Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Padaca: I'm still the governor

By Charlie Lagasca
The Philippine Star
Updated December 10, 2009 12:00 AM

Original Story:

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya , Philippines – Embattled Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca yesterday stressed that the ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) unseating her and installing her rival, former governor Benjamin Dy, was not yet final and executory.

“Nothing has changed. I’m still the governor of Isabela even if the Comelec’s Second Division came out with (the adverse) ruling,” Padaca said in a radio interview.

A former broadcaster known for her hard-hitting commentaries during her Bombo Radyo years here, Padaca said there was a process still to be followed before Dy could take over her post.

The Comelec decision was met with criticisms, particularly from stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP), to which Padaca and Bulacan Gov. Joselito Mendoza, who was earlier ousted from his post, too, belong.

Sen. Benigno Aquino III, LP’s presidential candidate, said the ruling was an example of Malacañang’s systematic way of crippling the critics of the crooked and abusive Arroyo administration.

“The (administration) will continue to silence those who want change,” Aquino said, adding though that they would not be cowed by these moves.

“We can see that Maguindanao is a result of a government addicted to corruption and drunk in power. The Filipino nation is already enraged. We will not stop until we are able to end irregularities and hopelessness through a clean and trustworthy government,” Aquino said.

For his part, Sen. Mar Roxas, Aquino’s running mate, slammed the Comelec for allowing itself to be used by the Arroyo administration for its “vendetta” politics against local executives who have allied themselves with the opposition.

“What is at stake here is the credibility of the Comelec and the 2010 elections. Why did Comelec officials allow their institution to be used by Malacañang for its bullying tactics against its critics?” Roxas asked.

Malacañang, however, yesterday denied that it had anything to do with the Comelec decision unseating Padaca.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita advised all the parties concerned to just follow the rule of law, saying members of the opposition are always expected to blame the Palace for their problems.

“Of course that is what she (Padaca) is thinking. What do you expect since she lost? Especially since she belongs to the opposition, she will say that. But let’s follow the rule of law,” Ermita said.

For his part though, President Arroyo’s election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who had Padaca as one of his clients before, said the Comelec ruling “is a big blow to the integrity of the Melo Commission.” He was referring to Comelec Chairman Jose Melo.

“I don’t know how we could still trust Comelec with this kind of decision in future cases involving candidates in the 2010 elections. I have some clients who are victims of scandalous decisions of the Comelec. What a shame,” Macalintal said.

The Comelec, however, insisted on its independence amid the criticisms. “Whatever happened was a simple and very mechanical appreciation of the ballots. It was just shown that some ballots were appreciated wrongly or they were appreciated in a manner that should have been based on the evidence at hand,” said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.

In a 12,092-page decision, the Comelec’s Second Division said Dy won the 2007 mid-term elections with a vote margin of 1,051 against Padaca.

After a revision of votes in the gubernatorial race, the poll body found that Dy got 199,435 votes against Padaca’s 198,384.

But Padaca said, “I am no cheater,” adding that her winning a second term as governor was fair and honest.

Describing the Comelec decision as “saddening but not surprising,” Padaca said, “I won over former governor Benjamin Dy by 17,207 votes. How dare they accuse me of being a cheater when all these years cheating, terrorism, influence peddling have been the way by which they (Dys) have kept their dynasty in power?” – With Sheila Crisostomo, Aurea Calica and Marvin Sy

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment