ABSCBN's divine noontime news anchor, PINKY WEBB, just caught Atty. Romulo Macalintal with his shorts down on the Prime Time News in that inimitably innocent way she has with pitching an intelligent and revealing question.
The smooth Consigliere of Malacanang Palace was just warming up to the task of resurrecting the junked Comelec Automated Counting Machines of 2004 by claiming that the Dept of Science and Technology had certified the counting machines as passing the required tests even if the Supreme Court itself found that the system had been bid out illegally.
"But, isn't it true Attorney Macalintal, " Ms. Webb plaintively inquired (with just the merest arch of an arabesque eyebrow), "that the reason they passed those tests is because the Comelec CHANGED the specification to ninety nine point nine nine five per cent?"
The President's lawyer was dumbstruck as the fastball hit him on the noggin without him knowing what hit him.
Pinky Webb struck out the Attorney-at-Bat!
Out of the mouth of Babes!
Score one for the good guyz!
But Macalintal quickly recovered and stuck to the Palace-provided talking point, which is in itself a chilling revelation about what the Palace intends to do with 1.2 billion pesos worth of OPTICAL MARK READERS hooked up to PCs masquerading as an automation system.
THIS is Malacanang's idea of ELECTORAL REFORM:
1) IGNORE the Supreme Court's increasingly strident demandS that its rulings be heeded on the ill-fated, illegally-bid 2004 Automated Counting System, that perpetrators be prosecuted and financial recovery sought by the government on its own behalf.
2) DEMONSTRATE the technical capabilities of 1950s optical mark reader technology (OMR) in suitable publicity stunts involving making DOST jump through circus hoops.
3) FORGIVE the Comelec Commissioners, led by Benjamin Abalos for its deal with Megapacific Consortium (whoever they really are!) and let bygones be bygones on that 1200 million piles of pesos (1.2 billion pesos) that was involved in a landmark Supreme Court decision.
4) USE the "counting" machines in the 2007 elections and claim that GMA has automated the Philippine elections!
I think it's time for the TECHIES to come out of the woodwork and get rowdy on AUTOMATION.
Fool us once, your fault. Fool us twice, OUR fault!
LAW PROFESSOR HARRY ROQUE of the University of the Philippines Law School has just returned from a trip to the United States in the hunt and chase for one, JOC JOC BOLANTE, a FUGITIVE from Justice with a warrant for his arrest by no less than the Philippine Senate, who is slyly trying to manipulate the US Justice system in order to escape prosecution and almost sure conviction in the Philippines for the PLUNDER of some 728 million pesos in Agriculture Dept. fertilizer funds. He brings the BAD NEWS that Joc Joc Bolante's plea for a change of venue to Chicago, Illinois, from San Pedro, California, has been granted. But the GOOD NEWS is apparently the UP Law School Team has made contact with the US Attorney's offices in both states to assist them in the adversarial process that will, I believe, exclude Joc Joc Bolante from US territory for return here. Or, as I actually HOPE has happened, that Joc Joc has in fact broken some serious US Law for which he has been detained and will be convicted. I just hope it's not the Cat N Mouse Game described for TV audiences here by California lawyer Ted Laguatan in a conversation with Strictly Politics' PIA HONTIVEROS and the aforementioned Harry Roque. The representations being made by the UP Law School group, which includes former Dean Raul Pangalangan and Dean Merlin Magallona, are to be presented as an amicus brief demolishing the claim to political asylum that JocJoc has made. In addition to the Senate arrest warrant, the Commission on Audit has laid the basis for a plunder charge against Mr. Bolante. I agree:
CONGRESSMEN who are named in the COA report SHOULD NOT participate in the upcoming hearings on an impeachment complaint some of whose charges are based on the Fertilizer Fund Scam that JocJoc Bolante allegedly ran for Malacanang Palace in 2004. And especially one, Congressman Salacnib Baterina, alleged to be the recipient of some of those Fertilizer Funds.