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Windmill of Stupidity

Windmill of Stupidity
Ronald Roy — 2013 May 8

The members of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) led by Chair Betina Legarda were well within their rights to ask their pro bono lawyer, Prof. Harry Roque, to file a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Commission against the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for depriving them of their right to suffrage.
They did a “last ditch effort to remedy a hopeless situation regarding the country’s electoral system” — their patience having worn thin over the COMELEC’s failure to produce the source code needed for the proper counting and canvassing of votes in the just concluded May 13 elections.
The same group subsequently instituted another legal action: an anti-graft suit against the COMELEC that had operated under the watch of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It had wrongfully awarded to Smartmatic International Corp. the right to conduct the elections with the latter’s controversial PCOS automated machines.
Prof. Roque enjoys CCM’s fullest support as its pro bono legal counsel in its need for legal directions in the quest for meaningful reforms in the area of human rights in particular, and good governance in general.
As a core member of CCM, I have strong reasons for smarting from COMELEC Chairman Sixto Brillantes’ unbecoming denigration of CCM members as publicity hounds. He must be told that “para siyang bangaw na nakatungtong sa kalabaw” — thanks, Jovy (Santos) for your suggestion — although it is almost certain that, like an old dog that can’t learn new tricks, Brillantes will not learn some humility as he arrogantly perches atop a high post.
CCM was originally named Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) which was founded in 2005 by the “Tres Marias”, namely, the late Trade and Industry Undersecretary Josefina Trinidad Lichauco, Betina Kahn Legarda, and Marily Orosa. Dedicated to the pursuit of good governance, CCG gradually swelled to 1,170 registered members that came from all walks of life: farmers, school teachers, NGO personalities, columnists, professionals, leftists — you name it — who regularly assembled at the Manila Polo Club and other public fora to denounce the malevolent administration of Gloria Arroyo.
CCG was converted into a movement sometime in 2006, and when Josie, its indefatigable Chair, passed away on February 14, 2010, Betina took over with as much passion for change. The core members (roughly around 24) meet at her residence usually at her call to address disturbing current events and to concretize specific action plans.
CCM members are collectively and individually nonpartisan. They don’t care who the president and other leaders are. They critique government officials for doing bad, and don’t necessarily applaud them for doing well. And the good thing is: none in the core group is known to be using the organization as a stepping stone for starting a political life as an elective or appointive official.
We, the core members of CCM, are unlike another known movement that is as colorless as black and white, whose motley members have long been identified with the Cory-Ninoy-Noynoy bloc, and some of whom have been rewarded with juicy posts in Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s government.
So there, Mr. Brillantes, that’s the CCM for you — an association you’ve branded as a bunch of publicity seekers. Through our lawyer, Prof. Harry Roque, we have made known our feelings of undue privation of our right to freely express ourselves in the political enterprise of suffrage. Parenthetically, the officials of the COMELEC during GMA’s administration will of course have their hands full in dealing with the graft charges we likewise filed against them.
We note with some sadness that the COMELEC has in recent years failed to satisfactorily “enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda and recalls.”
You may, Mr. Brillantes, call us quixotic fools, but we won’t mind that, really. Aren’t dreams the usual fountainhead of change, whatever the cost in fighting the windmill of brainless governance?
Sir, you made a brainless remark that “the glitches reported in the final testing of the PCOS machines were minimal xxx and that overall (you were) satisfied with their performance.” In another vein, you actually meant that the glitches were acceptable, or puwede na. Is that it, Mr. Chairman, even if these “minimal” glitches might spell misfortune for some deserving candidates, such as those senate bets statistically tied from 8th to 16th places?!
Maracas de Caracas, if you, Mr. Brillantes, perchance drive a vehicle which features in a crash killing one of your passengers, you will probably say: “Puwede na yan. Isa lang naman ang namatay.” Minimal, eh?! It never occurred to you that one vote can wreak havoc on the political life of a loser?!
Truth is, the windmill went beyond the COMELEC’s mindlessness. It was crazy, stupid, and nothing made sense as candidates made a ridiculously wild rush for the blessings of heads of some religious sects and denominations including born-against televangelists, that are known to issue orders to their followers to vote for specific candidates, and in the case of at least one of these organizations, to punish them with expulsion if they do not follow the orders.
Verily, the candidates who sought those so-called command votes were guilty of abetting some religious organizations’ sinful practice of using God during elections. Holy macaroni, only heaven knows how hideously this practice has ballooned to become a very lucrative tax-free business!
Additionally, some candidates resort to electoral violence, not to mention the payment of mind-blowing fees for radio, television and print endorsements. It does boggle the mind that they would spend more than what they would lawfully receive as the elective officials they aspire to be.
And to think that these are the people who, once elected, pontificate that “a public office is a public trust” !
Me? My very modest contribution to slay this windmill of stupidity was a ballot that included four idealistic dreamers who were seen as losing or lost candidates. I thank them all because they made me feel good voting the patriotic way.
ADDENDUM: Brillantes’ money ban? Fascistic. Asinine. Stupid. “Unreasonable”, and therefore not a valid exercise of the police power of the state.

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