Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why President-Elect?

Today marks a momentous occasion in which Noynoy Aquino and Jejomar Binay were proclaimed by the joint congress as President-elect and Vice-President-elect, respectively.

The term President-elect has been thrown around lately, although as to why the term is being used may be unclear to Juan dela Cruz.

Why can't we call Aquino Mr. President yet? Because the Presidency will be turned over only June 30, when he will be inaugurated as the President.

Until then, our president is still you-know-who.

Before today (when Congress was still canvassing the votes), Aquino was not even President-elect yet. We only assumed that he's going to be the next President because partial and unofficial counts showed he was ahead by a wide margin.

In the eyes of the Constitution, he was still a mere candidate.

But after the proclamation by Congress earlier, we can now officially refer to him as the President-elect.

It has important consequences, especially when it comes to vacancy.

Section 7, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution reads:
The President-elect and the Vice President-elect shall assume office at the beginning of their terms.

If the President-elect fails to qualify, the Vice President-elect shall act as President until the President-elect shall have qualified.

If a President shall not have been chosen, the Vice President-elect shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified.

If at the beginning of the term of the President, the President-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the Vice President-elect shall become President.

Where no President and Vice-President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the President of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as President until a President or a Vice-President shall have been chosen and qualified.

The first paragraph pertains to the start of their term, "which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter." (Sec 4, Art VII)

The second paragraph will not come into operation, presumably because both Aquino and Binay are qualified.

(Note: It's not really hard to be a qualified candidate, you just need to be a natural-born citizen, registered voter, be able to read and write, be at least 40 years old on election day, and be a resident for at least 10 years prior to elections. [Sec 2, Art VII])

Third paragraph will not come into play, since there is no question that the voters had chosen their President-elect.

The fourth and fifth paragraphs are crucial: if something untoward happens to Aquino and/or Binay (knock on wood), these will come into play.

Hopefully, nothing bad happens to both Aquino and Binay between now and June 30. The Constitution's Section 7, Article VII works best if it's not used at all, and relegated to sexennial trivia.

Photo: Jeffrey Avellanosa, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

Monday, June 7, 2010


One news bit has caught my attention today, headlined Lack of quorum delays canvassing for president, VP.

Just a few days ago, the lower house was in the news because they failed to reach a quorum upon the reading of the Freedom of Information Bill.

It's just funny that our congressmen do not bother to attend congressional sessions. Attending these sessions are the most important of their job; if they do not attend these sessions, how in the world will they know about the bills that are being passed? In fact, how will they pass a bill when the required minimum number of congressmen are not present?

It is normal practice to cajole (bribe?) our solons in order to pass important bills. Which means that our congressmen are like 5-year-old kids - they need to have an incentive in order to do something they are supposed to do in the first place.

However, I'm doing a great disservice to the 5-year-olds. They need less coaxing, if at all.

If these congressmen were working in normal jobs, they would have received a major tongue-lashing from their boss. Or worse, they wouldn't have received their pay. Or worst, they would have been fired long ago for not doing their jobs.

But no, these congressmen are special. And we're stuck with them.

Photo: Robert S. Donovan, Flickr, Creative Commons

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Voter's Guide for the 2010 Philippine Elections

I have prepared a simple primer for all of you voting on May 10. We only have 6 days to go, so by now you should know what to do. If not, here is a quick guide.


Voter eligibility
The first question is: are you eligible to vote? If you have just registered last year, you obviously are.

If you have already previously voted, you are eligible UNLESS you have not voted in the last two consecutive elections. This means that if you have not voted during the May 2007 national elections AND the October 2007 Barangay elections, you cannot vote on May 10. You're probably in the deactivated list. Stop wasting the other voters' time and yours. Stay at home and watch the elections unfold on TV.

If you voted on either May 2007 or October 2007 elections, but not on both, you can still vote.

Precinct Number
Know your precinct beforehand so you don't have to shove your way to the voter's list posted outside the precincts (they're not official anyway).

Find out your precinct number now by clicking here. With your precinct number at hand, you can go to your designated precinct directly on election day.

Note: If your name is not on the list that is posted outside the precinct (aka PCVL or posted computerized voter's list), don't panic. The EDCVL (or election day computerized voter's list - the official list. The Board of Election Inspectors (aka BEI aka teachers) of your precinct has a copy. That is why you can just go straight to your designated precinct. If your name is still not on the EDCVL, you have probably been deactivated.

Sample Ballot
You already know who to vote for, right?

For those who are already decided (good for you!), prepare your cheat sheet. You can get a copy of the sample ballot here (national posts only).


Things to Bring:
  • COMELEC ID / Official ID / Student's ID
  • Sample Ballot/ Cheat Sheet
  • Hanky / Tissue Paper / Hand Sanitizer (to keep your hands dry and clean)

Vote Early
Voting is from 6 AM to 6 PM, but I advise everyone to vote early.

All of us are unfamiliar with the automated system, even the BEI members. There are many unknowns on May 10, so it is better to be there early.

While the rules state that you can still vote if at 6PM you are within 30 meters from the precinct, it's better not to risk it.

There is also the slim chance that the precinct runs out of ballots. Take note, a particular ballot can be read by only one PCOS machine and no other.

So if you go to the precinct late, you might not be able to cast your vote.

Accomplishing the Ballot
Read the COMELEC guide, Pinoy Voter's Academy guide (HT: BenTambling) and the Inquirer guide. They do a much better job at explaining the process than I ever will.

I'm just going to add some things:
  • When filling out the ballot, be quick, but don't hurry. This is when your sample ballot comes in handy. Be careful when shading, though. Avoid smudges.
  • Handle the ballot with care. Keep your hands clean. Don't crease the ballot. If your ballot is dirty, the PCOS machine might not read it. After feeding it four times, your ballot will be nullified. You cannot fill out another ballot - there is no second try.
  • It's ok to under vote, but never over vote.
  • Feed the ballot into the PCOS machine yourself. Do not let a BEI member do it. This is part of making your vote count.
  • When feeding the ballot to the machine, make sure the ballot is sandwiched between the secrecy folder, with the ballot's top part jutting out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Planting Seeds of Doubt

Back in January, perhaps the biggest boxing match of the decade was all but set. There were no problems with the venue, the catch weight, the date and the purse split. The Floyd Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao match was all but signed.

But then, the negotiations were brought to a standstill, because the Mayweather camp insisted on random blood testing. They pushed for the drug testing because they thought Pacquiao couldn't have demolished his past opponents so easily without the help of performance-enhancing drugs.

The Pacquiao camp cried foul. They were adamant that Pacquiao should not be subjected to drug testing outside the Nevada state-sanctioned requirements. There was no reason for Pacquiao to undergo additional testing, he was never caught of using illegal substance from all his previous fights.

But it didn't matter by then. The seeds of doubt have already been planted. While many supporters backed Pacquiao's stance, there was arguably an equal number of doubters who said that if Pacquiao wasn't hiding something, then he should not be afraid of undergoing blood testing. Whatever the case, the Filipino's reputation has been tarnished. There will always be an asterisk after his name, all because of the accusation.

An eerie parallel has cropped up in the local political scene. A document has popped up alleging that Noynoy Aquino is insane (or mentally imbalanced, or whatever the term PC people call such a condition nowadays).

The Aquino camp cried foul. The document is a fake, they said (the blogger who first released the document had since deleted his blog). There is no reason to suppose that the presidential candidate is suffering from some mental infirmity.

But then, the seeds of doubt have already been planted. Tina Monzon-Palma of ABS-CBN (the news org that first leaked the news) suggested that if Aquino isn't hiding something, then he should undergo psychiatric tests. This call was echoed by his main rival in the surveys.

Aquino is now in a quandary. Should he or should he not take the psychiatric tests? If he is truly sane, then there is no reason not to take the test. But should he succumb to pressure and take the test anyway? All because of a baseless accusation?

There are baseless accusations and accusations founded on a nugget of truth. There is a world of difference between an accusation out of thin air and an accusation corroborated by evidence (or at the very least, conjectures). The accusation on Aquino falls in the first category.

I don't see any reason why people would think he has a psychological problem. After all, we see Aquino everyday on the news, with nary a shred of insanity. He may be eccentric, yes. But all people have some certain quirks and eccentricities.

I think Aquino can be aloof sometimes, which is somewhat of an abnormality among ever-smiling politicians. However, that reason alone will not suffice to doubt his lucidity. I actually find it refreshing to see politicians without the fake smile plastered on their face.

And one thing I am sure of: at least he is not suffering from megalomania, unlike many political aspirants out there.

Photo: David Midgly, Flickr, Creative Commons

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hierarchy of Values

Question: What is more immoral: greed (e.g. theft), intemperance (e.g. premarital sex), or hypocrisy (umm...)?

Photo: Andreanna Moya, Flickr, Creative Commons

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jason Ivler in hot water; what about his mother?

After two months of hiding, fugitive Jason Ivler has finally been apprehended by NBI operatives.

Ivler is suspected to be involved in two separate incidents on the road, one leading to reckless imprudence resulting to homicide (2004) and the other leading to murder (2009).

With the arrest of Ivler, authorities score some brownie points, showing that not everyone can get away from the (long?) arm of the law.

Ivler was not as cooperative though. He seemed to have tapped into his inner Scarface, firing upon the arresting officers, injuring two in the process.

Jason Ivler Ivler is dead meat for sure. What about his mother Marlene Pollard, who said that her son was in Hawaii when weeks later her son was found in her very own home?

P.D. 1829 deals with crimes relating to obstruction of justice, the pertinent provisions of which are:
Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts: xxx

(c) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest prosecution and conviction; xxx

(i) giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or to the court. Ms Pollard can take refuge in the fact that there is a seeming inconsistency between par (c) and Art. 20 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The RPC exempts from criminal liability any person who harbors or conceals a descendant who is a principal of a crime.

Since P.D 1829 did not expressly repeal the RPC provision, Ms Pollard can argue that RPC will apply in this case (since it is favorable to her, the accused).

She will have a harder time as to par (i) of P.D. 1829. What is undeniable is that she gave a statement in December that her son was in Hawaii. That may or may not be true at the time she said it. But if it's not, I cannot see how she can escape an unfavorable verdict.

Photo: State Library of New South Wales collection, Flickr, The Commons

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lacson and the Immunity from Arrest

JP Lopez of Malaya Insights reports that senate president Juan Ponce Enrile will give protection to senator Panfilo Lacson in case he gets arrested.

The Constitution provides that a senator is privileged from arrest for offenses punishable for not more than six years imprisonment.

Lacson, who is being linked to the Dacer-Corbito murder case, can face around 17-40 years of jail time.

This means that if the charges push through, Lacson will NOT be immune from arrest. The question of whether the senate is in session or not is irrelevant (The question of bail is another matter).

I am not implying that Lacson is culpable. That is not the point. But I'm just wondering, why would senator Enrile go out of his way to help his colleague, while allowing another (Antonio Trillanes IV) to languish in jail? You know the saying, what's sauce for the goose and all that?

Just asking.

Photo: Tim Pierce, Los Gatos, Flickr, Creative Commons

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where's My 2010 Calendar?

To tell you honestly, 2009 had left me drained. So I'm really glad it's already 2010. Time to change the calendar.

However, no one gave us new calendars, as in the past. You know those calendars from so-and-so hardware, or even the calendars with pictures of religious icons? None. Nada. Zip.

Anyway, it's easy enough to print those calendars, with so many out there in the web. A friend pointed out to me a calendar by Ramon Bautista. Remember the titillating (some say tacky) cigarette and liquor calendars? Well take a look for yourself, click here for a peek. 3 parts funny, 1 part commentary. 100% genius.
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