Monday, December 21, 2009

EDITORIAL: More to it than the speakership


Original Story:

The speakership of Congress is definitely what Gloria Arroyo had in mind when she decided to run for a seat in a Pampanga district for her to still be “relevant” after her stint in Malacañang in 2010. That conclusion is definitely a no-brainer, in much the same way her becoming the next Speaker is not just to serve as her leverage vis-a-vis the new Malacañang tenant, whoever he may be, but also to start the Charter change moving in Congress.

But knowing Gloria Arroyo, her scheming mind does not stop at simple, easy to deduce moves. It’s certainly a lot more than just seeking the speakership, bribing congressmen and using her new position for leverage against the new president.

What is more likely is that she knows there will be a failure of elections
and all indications point to this. And she will in all probability, be a holdover president.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), despite its officials wilting while being grilled by a legislative panel, and promising that the poll body will know that it is unable to conduct automated polls by March and will instead prepare for manual polls, is more likely to insist on holding automated polls, even when the poll body knows it will be a fiasco of an automated election. Suspicious minds even believe that all this is part of Gloria’s grand design. After all, isn’t Gloria 100 percent for automated polls? And wasn’t there a time when it was reported, prior to Smartmatic-TIM inking the automation deal for the counting machines, that a Smartmatic official was seen in a coffee shop with the First Gentleman?

And doesn’t the Comelec, despite the many breaches in the contract, refuse to penalize Smartmatic, which penalties would have amounted to some P7 million a day?

There is more negative news about Smartmatic that has been coming out in the Internet, such as Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela banning Smartmatic from dealings with the Venezuelan government
. Earlier issues against Smartmatic were also reported and the Comelec knew about them, but the poll body insisted on awarding the contract to Smartmatic and still keeps faith with this company, despite the fact of its inability to deliver the machines, not to mention the setting up of transmission lines, along with the Comelec reportedly not even making provisions for the ballot boxes, which will be storing the automated ballots.

While it is true that, in the case of a vacancy in the presidential
and vice presidential seats, and if no president or vice president has qualified, the Senate and the House must convene, without need for Malacañang for call Congress to convene, and draft a special election law which demands that elections have to be held within 45 days after the measure is enacted, and at the latest, 60 days. It is more likely that the special manual elections to replace the failed automated polls, will be taking longer than the constitutional stay of Gloria. She stays on as holdover president and will still be in Malacañang while manual elections push through.

One more thing: In manual polls, it is usual for local bets to be quickly proclaimed winners. This never takes long, since pre-protests for local bets are not in the cards. Post-protests, on the other hand, take forever, such as a full term for the local executives being used up by those seated, while the real winners, after close to three years of protesting, sometimes do not even get to sit at all.

Gloria, under a failure of automated elections scenario, and under a manual election following that scenario, assuming that there won’t be a revolt of sorts following the failure of automated polls, will then still be president, but at the same time, also be a member of Congress, and a Speaker. The Senate, no longer being a continuing body, as ruled by the high court, won’t have any say in this matter.

Neat. But that’s how Gloria’s scheming mind usually works.

Original Story:

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