Sunday, July 12, 2009

Harry Roque Hands GMA & SCoRP a Useful Justiciable Controversy

You know how the ConAss people like Luis Villafuerte and Prospero Nograles are desperately trying to create a "justiciable controversy" in the Supreme Court that can be used for the dastardly end of perpetuating their Mistress in power?  They should take lessons from Lawyer Harry Roque!

I am glad that Comelec has just signed a contract with Smartmatic/TIM to automate the 2010 elections. Warts and all, I think that this is a necessary and historic first step towards a whole new deal when it comes to democratic elections in the Philippines, which are a big fat joke on the electorates.  But the chances of automated elections being cancelled in 2010 is apparently so high in the opinion of the principals that the  winning bidder reportedly insisted on a contract provision, agreed to by Comelec, that the vendor would be paid for its systems and services even if automation is called off.  

Many observers are convinced that the TRAPOS (traditional politicians) and manual election cheating operators,  desperately want to, and can still scuttle election automation and force the usual manual election in 2010, so we are a long, long way off from a hoped for clean, honest and automated election that does not require over a month for the results to be announced while they are cooked.

Strangely enough, the prospect of killing automation is being bolstered most strongly by the most unlikely people. Consider for example the suit by lawyer and UP Law School Prof. HARRY ROQUE to stop the deal, filed in the Supreme Court (SCoRP) just 24 hours before the contract signing.   Although no TRO was issued to stop the signing, SCoRP can now sit on and possibly pull out this very lawsuit and simply kill off the automation deal between now and the 2010 elections.  We should not forget the Decision in 2004 which stopped Ben Abalos' Automatic Counting Machines project, ITF v. Comelec--which could just as easily happen again as "Roque v. Comelec."

Harry Roque has effectively handed the Palace a Magic Bullet with which to stop automated elections in 2010 dead in its tracks.  Please note that it was very important that this suit was filed not by the likes of Oliver "Lolo" Lozano or other known Palace toady,  but by someone just like Harry Roque, an ardent Administration critic.  As it is a plea for certiorari and prohibition,  SCoRP assumes original jurisdiction, can issue a TRO at any time and for virtually any reason (such as to hear oral arguments or testimonies of experts and amici curiae)--all of which could seriously, if not fatally  compromise the implementation. SCoRP could even conceivably micromanage the implementation, allowing for example partial implementation, thus allowing manual election fraud to occur in the usual places, like ARMM and Mindanao.   The salient point of course is that the Court can decide to do nothing until it decides to do something--thanks to Harry Roque!   

Just WHEN the Court does something is almost as important as the nature of its very rulings. Thus, what Harry Roque might have thought of as his duty as a lawyer to do -- to question the validity of a Public Contract affecting elections themselves -- turns out to be a double-edged sword that the powers-that-be which he so ardently disdains and opposes.  They are only too glad to accept such a weapon from him and wield it with a swift and merciless granting of  Harry Roque's prayer that election automation not be implemented in 2010.

This news can only be cheered on by the likes of Virgilio Garcillano, Lintang Bedol and their coterie of manual election fixers--as well as aforementioned traditional politicos--who can all plan the usual Dirty Tricks of Dagdag Bawas  Their black hearts can only be gladdened to see that those doing the Dirty Work for them against automated elections are not exactly Palace stooges or Congress toadies, but bona fide divas and doyens of Civil Society--the dahlinks of Main and Blog Stream Media, the creme de la creme of the intellectual Opposition!

SOURCE: Philippine Commentary


manuelbuencamino said...

well, Harry Roque is famous for his reverse Midas touch

Jm Benavidez Estoque said...

Bkit po b ganun ang mga tao? Chance na nga yon para umunlad yung teknolohiya natin... at least sa pagdating ng botohan, pilit pa rin pala nila itong pinipigilan para lang sa personal na hangarin.

Kelan nga ba tayo matututong tumayo sa iisang hangaring makabayan?

Meron nga tayong gobyerno pero watak watak naman, ganito nga ba talaga ang epekto ng pagiging arkipelago ng bansa natin? hiwahiwalay.

Nakakalungkot na nakakainis na rin... :(

john marzan said...

we are the only country where the elites think that automated is more "reliable and secure" than manual. if you ask all the other countries around the world, especially those with experience in computerized voting (particularly in the US)--they'd tell you the opposite, na mas safe and reliable ang manual because it is more difficult to fix the results (forge signatures, mess up the count) without getting caught thru verification.

sure, automated counts votes faster, but it is also easier/faster to fix elections from the inside. and AFAIK, chairman melo has not done anything to investigate or remove the 2004 operators who worked for garci inside the comelec. he did not clean house.

doing the automated system without credible election officials in charge is like building a swanky new henhouse while retaining the services of the fox to guard it.

Catching vote discrepancies and verifying the count would be almost impossible. NAMFREL and other watchdog groups from the CBCP becomes redundant/useless. Something like this will never ever happen again. if you did not catch it, it never happened. ignorance is bliss.

hindi kasalanan ng manual kung may dayaan sa 2004. manual made it harder for them and more risky to fix the results. kinaylangan ng administration ang sangkatutak na comelec at military operators para ayusin ang eleksyon. hindi pa maganda ang pagkakagawa, according to one general. alam nating may dayaan, sa 2004 canvassing pa lang halata na. pero walang nakulong. lusot ang mga mandaraya. dahil corrupt ang gobierno at accomplice ang CBCP.

tele-tubby said...

Roque et al are not against automation per se... their beef is the way the law is being implemented... not to mention the many violations already apparent (Anti-Dummy Law, non-compliance with the pilot-testing standard set forth in RA9369 itself). Bottom line is, the way things are going, if automation takes place in 2010, it will be easier for interested parties to cheat.

Anonymous said...

Dean, I am with you on this. Let me just add my two cents to paint a fuller picture. In Roque's enthusiasm to showcase his legal prowess before the Supreme Court, he not only "effectively handed the Palace a Magic Bullet with which to stop automated elections in 2010 dead in its tracks" but may have also caused our people their best chance for a clean and honest elections. But what is Roque's true motivations aside from posturing as a legal luminary? I think the answer is desperating trying to shoe in Gus Lagman's OES system as a better system than the Smartmatic system. Unwittingly or not, he is being used to further the OES push. How can a lawyer like Roque accuse Comelec/Smartmatic of violations of the law and simultaneuosly openly endorses and promotes the OES system which in itself cleary violates the law because the law requires that the automated system should have been tried and tested successfully in an electoral process here or aboard. For Christ's sake, the OES system is just a prototype! The OES system that Roque is endorsing will be subject to the very same issues he is raising against Comelec/Smartmatic, dah! To me, this is pure arrogance and here lies his true motivations. Some may say this is just pure argumentum ad hominem, I say this is the truth. An obstruction to what could be a good chance to finally have a fair and clean elections.