Category Archives: may 2007 elections

128 and counting

Just blogged about news feeds, this has got to be one of the saddest news feeds I’ve ever gotten:

2 teachers killed in torching of Batangas school

We all know that a teacher serving as an election officer has a very difficult and thankless job, and yet we ask our teachers to do it every election, and every election these heroes muster up the needed energy and dedication. Must we ask them to give up their lives as well?

“Two teachers were killed and at least five other people injured when fire engulfed a school building in Taysan town early Tuesday after unidentified armed men poured gasoline inside ballot boxes and set these ablaze, police said.”

We’re talking of one precint here that was attacked. There were six ballot boxes in the precint, two of which were destroyed by the fire. One precint. Six ballot boxes. That’s equivalent to what, a couple of thousand votes? Here we are hearing reports of how election-cheating has become very sophisticated, and we hear something like this where two people died for a couple of ballot boxes.

“[The police] declined to comment on whether they considered the incident election-related…”

“..it appeared unlikely politics was the motive for the arson”

I cannot for the life of me figure out where the hell does he get off saying that when it was the ballot that was literally attacked.

An earlier news feed said: Poll death toll hits 126 in 215 incidents – PNP

Make that 128.

Ang mamatay nang dahil sa iyo?

be the change

Okay, who wants to spend hours working under potentially chaotic conditions, poring over smudged columns of numbers, doing shifts at odd hours, and all without pay?

Apparently, I do.

7 PM last night saw me and Don trooping to Ateneo de Manila in answer to an open call for volunteers for the Namfrel Operation Quick Count for this coming election. The full page ad said: “We are looking for 1 million people who will fight for this country.” And, seriously, sappy as it may sound, that’s the exact sort of stuff that I find hard to resist. I’m actually an anti-social person by personality, but I’m a sucker for patriotism.

The Namfrel quick count is just one of the suite of activities one can volunteer for, but one can also do stuff related to voters education, campaign monitoring, canvass watching, or poll watching, among other things. I’ve been thinking of doing some election-related volunteer work this May and was just looking for the opportunity, and this one seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.

Looking at the group that filled Escaler Hall to overflowing that night, I suddenly felt so old. Right. The fact that the group maintains a Multiply site should have given me a clue on its major demographic. Majority appeared to be students, save for a few nuns and some middle-aged people sitting at the back row. I was thankful that I didn’t have a client meeting that day and was able to wear jeans to the office, or I would have looked quite odd sitting on the floor listening to the presentations. Sitting on the floor was no problem, of course, it’s a skill honed by years of hanging out at AS Hall corridors, Main Library nooks, and the various available flat surfaces at Mass Comm.

The turn out was apparently a pleasant surprise to the organizers, who ran out of sign up sheets and had to adjust the process of signing up to accommodate everybody as fast as possible. Still, the Quezon City Namfrel chapter needs 2,736 volunteers to serve 4-hour shifts during the nonstop tabulation of results starting on May 14 and ending on May 20. We signed up for the first shift, 8 PM on May 14. After that, well, let’s see how it goes.

One of the speakers said that contrary to popular notion, the problem afflicting the citizenry is not so much apathy but rather a sense of disempowerment. It’s not that they don’t care what’s happening to this country, they do, it’s just that they don’t think that there’s anything they can that will make any difference. Well, I care about what’s happening to this country, and I’m not willing to just take it sitting down, and nothing will change if nobody’s even willing to make any effort.

As the old quote and Namfrel slogan goes, “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” I know I’m lighting quite a tiny candle with this endeavor, but the point is, I AM lighting that candle.

Interested would-be volunteers can check out the Volunteers for Clean Elections site at http://vforce.multiply.com/ for the latest updates and volunteer opportunities.

and then there were 37

It’s official: 37 candidates vying for 12 senatorial slots this coming May 14.

Genuine Opposition

  1. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
  2. Alan Peter Cayetano
  3. Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng
  4. Francis “Chiz” Escudero
  5. Panfilo Lason
  6. Loren Legarda
  7. John Henry Osmeña
  8. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
  9. Sonia Roco
  10. Antonio Trillanes IV
  11. Manuel Villar

Team Unity

  1. Edgardo Angara
  2. Joker Arroyo
  3. Michael Defensor
  4. Jamalul Kiram
  5. Vicente Magsaysay
  6. Cesar Montano
  7. Teresa Aquino-Oreta
  8. Prospero Pichay Jr.
  9. Ralph Recto
  10. Luis “Chavit” Singson
  11. Vicente Sotto III
  12. Juan Miguel Zubiri

Other Candidates:

  1. Martin Bautista
  2. Felix Cantal
  3. Melchor Chavez
  4. Ruben Enciso
  5. Antonio Anthony Estrella
  6. Richard Gomez
  7. Gregorio Honasan
  8. Oliver Lozano
  9. Eduardo Orpilla
  10. Francis Pangilinan
  11. Zosimo Jesus Paredes II
  12. Adrian Sison
  13. Victor Wood
  14. Joselito “Peter” Cayetano

Everyone, do your research now. Make sure that the names you put in that ballot really deserve to be there. Our cynicism and general feeling of despair might allow us to think otherwise, but our votes do matter, if only for the simple reason that we won’t allow them to NOT matter.

Some links to start you off, though I’m sure there are some more out there:

http://www.inquirer.net/specialfeatures/eleksyon2007/

http://philippineelections2007.wordpress.com/

http://www.bagongbotante.com/index.html

It’s going to be tough choosing my bets, and I’m not even guaranteeing right now that I can fill up the twelve slots, but as I’ve said before, it won’t be for lack of trying.