposed the rigging of the elections in Pagalungan, Maguindanao.
Pagalungan, a sleepy Maguindanao town, will awake a nation that has just begun to uncover the truth behind the massive electoral fraud that happened in that province.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Condolences to Sedigo family

I would like to extend my personal condolences to the family of the late Atty. Epifanio J. Sedigo, a longtime Dumagueteno who passed away July 3, 2007.
His Toronto-based daughter and friend Katrina sent me an email informing us of the sad news:

Hello Ely and Jay, hope you remember me.
I thought I'd let you know Atty. Epifanio J. Sedigo, my Papa passed away last July 3rd.
His body lies in state at Eterna Funeral Homes.
Funeral Mass is Saturday, July 7th.
He served Dumaguete for 30 + years and is so much a part of the City and all that history.
Thank you and warm regards,
Katrina Sedigo
(Toronto, Canada)

The children of the late Atty. Sedigo are home-grown broadcasters (big baritone radio-perfect voices) and pioneered the airlanes of DYEM-FM in the 1980's. They have gone to other fields of profession.
I remember Pat, Paul, Jojo (now a law professor),and Kat. Paul also went abroad.
....My prayers and sympathies.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fraud ridden senatorial elections

I have no interest in politics, but I was involved in the last elections for senator.
I helped in the campaign of Koko Pimentel.
It has been a nerve-wracking experience considering what is going on in the canvassing.
It was a fraud-ridden elections.
At this stage we are filing petitions before the National Board of Canvassers (NBC) to exclude the certificates of canvass in many municipalities in Mindanao, particularly in the provinces of Lanao, and Sulu.
And we are not mention the bigger fraud that has happened in Maguindanao.
As of this writing, there is a big chance that Migs Zubiri might just overtake Koko Pimentel with the remaining uncanvassed votes.
If Migs is proclaimed, he will be the senator representing the republic of Maguindanao.
Maguindanao is the place where his meteoric rise in the count of votes can be attributed.
Everyone knows what happened in Maguindanao.
Koko Pimentel has been cheated of his victory as the twelfth senator of the republic.
We will keep on fighting on until the truth will be unraveleved.
It will just be a matter of time.
I have already seen the source documents of these certificate canvass immorally canvassed by the Abalos Comelec, and one can vomit at the fraud that was insiduously employed.
I will be posting the evidence in this blogs as the days come by.