Wednesday, February 17, 2010


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.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


In a few days from now, the nation will once again mark the anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution. I foresee this as a perfect time where opportunists behind Noynoy Aquino and his pack of has-been Corystas will surely take advantage and rally again the people to "remember the spirit of EDSA" and "remember Cory, vote for Noynoy." The only spirit I can think of right now is one that has fooled the population over the years. In addition, many of the loyal Corystas have now turned into Sorry-stas. Many who used to address her as Auntie Cory had already shifted to Anti-Cory, and are now openly campaigning against an Aquino II presidency.

Of course, the EDSA anniversary will be marked in different ways as always. The rabid yellow crowd of former President Corazon Aquino who have now mutated and evolved into the Noynoyistas will recall events which they said drove away a dictator and restored democracy in the country. The Marcos loyalists will say it was a historical fluke which led to a regime worse than the one ousted by the EDSA marchers.

Well, two of the principal players who sparked that revolution scoff at the heady claims made by die-hard Corystas over the upheaval. They are of course Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, head of the daring RAM which provided the military the most effective component of that movement.

The RAMboys and Enrile could well remind the nation too that Corazon Aquino was not even at EDSA and is therefore not entitled to exaltation rendered her by those who subsequently joined the Enrile-Honasan breakaway group, which was later joined by then General Fidel Valdez Ramos.

In past EDSA celebrations, Enrile would often say that there was really nothing to celebrate about because EDSA only brought another administration which can be remembered for its incompetence and corruption as well. Yes, the Aquino administration was corrupt too. So, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. I'm so glad that Sin is no longer around.

Rabid Aquino supporters retort that Enrile is sour-graping because he failed to succeed Marcos after the EDSA upheaval. And I remember that in gatherings where EDSA is discussed, Enrile invariably becomes the butt of jokes. He is often referred to as a basketball player dribbling the ball with only two minutes left in the game, and his team is leading by some 50 points, when he suddenly passes the ball to Mrs. Aquino who promptly runs home with it.

In those gatherings, debates range as to who are the real heroes of EDSA. Many say it is JPE, FVR and the RAM. Others say it is the yellow crowd of Mrs. Aquino who rushed to EDSA to protect Enrile and Co. Some say it is Cardinal Sin who called out the faithful to save JPE and his group from the Marcos military, while others say it is most of the Marcos generals who refused to fire on the people.

Not quite. Not any of these people, say FM die-hards. They say the real hero is actually Ferdinand Marcos himself who stoutly refused to give the order to fire on the hundreds of thousands at EDSA because he did not want "to spill any Filipino blood" at that time of crisis. As seen on TV footages being re-run every EDSA anniversary, Marcos stopped then AFP Chief of Staff Fabian Ver from insisting that he give the orders to the military to start firing on the people.

Ver's officers had said a few cannon bursts and a few hundred deaths would quickly disperse that crowd. But Marcos stood his ground against the carnage of the people.
In this photo as I recall, being part of this group once, (L-R): Manny Oineza, Joe Bajesta, (unidentified), JPE, (unidentified but familiar looking and can't remember his name), Greg Honasan.