Will there really be an Election in 2010?
by: Harvey S. Keh
The recent news approving the 11 billion supplemental budget for the full automation of the upcoming 2010 National Elections was welcomed by many sectors in society as a big step forward towards having a more transparent and honest election. One of the challenges now is to make sure that the bidding and procurement process for the equipment and materials that will be used for poll automation will be monitored properly so as to ensure transparency. In addition to this, it is imperative that proper training be given to those who will run the election counting machines especially since this is the first time that we will be doing this on a national scale. Let us remember that it may actually be easier for our current political leaders to conduct wholesale cheating in the elections given that they will only need to manipulate the election machines thus, we need to continue to remain vigilant in ensuring that we have a clean and honest election whose results will reflect the true mandate of the Filipino people.
Aside from this, one famous radio commentator also remarked that the passing of this huge budget only goes to show that there will indeed be an election this coming 2010. Yet, just the other day I got a chance to talk to a former high-level member of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s cabinet who told me that the passage of the poll automation budget may actually be a diversionary tactic by our present administration. The present administration would want people to actually believe that any moves to push for Charter Change before 2010 are now dead given that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) are now preparing for full poll automation. This former cabinet member also told me that the President’s cohorts at the House of Representatives are looking to spring a surprise when they go back to session in April. The strategy will be to push for the convening of a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) by getting 197 combined signatures from Congressmen and Senators. This is unconstitutional given that the constitution clearly states that for Con-Ass to happen, the House of Representatives and the Senate have to vote separately and each of them will have to get at least 2/3 of their members voting for Con-Ass. If this will continue and Arroyo’s minions will get their 197 signatures, the Senate will definitely contest and bring this to the Supreme Court who will decide with finality on the proper interpretation of the constitution. Given that almost all members of the Supreme Court are already appointees of Arroyo, it will not be surprising if they rule in her favor.
This is where public opinion and public clamor should come in, we need to remain vigilant because as we have seen the past 8 years this administration is capable of doing anything just to remain in power. We need to show this administration and her allies that we want to have elections in 2010 because we want a new set of leaders who are God-fearing, morally-upright, honest, effective and ethical to lead us towards a better society. We need to show them that we want to practice our right to elect the right leaders for our country. If we do not act now, we may just wake up ten years from now and still have the same set of corrupt leaders continuing to lead this country down the drain. Many of the people I have talked to said that the main problem of our current administration is the fact that our leaders do not have a clear vision for the country. I totally disagree with them, this administration has a clear vision and that is to continue to stay in power even beyond 2010 by continuing to manipulate each one of us while continuing to destroy every single democratic institution in our country.
As a Filipino, I think we deserve much better than this but unless we act together, make our voices heard and demand a better government they will just continue with their shenanigans. It is now time to show our leaders that we have had enough, we want an elections in 2010 because we are sick and tired of the same traditional politicians that have continued to enrich themselves while millions of Filipinos continue to go hungry each day.
To make your voice heard and support the drive against Charter Change before 2010, please visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/nochacha/petition.html
Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government. He is also the lead convenor of Kaya Natin! A National Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership.