Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Padaca ouster could mar 2010 polls, analyst says

12/09/2009 | 11:24 PM

Original Story:

Many thought that her 2007 victory as a second-term governor was also the extension of the people’s victory against a three-decade dynastic rule in Isabela province. But on December 8, Grace Padaca – one of the only two Filipino local officials honored last year with a Ramon Magsaysay award for supposedly empowering voters to reclaim their democratic right - was unseated from her post through a 12,000-page decision by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Shock was Padaca’s initial reaction to the Comelec’s decision. “Di ko maubos maisip na ‘yung 17,000 votes na lamang ko sa kanya na ganun na lang mababaligtad. (I can’t imagine how my 17,000-vote lead over him would be turned around just like that)."

Padaca was referring to Benjamin Dy, her political opponent who, according to the “final appreciation" of the Comelec’s Second Division, won the 2007 polls with 198,384 votes or a winning margin of 1,051 votes over that of Padaca.

According to Padaca, Dy’s petition failed to substantiate how he regained the 17,000 votes from her, unlike her evidence of 46 pages, including folders of the photocopies of ballots detailing how she maintained the 17,000-vote lead.

After the disbelief came Padaca’s realization that the issue was no longer about her, but the people’s trust in the Comelec's capability to ensure clean and honest elections in 2010.

“Hindi ako kapit-tuko sa kapangyarihan. I just want to be assured na di ako ginagago sa prosesong ito. This is not just about me. Paano pa mapagkakatiwalaan ang Comelec sa 2010 election? (I’m not clinging to power. I just want to be assured that I’m not being fooled in this process. How can the Comelec be trusted in the 2010 polls?)" said Padaca.

At least one political analyst shares Padaca’s view. Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, sees an “alarming" pattern not just in the recent decisions of the Comelec, but also in the rulings of Supreme Court that could have a “negative bearing on the conduct of fair and honest elections" next year. [See: SC: Appointive officials may hold on to posts after filing COCs and SC: Infomercials before campaign period legal]

“Ang tanong kasi ay kung mananalo ba ang administrasyon sa susunod na eleksyon? (The question is will the administration win in the coming elections?)… So what is the administration up to now?" said Casiple in an interview with GMANews.TV on Wednesday.

"It is placing its people in the government a few months before the polls so they can access government resources for the campaign and ensure the victory of the administration in rich-vote areas," added Casiple.

Casiple said the situation being faced by Padaca is similar to that of Jonjon Mendoza who was earlier unseated by the same Comelec division headed by commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer after the Bulacan governor decided to leave the administration party in favor of the Liberal Party.

Last September, Padaca and Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio also decided to throw their support behind LP standard-bearer, Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III.

Like Padaca and Mendoza, administration allies are also trying to unseat Panlilio from his gubernatorial post.

In the 2007 polls, Panlilio beat Lilia Pineda by 1,407 votes, a margin repeatedly challenged by his political opponents until the election case was elevated to the Supreme Court. The high tribunal recently decided to resume the hearing of the petition questioning Panlilio’s victory.

But Casiple said the tight situation being faced by progressive leaders such as Padaca “will just be temporary."

“Malaki ang possibility na manalo uli si Padaca at iba pang progressive leaders (There’s a big possibility that Padaca and other progressive leaders will win again in the 2007 polls). In the light of the Noynoy phenomenon, I think 40 to 50 percent of the electorate will vote based on issues and not on personalities," said Casiple. - with reports from Kimberly Jane T. Tan, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

No comments:

Post a Comment