Thursday, March 05, 2009

Senate passes supplemental P11.3 Billion budget for 2010 Poll Automation

Has anyone thanked Senator Dick Gordon for passing the Amended Automation Law which made the passage of the 11.3 Billion supplemental budget for poll automation necessary?

As I was scanning on-line editions of Philippine newspapers, I came across an article titled "Kaya Natin! airs support for full poll automation".

It was apparently a declaration of support from a group headed by JESSE ROBREDO, mayor, Naga City; GRACE PADACA, governor, Isabela; EDDIE PANLILIO, governor, Pampanga; SONIA LORENZO, mayor, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija; Teodoro Baguilat, governor, Ifugao.

It declared:
"We, the founding leaders of Kaya Natin! A National Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, fully support the Commission on Elections’ program for the full automation of the 2010 elections. We believe that the Filipinos’ right to elect our leaders is one of the main pillars of our democracy, thus we stand firm on our belief that this issue of fully automating the upcoming elections is very critical to our country’s future."
I am a bit flustered by this statement of Robredo, Padaca, Panlilio, Lorenzo, and Baguilat. I really don't know what their intent is but it seems THEY'RE COMING OUT WITH A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT A BIT TOO LATE.
Where were they when we were in the figurative trenches? Kung kelan tapos na ang boxing doon pa sila magpapahiwatig ng suporta? What for?!!

I feel I have a right to be slighted because I was with Senator Dick Gordon, Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines, and other groups when we started pushing for poll automation.

It was a lonely and exhausting fight at the start when Senator Dick Gordon decided to take up the cause of poll automation in 2005.

I was working for a video production company when Gordon filed the bill that would later become RA 9369.

The full title of the law is "AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436, ENTITLED "AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY, CREDIBILITY, FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMPANSA BLG. 881, AS AMEMDED, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTIONS LAWS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES"

I can only guess at what drove Gordon to file the bill which would later compel Comelec and the Arroyo Administration to fully automate the 2010 polls.

Perhaps it was the 'Hello Garci' controversy that drove him to find a solution to the wholesale cheating alleged in the Senate probe after the Garci tapes surfaced. The solution was to automate the elections and Gordon wasted no time in filing the bill.

For all the rancor against the wholesale manipulation of votes in 2004, you would think that a bill that would end whole sale cheating in the elections would sail through congress. It didn't.

At one point, during deliberations on the bill, a number of senators chose to hide inside the Senators' Lounge and effectively stalled the passage of the bill. Gordon had to break a few chairs just to get their attention and get them back in the session hall.

I started working with Senator Gordon when the bill finally passed into law on the eve of the 2007 elections. The problem now was that the Comelec already gave indications that it would not implement the pilot testing phase mandated by RA 9369.

When I began working for Gordon, I enlisted to be part of Bagumbayan - Volunteers for a New Philippines.

BAGUMBAYAN had long campaigned for credible elections through poll automation. It lobbied for the enactment and implementation of what is now known as RA 9369 or the Amended Automated Election Law. After the enactment of the law in December 2006, they demanded former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos to implement the pilot testing of automated polls during the 2007 elections.

When Abalos refused to implement the pilot testing phase of the Automated Elections System, BAGUMBAYAN convened with several other groups at the historic Club Filipino in January 2007. They signed a manifesto demanding the pilot testing of the automated polling system and they mounted a massive rally at the Head Office of the Comelec in Intramuros.

Gordon was with the people of Bagumbayan every step of the way.

In the succeeding days just before the 2007 elections, BAGUMBAYAN conducted a nationwide automated mock election to refute the claim that pilot testing in 6 provinces and 6 cities was not possible.

BAGUMBAYAN successfully conducted automated mock polls, bringing automated polling machines to 6 provinces and 6 cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Around 1,800 students participated in the automated mock elections which were held at the Don Mariano Marcos University, Northern La Union Campus; Don Mariano Marcos University, Mid La Union Campus; University of Makati; Negros Maritime College in Dumaguete City; University of the Philippine Los Banos, Laguna; and Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City.

If it still means anything, thank you Dick Gordon at sa 2010 magkakaroon na rin tayo sa wakas ng mas malinis at mas mabilis na eleksyon.

22 comments:

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

i read the declaration. it doesn't appear that padaca et al are claiming credit for anything. they're merely giving their support to automation.

i can understand your zeal for standing up and looking out for your boss. however it appears you're passion is clouding your judgment a little bit.

relax. recognition will come to those who truly deserve it.

Admin said...

If you say so.

better said...

"We, the founding leaders of Kaya Natin! A National Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership, fully support the Commission on Elections’ program for the full automation of the 2010 elections. We believe that the Filipinos’ right to elect our leaders is one of the main pillars of our democracy, thus we stand firm on our belief that this issue of fully automating the upcoming elections is very critical to our country’s future."

they just said they fully support it. it's there. i don't see anything about claiming credit.

automation is good regardless of who championed it. besides i don't think sen. gordon was the first to call for it. credit goes to him for coming up with a relevant law, which of course is part of his job.

Admin said...

When I first posted this entry, I said that the Kaya Natin movement was claiming credit for automated elections.

You are right that the text of their declaration of support DOES NOT say they are claiming any credit for it.

I don't know if you will agree with this but beyond the message itself is the context in which the message is given. This sometimes points to the real meaning behind the action, more than the words itself.

Kaya Natin's statement says that they stand for automated elections and that IS a good thing.

But to be sure, there were other groups that supported automated elections including the PPCRV, NAMFREL, and others. Of course, Bagumbayan was in the thick of it all too.

They showed their support at a time when Automated Elections was being blocked at every turn. Not just with press statements or announcements in the papers.

They participated in the hearings of the Congress Oversight Committee on Automated Elections. They supported moves to have automated elections in the ARMM in 2008, to pilot test the Automated Election system. They were there during deliberations for the supplemental budget for automated elections.

They lent their voices and gave their positions on issues, helping the process move forward towards automated elections in 2010.

Now that all the work is done and the 11.3 Billion peso budget for poll automations has been passed, Kaya Natin comes out with a statement of support for Automated Elections when such a statement is no longer useful, needed or wanted from them.

In other words, pumapapel lang sila.

What Kaya Natin's statement of support looks like to me is a ploy similar to the plot of Shark Tale.

In this story, a little fish gains fame and recognition after other fish mistakenly think that he had killed a reef shark. All he had to do was to be seen near the dead body of the shark and keep quiet about it.

Perhaps Kaya Natin would do better to help educate the public regarding poll automation and other things that would still be useful.

Also, with respect to this part of your comment:

"automation is good regardless of who championed it. besides i don't think sen. gordon was the first to call for it. credit goes to him for coming up with a relevant law, which of course is part of his job."

Yes, Senator Gordon wasn't the first to call for it and no such claim was made.

Infact, if you read the title of the bill and even in the short title of the bill, you will see the word AMENDED. Which means, RA 9369 isn't the original law for automated elections.

What Gordon did was to make the original law more implementable and to revise it so that the Mega Pacific voting machine scandal isn't repeated.

Yes, Gordon wasn't the first but he was THE ONLY ONE who took up the cause of AUTOMATED ELECTIONS in Congress.

Yes, it was part of his job to propose relevant laws but beyond just filing the bill, he used every opportunity he had to move the bill through congress and it was tough work -- this I can attest to because I was with him.

Others just file bills, Gordon followed through until it was enacted and after it was enacted, he worked like a dog steering the Oversight committee.

So, being my friend, you can just pardon me for being a little bit zealous and a little passionate about this.

Some people just talk or write about change and at least for one time in my life, I can say that I WAS PART OF CHANGE.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

joining a movement makes one part of change. hmmm. if you say so.

but why bring that up anyways. we're talking about padaca et al.

are you now saying you don't want others to support what your group supposedly started. so much for involving others in change.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

so i guess since i voted for senator gordon and he did what you say he did then i guess i was also part of change.

better said...

me? impressed? of course not. i hate all things superficial. i especially hate flawed debates that drag on and on because of other people's habit of injecting all sorts of additional info not even remotely relevant to what was being discussed in the first place.

going back to the subject. i'm just saying the group didn't claim credit as you originally said. i also do not see anything wrong with the fact they're airing their support just now.

and while you may have not said it expressly, the fact that you're on their case in this manner clearly communicates that you don't want them to air their support. so wouldn't that imply that you don't want their support. oh but as you claim it's not that. so what is it then?

Admin said...

What debate?

Where there's no arguement,there is no debate.

Yes, they didn't claim credit and there's nothing wrong with them airing their support.

I didn't IMPLY BUT DIRECTLY STATED that my case against them is that they are airing their support when it is already IRRELEVANT.

They are airing their support for the automation of the 2010 elections at a time when it is ALREADY CERTAIN that the election in 2010 will be automated.

Instead of airing support for automated elections, they should get moving on VOTERS' EDUCATION.

better said...

this is what you said:

"They are airing their support for the automation of the 2010 elections at a time when it is ALREADY CERTAIN that the election in 2010 will be automated."

But if you cared to read their whole declaration, you woud have probably noticed that their declaration was posted on February 28, a few days before the comelec's supplemental budget was passed. That is why there's this part in that declaration:

"We call on our lawmakers to work for transparent, clean and honest elections by immediately passing the necessary supplemental budget for the full automation of the upcoming elections."

so, despite this point, would you say their airing of support still came late. i think you got the timeline wrong.

besides, what's the problem if they air their support only now. I'm sure many young college students who may only be developing a taste for social issues will sooner or later also air their support for automated elections. Will you consider that as "epal" as well.

Admin said...

You said:
"you wou(l)d have probably noticed that their declaration was posted on February 28, a few days before the comelec's supplemental budget was passed."

Oh, then they weren't late! My God! A few whole days before the budget was passed! Amazing.

Of course, the whole business of automating elections started in 2005 or 2006 when the bill for RA 9369 was filed.

So, Kaya Natin isn't late. They just spoke up at a time when it was almost for sure that the Automation Budget would pass congress!

Oh well. Splitting hairs.

You said:
"besides, what's the problem if they air their support only now. I'm sure many young college students who may only be developing a taste for social issues will sooner or later also air their support for automated elections. Will you consider that as "epal" as well."

If they weren't born yesterday, perhaps these hypothetical college students born the same day that it became fashionable to shout 'Fire!' after it had been put out.

I wouldn't call it epal, just crazy or INANE.

Just to stress my point further, you don't support something that obviously can do without your support. That's like claiming to be holding up a building when it is clearly resting solidly on its own columns.

better said...

regardless of what you say now, the whole point is you came out with an issue based on wrong assumptions.

first you thought padaca et al were claiming credit for something.

then you revised your post to make it appear you're just upset they're making "epal."

well, it's pretty obvious you thought they issued the declaration immediately after the senate passed the comelec's budget when in fact they posted it a few days before.

so now you're turning it into another issue -- that of them being late in airing support.
ok fine.

Admin said...

You just don't get it. Tsk!

Admin said...

The assumption is this and I think I have been pretty consistent:

Kaya Natin declared support for automated elections when it was already clear that automated elections would push through.

They didn't declare support for automated elections when it was still uncertain whether the fight for it would win or not.

It's obvious that by declaring their support even a few days before congress passed the budget for automated polls, they will be in a position to say that they championed the cause of automated elections.

But to hear them claim this would be enough to turn my stomach because they really didn't do anything beyond coming out with a press statement.

Wrong assumption?

Well, that's your judgement and I don't agree.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

and there you go again changing your statements again. you use different qualifications every now and then. either case i'm sure kaya natin will appreciate your tone.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

of course i get it. you don't want anyone to upstage sen. gordon. that's it, is it not? you can revise, twist and do whatever it is that you're doing but the fact remains that's what eating you. you just don't want anyone to upstage sen. gordon.

the thing is you don't have to think that. no one's taking anything away from your boss. padaca et al are in fact just voicing their own desire for a better election system. so it is a bit strange that you don't seem to appreciate that.

or are you just looking for groups to attack to make some noise for sen. gordon's campaign? i hope not because i think that goes against his idea of transformational politics, which i would assume involves rejecting old style politics and embracing new and better approaches.

Admin said...

Why would you think that I am doing this because I don't want Gordon upstaged?

You're seeing things that aren't there. Clearly. Again.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

well if that's not the case then what is it then? what's the problem if they give their support only now? Please explain. Clearly. For once.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

wait. i think the better question is: do you even appreciate the fact that they support the move towards automated elections? if yes, then why is declaration such a big deal? if no, then i rest my case.

Admin said...

KAYA NATIN did nothing to support the move for AUTOMATED ELECTIONS.

The only thing they did, which really doesn't count for actual support, is that they PUBLISHED A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT when it was already clear that the budget for automated elections was going to pass.

So, what is there to appreciate?

Their statement of support is superficial, superfluous and supot.

Admin said...

I think I've said this in so many ways over and over again.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

yes you have in so many different revisions, i mean, ways.

i hope for their sake no other group publishes a similar declaration.

English To Tagalog The Blog said...

hey, here's the whole declaration. you might want to post it here for the sake of balance and fairness.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 28th, 2009 at 10:10 am

Kaya Natin! Supports Full Automation of 2010 National Elections
We, the founding leaders of Kaya Natin! A National Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership fully support the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) plan for the full automation of the 2010 National Elections. We believe that the Filipinos’ right to elect our leaders is one of the main pillars of our democracy thus, we stand firm on our belief that this issue of fully automating the upcoming elections is very critical in our country’s history.

Given the history of widespread cheating in our country’s past elections, we believe that by fully automating the upcoming elections, election cheating and fraud can be minimized thus, ensuring that the true mandate of the people will be served. Aside from this, the full automation of the elections will help minimize human error and at the same time allow for the Filipino people to know the results of the elections within a lesser period of time.

As local government leaders, we have seen the importance of electing effective and ethical leaders through fair and honest elections. The full automation of the elections will help level the playing field especially for morally-upright and good intentioned candidates who may not have enough financial resources to hire poll watchers to guard his or her votes. By electing good leaders, the Filipino people can expect good governance leading to more efficient delivery of basic services.

We call on our lawmakers to work for transparent, clean and honest elections by immediately passing the necessary supplemental budget for the full automation of the upcoming elections.

We call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appeal to her allies in Congress to pass the budget necessary for the full automation of the upcoming elections.

Finally, we call on all Filipinos to join us in exerting pressure on our government leaders especially our Congressmen and Senators for the immediate passing of the supplemental budget that will assure us of a fully automated election in 2010.

SIGNED:

Mayor Jesse Robredo (Naga City)

Gov. Grace Padaca (Isabela)

Gov. Eddie Panlilio (Pampanga)

Mayor Sonia Lorenzo (San Isidro, Nueva Ecija)

Gov. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. (Ifugao)

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