DEPUTIES IN DISGUISE?
The Comelec should not deputize the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), which many people have accused of meddling in past elections to favor those candidates preferred by its leaders. The NAMFREL was a brainchild of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 50s, when it helped ensure the election of then Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay as President.
The CIA played dirty tricks on the late Senator Claro M. Recto, a third party candidate in the 1953 elections, whom it suspected of being sympathetic to the leftists. Colonel Edward Lansdale, who worked with Filipinos in and out of government who were identified with the right, was instrumental in the creation of the NAMFREL. Lansdale later worked in Vietnam, using many of the tactics that worked in the Philippines.
I do agree with the observations of many that the Comelec should go slow in deputizing certain private groups, especially those identified with the church. You know who these groups are. Yes, NAMFREL and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Groups like these have been notorious for meddling in past elections and for promoting their candidates, most of whom are also said to be favored by the church. Most officials of such organizations are known meddlesome church lay persons who had come out in favor of certain church-backed candidates. How can these groups now be deputized by the Comelec when they have known favorites which will preclude them from being neutral in the elections? And how can we ever forget the time when NAMFREL suddenly stopped counting election results right after the returns from the Ilocos regions started coming in.
One banking official, a member of one of these groups, was a rabid partisan of then presidential bet Corazon Aquino who was later appointed to a top position in the Comelec. He did not even hesitate to wield his powers while in the poll body, highly influenced as he was by his political biases and strong opinions. In addition, certain private poll organizations are the recipients of financial support from certain foreign governments. These groups should likewise be barred from being deputized as Comelec arms.
Do you still remember the time when NAMFREL came under attack from the University of the Philippines (UP), which came out with a research report by a team of UP professors? The UP College of Public Administration revealed massive fraud in the 1987 elections which they called "The Anatomy of Stealing in the Elections." Its four authors - Professors Luzviminda Tancangco, Romeo Ocampo, Bella Lucas and Lourdes Abanding are way above reproach and the institution they represent is equally unassailable as a seat of academic freedom and truth.
Aquino officials were livid with rage over the report, but could not destroy the reputation of these individuals. These professors were grilled by the Senate, but their very tormentors included senators who, should not even be in that revered chamber.
Tancangco was one of the most respected professors at the UP. She had rock solid knowledge of the operations of the NAMFREL with which she was connected since 1984.
Well, the report merely confirms the public perception that there was massive cheating in the 1987 polls and that many senators and congressmen held office then only because the NAMFREL manipulated the election returns. Time was when there were at least eight persons in the senate whose very presence insults the memory of the honorable men who once graced its sacred halls. The jest in political circles is that some of these senators could not even be elected barangay captains in honest elections in their respective communities.
That report should have finally led to the permanent interment of the NAMFREL, which should be remembered only as a tragic aberration in the country's political history.
(Image from http://www.bulatlat.com/)