Election tips for the new Catanduanes PNP and Army heads
posted 17-Apr-2016  ·  
4,299 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Campaign Sidelights:

• Former Polytechnic University of the Philippines professor Roll Lizaso has found a punchy campaign  line to compare himself with his rivals for the mayorship of San Miguel town: YES  to the professor, NO to the contractor. And the San Miguel folks react with big applauses.

• In Bagamanoc, businessman-contractor Eduardo de Asis, who is the underdog in his fight with the incumbent mayor, goes passionate in raising howls against what he calls a “family rule” in the town.

• Caramoran mayorable Romeo Penilla, a former student leader in Virac, does not mind being accused of male chauvinism when he goes campaigning. It is time, he says, for the town to end its experiment with  women mayors whom he blames for the deteriorating state of the town hall he calls a “squatter municipio.”

• In Virac, mayorable Manuel “Awe” Tablizo, for lack of campaign resources, keeps his cell phone burning with SMS (text) messages on crucial issues in the capital town especially the closure of the public market. The stall vendors – he’s one of them -- have been forced to squat indefinitely on a busy public street.

What is common to them? All four are incoming members of the PDP-Laban, the party of now presidential frontrunner Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City. And I was told the four independent bets are inclined to support the congressional bid of former governor Hector Sanchez.

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Of late there was this disturbing report about certain Philippine National Police officials being seen in the company of Liberal Party personalities in a meeting at a new hotel in the Araneta Center in Cubao, the business district developed by the family closely identified with of LP presidential bet Mar Roxas. Not a few raised eyebrows over the timing and purpose of the meeting, to the point that it raised hackles from senator and vice presidential hopeful Chiz Escudero. Forthwith, he cried foul and demanded that an investigation into the nature and real purpose of the meeting. To him, a political motive is not remote in that Cubao “beso-beso” considering the  reported exclusive manner the meeting had been held and the presence thereat of a purported ally of Roxas, who by the way, was the immediate past secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the agency exercising supervision and control over the PNP. If indeed such meeting took place, the PNP hierarchy in Camp Crame has something big to explain since the PNP is a uniformed service deputized to ensure a fair and credible election on May 9. Taking lessons from the infamous 2004 Garcillano tapes scandal, where men in uniform were exposed as partisans of then President Gloria Arroyo, the nation thus expects no less than a highest level reminder  –that is from Malacanang- that the PNP and the armed forces are barred from any partisan activity that may favour any candidate or any political  party in next month’s polls. One cannot expect a straight course (daang matuwid) for the country in the next six years if the May 6 elections is tainted. If ever, the nation will be on a dangerous course as the majority of our uniformed men will feel the worthlessness of supporting a new administration that will start with an immoral and questionable victory. A corrupt and partisan military and police is exactly one of the pre-conditions to an armed coup, according to Edward Luttwak, a noted authority on coup d’ etat and military destabilization.

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In local settings like Catanduanes or Masbate in particular, partisan activities by the police especially, are nothing new. Both provinces have a long history of police personnel being tapped during elections to ensure the victory of certain candidates or parties. Involvement came in the form of harassment and intimidation of opposition candidates, tolerating hired or paid goons, selective check-pointing, selective response to election complaints, escorting vote buyers or if not turning a blind eye on open vote buying. In serious cases, police elements were themselves assassins or murderers of political personalities. Fortunately for Catanduanes, gone now are the days of these bad election scenarios. But other forms of involvement are not totally gone. In recent elections, police and military personnel have figured in election misdeeds due to pressures and behests of interested parties. These happen when police and military personnel get very obedient to the dictates of those in power. Some cases of interception of money couriers of certain candidates have been reported in the past few elections. Surprisingly no candidate had ever been charged. The confiscated money, in millions, suddenly vanished into thin air, without any reaction from the sleepy Comelec who otherwise could have used them as evidence of election offenses such as vote buying. In the recent past too, I have even heard of credible stories about handsome pay-offs to Camp Camacho officials from certain candidates. 

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I treat all these past occurrences well within the realm of possibilities when Catandungeños prepare their votes on May 9. My sense is that next month’s election will be the costliest ever in our political history. The candidates’ list points to that. The massive budgets each aspirant to the major posts, needless to say, are likely to have contingent items that would guarantee that elections will be won not only in vote-buyers’ market but possibly via some smart strategies that will make use of partisan lawmen. I hate to narrate past incidents of that nature because I don’t want to burden our newly-installed police and military commanders with mind-boggling figures and amounts that may put them in deep thoughts. Incidentally, I was told that the new PD director and the Army battalion commanders are officers of good calibre and career records. Suffice to alert both officials that Catanduanes politicians are used to that practice to the point that they even yield to the customary overtures for campaign fees by the “other army” in the “bulod.”

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Having laid out the above possibilities and scenarios, I still have faith in most our law enforcers here that their election mandates are foremost in their minds. To those PNP generals seen cavorting with Liberal Party functionaries in Cubao, give them meanwhile the benefit of the doubt and let them stand by their claim there was nothing sinister or political at all in that meeting at the Novotel Hotel at Araneta center. 

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ROSULO  welcomes comments via: rosmanlangit@yahoo.com

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