UPDATE: Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos refused on Friday to declare a failure of election in Maguindanao, and said he will go there himself on Monday or Tuesday to try and sort out the mess.
AS WE all wait to see what the Commission on Elections decides to do with the fraud-riddled votes from Maguindadano (apparently it cannot legally declare a failure of elections there since many people did actually vote), I would like to pay homage to Musa Dimasidsing, a school district supervisor in Pagalungan, Maguindanao, who witnessed massive cheating with his own eyes and then went public with his complaints that he had filed with the Comelec.
Unfortunately for all of us, Musa was brutally shot dead last Saturday outside an Islamic school, with shots in the head and chest. He was killed because he refused to allow the political operators in the area to get away with rigging the vote and snatching ballot boxes.
The unfortunate fact is that the Comelec itself has been party to this cheating by deliberately hiding certificates of canvass and not guarding them properly. This is what Comelec’s Provisional Supervisor for Maguindanao Lintang Bedol did following the May 14 election. Now Bedol is claiming that the CoCs in his possession have disappeared and he cannot say what happened to them! What utter nonsense. He should be jailed until he tells the police what really happened to the missing CoCs and who ordered him to lose them.
Some observers will say that Bedol is just anomaly, the exception to the rule. But I say no, he is a prime example of just how dishonored and besmirched the whole reputation of Comelec has become ever since the Hello Garci tapes scandal in the 2004 elections.
Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos is leading a thoroughly corrupted and stained organization. It is clear that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo kept him and other commissioners in place following the 2004 polls because they were able to deliver the votes that kept her in power.
I think the Supreme Court should step in and rule that the votes from Maguindanao for the senatorial candidates, which seemed to have been the most corrupted, should be set aside and not counted towards the final results. The votes for local candidates, especially where candidates were running unopposed, should be counted and declared final.
But the whole culture of vote buying and snopaking election returns needs to be desperately changed and fast. All of the current Comelec commissioners should be changed and the whole electoral process should be computerized. An independent commission should be in charge of appointing election commissioners, who should only be allowed to serve for a maximum of five years, with no reappointments allowed until another five years have lapsed. That way there will be less chances of cheating, something the Philippine electorate needs if the whole electoral process is not to be thoroughly discredited.
- I wrote this as part of an online group writing project initiated by Tingog.com. Click here to read what other bloggers wrote about Musa Dimasidsing.