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Thread: Mahathir questions Filipino-style democracy

  1. #301
    Hope is an accumulation of decisions

    By: John Nery - @jnery_newsstand Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:09 AM December 26, 2017

    "Your Program on Nonviolent Sanctions at Harvard has always aroused much interest but also skepticism. Much of the skepticism about nonviolent methods was swept away by the success of the Filipino people in obtaining elections, in unveiling the fraudulent methods to distort the popular verdict, and finally in ousting Marcos in February 1986. How do you explain this shift?"

    In 1986 and 1987, Gene Sharp, one of the principal theorists of nonviolent resistance and the director of the Program on Nonviolent Sanctions in Conflict and Defense at Harvard University?s Center for International Affairs at the time, gave a wide-ranging interview to Afif Safieh, then a visiting scholar in Harvard.

    His answer to the introductory question attempts an overview of the Edsa Revolution; it is largely accurate, and still makes for bracing reading:

    "The Philippines struggle had a number of distinct features. It was a very good example of the withdrawal of the pillars of power. The Filipino people withdrew legitimacy from the regime when it became clear that the elections were a fraud. There were plans for economic resistance and noncooperation against the supporters of Marcos. Diplomats abroad began resigning. The population became nonviolently defiant. Finally, a major part of the army and its officers in effect went on strike. They did not turn their guns in the other direction or bomb the presidential palace. They went on strike and said that they were doing it nonviolently. So the army itself was taken away. Then the church called on people to demonstrate and protect the soldiers nonviolently. The civilian population formed vast barricades of human bodies surrounding the mutinous officers and soldiers, in a case that probably has no historical precedent: the nonviolent civilians protected the army. Finally Marcos was left with very little power. You take away the sources of power and the man who was formerly a tyrant becomes just an old man. His choice was not whether to remain in power, his only choice was how he was to leave. And so he left semi-gracefully."

    "That teaches us a great political lesson: that all repressive systems, all governments, legitimate or otherwise, all tyrannies, all foreign occupations are able to continue only because they receive the support of those they rule. Even foreign occupiers are supported by their own people, and frequently receive international support. If you can withdraw those sources of power, then the regime is threatened."

    The military rebels did in fact conduct one airstrike against the presidential palace; helicopter gunships belonging to the strike wing that had defected to the rebels strafed Malaca?ang Palace, to send an unmistakable signal.

    The delegitimizing of the Marcos administration began years before the fraudulent elections of 1986, when millions of people turned out to take part in the funeral of the assassinated Ninoy Aquino, in 1983. The opposition won a third of the seats in Ferdinand Marcos? National Assembly in 1984. The economic crisis of 1983-1985 worsened public perception of the Marcoses. (But the economic noncooperation campaign, targeted against companies run by Marcos' cronies, began only about a week before people took to Edsa.)

    Part of the army did go "on strike," so to speak, but only because the Reform the Armed Forces Movement's attempt to seize power through a coup was found out, and the rebels repaired to Camp Aguinaldo to make a last stand.

    Sharp, however, did get the other details, and the larger perspective, right. It was a long struggle to withdraw the sources of power of the Marcos regime.

    But one crucial factor that was not mentioned in this overview, and indeed in other historical surveys, is all-important. Hardly anyone then thought that Marcos - powerful, intelligent, disciplined - would in fact be overthrown. People just did what they thought needed to be done: show up at the Aquino home and then in Sto. Domingo Church to look at the opposition leader?s remains; join marches and rallies despite the truncheons and the tear gas; flood Ayala Avenue in Makati City with confetti every Friday; vote for opposition candidates for parliament; go to Edsa, as Jaime Cardinal Sin had urged everyone, to protect the military rebels. People did this, without thinking whether the protest action of the moment would "work."

    The odds were stacked against the people who fought against Marcos - until, suddenly, in a matter of hours in February 1986, they weren't. The downfall of Marcos wasn?t inevitable, until an accumulation of millions of personal decisions made it so.

  2. #302
    Morality in politics

    By: Fr. Nono Alfonso SJ - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:18 AM January 04, 2018

    "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet!" writes Rudyard Kipling in "The Ballad of East and West."

    That seems an apt description of the politics in the Philippines. On one side, we have the government and its "diehard" supporters, and on the other, the so-called ?destabilizers,? made up of the opposition party and sectors of the church, media and civil society. And it appears that a wedge has been placed between the camps, and this divide has gotten worse by the day. Indeed, with so much toxicity in the air, can the twain ever meet?

    Jonathan Haidt, specialist in moral and political psychology, faced the same question in the quagmire that is American politics. In "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are divided by Politics and Religion," he shares insights from his investigation of the moral divide between the liberals and conservatives in the United States. We like to believe that we are moral and ethical in our political stances, but Haidt offers these sobering "principles in moral psychology."

    First insight: Our sense of morality is first of all about emotions. We think, according to Haidt, that our morality is founded on reason, but most of it is instinctual. We just supply the reason to justify our moral sense, proving David Hume?s point that ?reason is a slave to the passions.? As an example, Haidt asks: What is wrong with someone who uses the national flag as a mop in the privacy of his home? Although he is not harming anyone, deep down we believe he has committed something immoral, though we can't put a finger on it. This is why we always fail when we try to reason with someone on the other side of the political line, even with our prodigious command of facts, logic and reason. ?Intuitions,? as Haidt says, ?come first, reason second.? If we are therefore to win over anyone in a moral argument, advises Haidt, we must learn first to enter his world, and understand where he is coming from.

    Second insight: Morality is always complex. It encompasses human rights, but is also cognizant of cultural norms and standards. Americans, for example, are very sensitive about autonomy and freedom, and will fight for these. But other cultures, like in the East, also value community and spirituality. "The righteous mind," Haidt says, "is like a tongue with six taste receptors." In reality, however, we deal with political and moral issues simplistically when there is always a lot to consider. The drug problem, for instance, is not so much a peace and order issue as a health and economic problem. Again, we need to be open to the other and to his worldview if we are to solve our moral and political problems as a nation.

    Final insight: Morality binds and blinds. We are genetically "groupish," according to Haidt. Darwin proposed that the fittest survived, but in our evolutionary history, we needed to belong to a group in order to survive and thrive. That has been the function of our group identities; but the downside is that this can blind us to other groups. Observe how our politics has reduced us to warring tribes once again. Haidt writes: ?Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.? The way out is rather obvious: to recognize that we belong to one big group that is humanity. We are groupish, but why not recognize everyone, each group, as part of that bigger group to which we all belong?

    Haidt writes: "We may spend most of our waking hours advancing our own interests, but we all have the capacity to transcend self interest and become simply part of a whole. It's not just a capacity; it?s the portal to many of life's most cherished experiences."

    Kipling actually ends his poem with hope. There is reconciliation between the native Kamal and the British Soldier: "But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!"

    * * *

    Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, is a board member of John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, and the executive director of Jesuit Communications.

  3. #303
    Lying and deception in post-truth world

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:11 AM February 27, 2018

    Nick Enfield, professor of linguistics at the University of Sydney, wrote a warning in The Guardian in November 2017 about a phenomenon we’ve become all too familiar with lately: In the post-truth world that has become the new normal, "experts are dismissed, alternative facts are (sometimes flagrantly) offered, and public figures can offer opinions on pretty much anything. And thanks to social media, pretty much anyone can be a public figure. In much public discourse, identity outranks arguments, and we are seeing either a lack of interest in evidence, or worse, an erosion of trust in the fundamental norms around people's accountability for the things we say."

    Enfield enumerated examples of Australian politicians uttering falsehoods and exploiting the changed environment in which demonstrated lying and deception no longer seem the kiss of death for public figures. Willful ignorance, in effect, has become weaponized, wielded to unembarrassed effect, and, in fact, used as a means to befuddle and divide the populace.

    Filipinos need not look far to see this happening.

    The 32nd anniversary of the Edsa Revolution, for instance, served up a more than usual frenzy of lying and revisionism aimed at discrediting the main historical event that regained for the nation the very democratic space some are now eagerly undermining.

    Worse, the untruths are coming from those in positions in power, tasked to champion the factual historical record (the government itself hosted an official Edsa event, after all) but who, typically, chose instead to traffic in shameless fraudulence to advance their own agenda.

    On Edsa Day, the assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, who runs a personal Facebook blog with some 5.5 million followers that she insists should be seen as divorced from her official functions, ran a poll in her page with the following question: "Naniniwala ba kayo na ang 1986 Edsa People Power ay isang produkto ng fake news???" (Do you believe that the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution was a product of fake news?)

    There was, of course, no concept of "fake news" in 1986. But even with the suppression and cooptation of the mainstream press at that time, the abuses and plunder of the Marcos regime still came to light, resulting in the nationwide struggle that would culminate in the toppling of the dictatorship through a popular uprising.

    The facts are easily verifiable, the public record voluminous and indisputable - if only this government official, her salary and the state resources at her command paid for by the people's money, had the basic integrity to Google history instead of using her official perch to propagandize falsely, perniciously.

    Or, take the case of the partisan throng that suddenly became avatars of good behavior by slamming Rappler reporter Pia Ranada for supposedly having been 'rude" and "disrespectful" to the Palace guards when she was barred from entering Malacanang.

    A determined reporter doing her job to report on the government’s workings is held up as “bastos” (discourteous) — while the same crowd shrugs its collective shoulders, even chortles, at the profanities and shocking utterances that have defined President Duterte’s public pronouncements, such as his recent staggering directive to soldiers to shoot women rebels in their private parts.

    The world, it seems, has turned upside down.

    "There's a breakdown of rational governance," laments the activist nun Sister Mary John Mananzan, a veteran of the freedom struggle. "The new normal now is to be rude and offensive, to tell a lie, tell fake news. What is happening to us Filipinos?"

    More Filipinos need to wake up to this insidious state of affairs, because, as Enfield warned, “a post-truth world with eroding trust and accountability can't end well."

    These days, eternal vigilance is the price, not only of liberty, but also of the truth that is the bedrock of that liberty.

  4. #304
    Federalism is not heaven

    By: Cielito F. Habito - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:06 AM March 06, 2018

    I'm told that in public gatherings assembled by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units, audiences are practically being promised heaven under a federal form of government, with hardly any serious effort to explain how or why. In a firsthand account from one who was in one such forum, the speaker asked the audience: "How many meals do you eat in a day?" Hearing answers saying they only have one or two, the speaker declared, "Once we have a federal form of government, all of you will be able to eat three meals a day or more!" It's a real stretch, but certainly an effective way to win support for federalism among the uninformed, undiscriminating and uneducated among us.

    Sad to say, it's quite likely that there are enough out there for whom that reasoning is enough, and who can swing the referendum vote for federalism if and when we get to that point. Like it or not, those who would care to study the pros and cons of the federalism debate are grossly outnumbered by those who wouldn’t. It is thus incumbent on those who would to help those who wouldn't, so the latter may know, think about, and evaluate the issues enough to make a reasoned judgment, whichever way one eventually goes. The important thing is that people are able to make an informed choice on something with such a profound effect on our nation's future.

    Sadly, the government cannot be relied upon to play this important role, as it's already in the mode of campaigning for federalism, rather than informing the public fully and objectively regarding both sides of the debate. Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has been quoted as saying, "The DILG through the Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform … [will] lead the nationwide campaign to inform and educate the public about the merits of federalism." Nothing about demerits or options? The DILG website describes its role as "the focal organization for field level machinery for the awareness, acceptance, conversion and action of qualified voters to support a new constitution and a federal system of government." One hopes that the Commission on Higher Education, which will reportedly mobilize its network of state colleges and universities nationwide, properly sees its job as to inform and consult, rather than to campaign for a foregone conclusion.

    Many issues must indeed be considered for a reasoned judgment on a matter wherein the devil lies in the details. I recently listened to detailed presentations on institutional and fiscal issues on federalism by two scholarly experts (one from the University of the Philippines, and one from the government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies or PIDS). They explained important points, two of which I share below, which merit much wider exposure as Filipinos decide whether or not to support a shift from our current unitary system to a federal one.

    The first point is that federalism does not equate to greater decentralization. There are federalized governments that are less decentralized than unitary ones, and prime examples lie right next to us. Malaysia is described to have a centralized federal system where the constituent states play relatively limited roles in relation to the center. On the other hand, Indonesia has achieved highly decentralized governance under its unitary presidential system. Federal systems range from highly centralized (as in Venezuela) to highly decentralized (United States), just as unitary systems range from highly centralized (Singapore) to highly decentralized (Norway). If stronger decentralization is the goal, federalism need not be the answer.

    The second point concerns the huge incremental cost that a shift to a federal system will entail, just by the sheer number of new legislators, officials and staff it will create. PIDS puts the additional cost in the range of P44-72
    billion, not even counting changes in the judiciary. New legislators alone, let alone their staff, will number anywhere between 821 and 2,380, based on existing federalism proposals.

    Won't we simply be creating a government by politicians, of politicians, and for politicians? I shudder at the thought.

  5. #305
    From the Inquirer's Letters Section ...

    Federal system's consequential costs

    05:01 AM March 06, 2018

    The shift from the current unitary system to a federal form of government may be a turning point for the country: to propel peace and prosperity, or to break up the republic.

    But there is scant public information about the federal system and its consequential costs. A shift to a federal system demands a closer scrutiny and deeper study of the issues of governance, allocation and distribution of limited resources among increasing funding for national security and peace, social services and food, and subsidy to new state governments.

    The sudden overhaul of the political system will inevitably cause disruptions and drastic structural change. It will have deep implications on the current administrative setup, allocation of national income, realignment of power and responsibility between and among national agencies and local agencies, and between executive departments and agencies in the executive branch.

    The advocates of federalism argue that the system will solve the gaping inequality of economic and political opportunity existing under an "Imperial Manila."

    As a consequence, Philippine society earns the dubious distinction of having one, if not the deepest gap in wealth and income in Southeast Asia. Under the present presidential-bicameral set-up of the government, decision-making is said to be heavily concentrated in Manila-based central offices.

    Today's Philippines is even more oligarchy-dominated than at any other time. The gulf between the few who are immensely rich, the labor class struggling to earn a living, and the nearly 10 million Filipinos with absolutely no work and no income is widening rather than closing.

    Let's take a look at the local government units' capacity to finance their own development and support a self-governing state. Some LGUs have capable leaders and sit on rich natural resources and agricultural land. But the difference in capability and resources are quite stark.

    Only a handful of LGUs earn enough from local taxes while the majority is highly dependent on and subsidized by the internal revenue allotment (IRA) they receive from the national government.

    Based on 2015 data from the Bureau of Local Government Finance, 110 out of the country’s 144 cities are 50-percent dependent on the IRA and 25 out of 81 provinces are 90-percent dependent on the IRA.

    In a federal system, devolution of the entire social services, welfare, and maintenance of local peace and order is ordinarily made to state governments.

    Each state government will take care of education, health, social welfare and policing of the residents. State governments will become the first providers of instruction and training, clinics and hospitals, pension and other welfare benefits to their state residents.

    Thus, a changeover to a federal system will inevitably have deep implications on the current administrative setup, allocation of national income, and realignment of power and responsibility between and among national and local agencies. This is why an immediate shift to a federal system may neither be affordable nor sustainable.

    It may not be affordable because many of the existing regions cannot afford to shoulder the costs of maintaining a state government. A state government will have to pay the salaries of state employees, and pay maintenance costs of local roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure. They will have to operate their own schools, hospitals, pensions, police forces, judicial courts and legislatures.

    In 2016, Dr. Milwida Guevara, former finance undersecretary and CEO of Synergeia Foundation, calculated that the total cost of financing a federal setup in the Philippines is roughly P2.4 trillion. This expenditure will be shared by the state and federal government.

    Assuming the current 13 administrative regions will be the 13 federal states, they will pay P1.18 trillion and the federal government, P1.22 trillion. Each state will shoulder P90.79 billion.

    None of the 13 putative states - except three - have the capacity to raise that money. Per Guevara's calculations, only three regions have the adequate taxable capacity - the ability of individuals and businesses to pay their taxes - to be financially viable. These are the National Capital Region with a taxable capacity of P468 billion; Central Luzon with P114.8 billion; and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) with P201.5 billion.

    The shift to federalism would need long and deep discussions about taxation, especially about how current national taxes will be collected and shared. Clearly, there will be tightrope walking to strike a balance, where the national government and the 13 local governments get their fair share of taxes.

    EDGARDO J. ANGARA, former Senate president

  6. #306
    Duterte credits Cory Aquino for his political career

    Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

    Posted at Mar 07 2018 03:04 AM

    MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday acknowledged former President Cory Aquino for jumpstarting his political career.

    Duterte admitted that his mother was among Aquino's original supporters in Davao City.

    "My mother was one of the four original yellow guys now who used to march the thoroughfares of Davao. Apat lang sila. Aapat lang sila. And at that time, nobody was paying attention to them. But she was already shouting," Duterte said.

    "I was appointed OIC vice mayor. That start me in Davao and I owe it to Cory Aquino. I got out from the prosecution, then started my career as an OIC, then ran after the OIC, mayor," he added.

    Duterte added that politicians' practice of moving to the ruling political party has been in existence for several generations.

    "But as is the practice of the Filipino politicians, they gravitate towards the ruling party. So by the next election, kagaya dito, marami na kaming PDP. It’s a practice which for convenience and if you are a politician by the definition of the terms of what a politician is and should be dito sa Pilipinas, ganun talaga. And this has been going on, not only now 'yung PDP, but even during my father’s time," he said.

    Thousands of Liberal Party members have transferred to the ruling PDP-Laban after Duterte took the presidency.

    Last week, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led the mass-oath taking of new PDP-Laban party members, who were criticized for allegedly failing to comply with the application process.

  7. #307
    13 senators back antidynasty bill

    By: Christine O. Avendaño - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:00 AM March 23, 2018

    A Senate bill that would ban political dynasties has moved a step forward after 13 senators signed a joint committee report on the proposed law that would prohibit persons from seeking public office if they are related up to the second degree to an incumbent elected official.

    Thirteen senators have signed the eight-page report by the committee on constitutional amendments and the committee on electoral reforms on Senate Bill No. 1765, the proposed antidynasty law, according to Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

    The bill, which consolidated six other measures, aims to fulfill a constitutional mandate to legislate an end to political dynasties—the monopoly of public office by a few families.

    Those who would be covered by the ban include the legal and common-law spouses of incumbent officials, their full and half-blood siblings, their legitimate, illegitimate and adopted children, their parents and the spouses of all of these relatives.

    In a text message to the Inquirer, Pangilinan, chair of the committee on constitutional amendments, on Thursday said the bill might face a tough challenge in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    Pangilinan said opposition to the measure was coming from “a number of those who come from political dynasties.” He did not elaborate.

    Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, said it would be difficult to ban or regulate political dynasties with more than 60 percent of local officials belonging to influential political families.

    “Theoretically, everyone is antidynasty, but it is difficult to think about it because (dynasty-controlled politicians) comprise local officialdom,” said Marcos, whose mother, Imelda, is a congresswoman.

    Families with name recall and a network of supporters and relatives who are incumbent officials have an advantage over any challenger, she said.

    “It is difficult to erase [them] although we also see many new leaders coming,” she added. “These are the real issues involved… the second degree is difficult if the place is really small. It is difficult to find candidates.”

    A 2016 study by Ateneo School of Government shows that 77.5 percent of Congress members belong to powerful political clans.

    Congress break

    Pangilinan plans to present the committee report to the floor when Congress returns from its break in May, opening the bill for debate and amendments before a final vote.

    Those who signed the report were Pangilinan, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Grace Poe, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Panfilo Lacson, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara and Win Gatchalian.

    Senators Richard Gordon, Francis Escudero, Cynthia Villar and Manny Pacquiao did not sign the report. Sen. Vicente Sotto III, who is an ex officio member of the joint committee as the Senate majority leader, dissented.

    Lacson, Drilon, Ejercito, Poe, Legarda and Aquino each filed an antidynasty bill. The six senators, along with Pangilinan and De Lima, are the authors of the consolidated bill.

    Proposed amendments

    Hontiveros indicated her intention to interpellate and propose amendments. Gatchalian also said he would interpellate, and Recto said he would suggest amendments.

    Ejercito said he had not yet spoken about his support for the bill with his father, former President Joseph Estrada, whose term as Manila mayor would have been over by the time the measure was passed.

    “We have to give a chance to others,” he said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum.

    Resource persons from academia, who were invited to the joint committee hearings, cited compelling reasons to ban political dynasties.

    ‘Killing democracy’

    According to them, political dynasties are “killing democracy,” causing poverty and inequality, and preventing others from serving the public—especially younger and more able leaders.

    People also lose control over abusive officials under the current political setup, they said.

    The bill specifies the persons who would be prohibited from running for public office—from the barangay council all the way up to the national government.

    According to the proposed measure, if the incumbent is a national elective official, his or her spouse and second-degree relatives would not be allowed to run simultaneously for any national or local office—as barangay captain, mayor, governor or district representative - in any part of the country. - WITH REPORTS FROM YOLANDA SOTELO AND INQUIRER RESEARCH

  8. #308
    Bongbong’s parallel campaign

    Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:10 AM April 04, 2018

    The manual recount of votes in the electoral protest former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. filed against Vice President Leni Robredo started on Monday.

    But it is apparent that Marcos is at the same time waging a parallel campaign on media designed to create the perception - even as the votes are being recounted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal - that he was cheated of victory in the vice presidential contest.

    Perception is key, because in fact his allegations do not make sense; they are not potential evidence of electoral fraud, but rather easily dismissed assertions that - even if true - do not prove cheating.

    For instance, he made a big deal about the fact that wet ballots were found in four out of 42 precincts in Bato, Camarines Sur.

    Those who are not aware of the full measure of an automated election may not know that this does not matter.

    In the first place, and as Robredo’s veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal pointed out, ballots get wet all the time: “In almost 80 percent of elections, we always experienced that circumstance. Nabasa ang balota (The ballots got wet). Marami ang madumi na (Many are already dirty). Depends on the areas where these are deposited.”

    Secondly, and more important: If the actual ballots cannot be read, the PET can still read the ballot images, generated by the vote counting machine.

    “If there are discrepancies or if the ballots are missing, the ballot images will be the basis for the counting of the ballots,” Macalintal said in Filipino.

    In other words, Marcos’ cheap shot about wet ballots does not hold water.

    Another example: Marcos made a big deal about the audit logs from 39 precincts, again in Bato, Camarines Sur, going missing.

    What would a candidate gain from conspiring with election officials to hide audit logs, when these logs can be requested from the PET or the Commission on Elections?

    More important, their absence is not proof of anything.

    Macalintal again: “You read Resolution 10057 that was issued by the Comelec on Feb. 11, 2016.” Section 29 requires that only “election returns, election voting, half of the turned ballots, and rejected ballot” should be placed inside the ballot box.

    Macalintal could not resist a dig at Marcos and his election lawyers: “Hindi ho sign ng pandaraya yun. Yun po ay sign na hindi kayo nagbabasa ng mga resolution ng Comelec” (That is not a sign of cheating. That is a sign that you are not reading the resolutions of the Comelec).

    These allegations of Marcos are only the latest; he has questioned the impartiality of the Supreme Court, which sits as the PET.

    He has repeatedly accused Robredo of delaying the manual recount (the revision, in the parlance of the PET). And he has labored to justify the PET decisions that have gone against him.

    When he filed his election protest, his first cause of action was to charge that the certificates of canvass used in the election were not “authentic.”

    This particular charge stumped the justices hearing the case, because if his cause of action were given due course, all the results of the 2016 elections, including the victory of President Rodrigo Duterte which nobody questions, would have to be reviewed.

    He was asked, through his lawyers, if he would withdraw his first cause, to expedite the proceedings; the Marcos camp declined.

    When the PET rejected his first cause of action in September last year, for being “meaningless” and “pointless,” his election lawyer averred that “we have the case exactly where we wanted it to be.” Right.

    After the PET denied a crucial procedure related to his second cause of action, involving the technical examination of election documents from three provinces in Mindanao, the Marcos camp changed tack.

    Marcos challenged Robredo to engage in a simultaneous withdrawal of pending motions, so as to expedite the revision of ballots.

    The Robredo camp answered by signing a joint motion, while the Marcos lawyers prepared only a joint manifestation; unlike a motion which a court must act on, a manifestation is merely a statement which the court may or may not recognize.

    Now that the manual recount has started, the results can be expected in about two months.

    It is crucial to note that Marcos must prove there was cheating in his three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental, for his case to continue.

    In other words, if he does prove that, then the PET can proceed to consider the votes of the remaining 31,047 precincts included in the protest.

    If he fails to prove it - and no revision since the 2010 elections has ever resulted in substantial discrepancy - then it’s the end of the road for him and his expensive, meandering protest.

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