Saturday, April 17, 2010

No Cha-cha under Noynoy – Roxas

April 17, 2010, 7:45pm

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There will be no Charter change (Cha-cha) under the Aquino-Roxas administration.

This was the statement made by Liberal Party vice presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as he expressly pointed out that instead of giving priority to tackling any amendments in the Philippine Constitution, he and LP standard-bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III will concentrate on the country’s economy and to generate jobs for the Filipinos.

“Charter change is not our priority. We will first focus on invigorating the economy so more businessmen will be persuaded to invest in the country,” Roxas said in a radio interview last Saturday.

According to Roxas, chronic graft and corruption – fostered by a rotten system of governance in the country – is on top of their “to-do list.”

“Part of our agenda is to rid the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue of corrupt employees,” Roxas pointed out.

Roxas also assured that under the Aquino-Roxas administration, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s hopes of becoming the House speaker will be dashed.

“If we will win, we will make sure President Arroyo would not be elected as speaker of the House,” Roxas stressed, echoing the same promise of Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential candidate Sen. Manny Villar.

Likewise, Roxas expressed deep concern over the admissions by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that results of the May 10 automated elections would be known in three days, contrary to earlier pronouncements that final poll results will be known in an instant.

Roxas said the Comelec should stick to its original two-day time frame for the announcement of election results, stressing any extension would further heighten fears of massive election fraud.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez was earlier quoted as saying the results of the election tally would be announced only after the canvassing at the municipal and provincial levels are completed, which is expected to take about 2 to 3 days after the elections.

Before this new timeline for the announcement of the results of the elections, Jimenez announced that results of the voting would be known within 48 hours.
“These are scary developments in the AES,” Roxas said.

Roxas also questioned the statement of Jimenez that computation of the results in the precinct level – the first stage of the canvassing – would have to be done by the political parties because the poll body was not required to total the results of the precinct voting or to post the consolidated results of the voting in real time on a website.

Jimenez has announced the yet-to-be-disclosed website would contain only unconsolidated results from the 76,000 precincts nationwide.

The Comelec would likewise not provide a running tally on the website.

“Are we going back to manual election? Elections have been automated for speedy result and to stop cheating,” Roxas said.

Roxas said posting the final tally in the website would be helpful to the Senate and the House of Representatives, convened as a National Board of Canvassers, in the tabulation and consolidation of the results of the May 10 elections.

“Posting the results in the presidential and vice-presidential race would determine if there is any discrepancy between the Comelec’s and Congress’ tally,” he said, stressing this would likewise serve as a deterrent to possible tampering of the votes.

The LP bet said he expects the Arroyo administration and its allies to attempt to stop him and Aquino from winning in the elections.

Aquino and Roxas have cited alarming lapses in the preparations for the automated polls, such as questionable source code review requirements, electricity supply problems, absence of means to verify ultra-violent marks in official ballots, uncertain conduct of a random manual audit, absence of a clear back-up plan, and an unfair ballot design, among others.

The LP tandem said such slip-ups could be part of an administration-hatched “grand scheme” to tamper with the results of the May 10 polls.

“The public should continue to be vigilant. The elections would be the way towards genuine reform and change. We are sick and tired of crooked governance,” Roxas said.

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