RICKY CARANDANG REPORTS on an interview with JOE DE VENECIA. --
It seems almost certain now that former president Fidel Ramos is headed for a humiliating defeat when the matter is brought to the Lakas leadership council on Saturday. Not only will President Arroyo stay on til at least 2010, but there will most likely be no 2007 election, unless it is to vote for members of the new parliament. GMA will meet with FVR tomorrow to read him the riot act…fall in line and shut up or there will be consequences.The NEXT election, whether Plebiscite or regular elections, MUST NOT BE another Garci special. I think that AUTOMATING the next election (to make it as secure as the ATM banking system, for example) would not be hard from a technical standpoint, though the engineering specs of such a system should be thoroughly and cleverly thought out. But the real problem is political. I think the Filipino electorate faces a great historic problem: their politicians know they would lose control of the whole shebang if elections actually were "ATM-secure." There should arise a multisectoral, multipartisan political movement whose principle of unity is that the next elections must be automated and credible. Such a movement might even pull people out of the vast intellectual quagmire of endless theoretical debates about constitutional matters that only buys the Palace time to prepare for the next election. The Consiglieri and their Capos who are writing a new Glorious Constitution cannot be kept honest, nor can their recklessness be curbed, unless they KNOW their handiwork will face a secure democratic plebiscite.