Senior columnist: 'AFP should take over Comelec to have clean, honest, and peaceful elections' - The Daily Sentry

Friday, November 9, 2018

Senior columnist: 'AFP should take over Comelec to have clean, honest, and peaceful elections'

Manila Standard columnist Rod Kapunan / photo from Google (ctto)

Manila, Philippines – Veteran Manila Standard journalist Rod Kapunan agrees to take a second look at the suggestion of former Senator Francisco “Kit’ Tatad for the government to examine the possibility of taking over the functions of the Commission on Elections.

The idea he said, “is not ludicrous as some narcissistic hypocritical criers for democracy might think, but to bring about rejuvenation to the mangiest electoral system we ever had.”

Clean, honest and peaceful elections

Kapunan stressed that only the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can ensure clean, honest and peaceful elections.

“I do not want to sound syllogistic but I want to remind all that the primary function of the Comelec is to conduct, supervise and hold a clean, honest, fair and peaceful election. The converging point to actualize this noble process is to guarantee that it would be peaceful. Only the Armed Forces can do it. Without that guarantee, our election would be nothing more but beatitude. No amount of self-righteous exhortation will assure that our electoral exercise will work.” The columnist said

Kapunan emphasized that the role of the military is not to conduct and hold elections but to ensure it will “ be peaceful, clean, fair and honest to prevent our society from slipping into the precipice of violence.”

“The promise of speeding up the counting to justify the hiring of Smartmatic by the money-making yellow government ended up as one of nirvana. Unfortunately, not one of those promises was fulfilled. On the contrary, the wholesale electoral fraud saw in us electing winners, which many say, are the products of electronic hocus-pocus.” He added

The columnist also said that AFP handling Comelec is not to militarize the electoral system or lead up to establishing a dictatorship.*

“If we look ourselves as patients inside the ICU, the military is just acting as doctors racing to keep us alive. They are not concerned about the result, but the manner how we conduct our election to avoid the circumstance of our society sliding towards a bloody upheaval. Many suspect both the Comelec and Smartmatic connived to manacle our people into technical slavery with those foreign operators of the electoral cheating machines free to choose candidates they like to win. We cannot for long allow this farce election to continue by depriving us of our sovereign right to elect who will govern us. Electoral fraud is our best recipe for a bloody upheaval.” Kapunan added

Still Constitutional 

Kapunan elaborated that the proposal is still Constitutional, quoting Article IX, C, and Section 2 (4); “Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible election.”

“Are we going to allow ourselves to be engulfed in violence to validly invoke the Constitution? Surely, this is not what the Constitution meant for us to attain a workable democracy. Second, if the Comelec is the one that violated the Constitution, then who is that one being suggested to in Article IX, C, Section 2 (8) of the Constitution as having the power to “recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order or decision?”” he explained*

Contracting electoral system, not in Constitution

Kapunan also lashed out at Congress and Comelec, saying it was not in the Constitution that mandates both to “contract out the exercise of out electoral system.”

“Moreover, there is no provision in the Constitution which gives the Comelec the power to amend or revise any of its provision or for Congress to legislate or enact a law pertaining to the qualifications of candidates.” He said, adding that he was referring to the process of declaring a certain candidate as a “nuisance candidate.”

“Is it because the computerized counting machines dictate that they limit the number of candidates to avoid possible glitch in the VCM? Such reasoning to declare some as nuisance candidates gives the Comelec a plausible alibi but   not a valid excuse for Smartmatic to swindle the electorates of the candidates they voted.” Kapunan taunted

He also noted that the same could be said about out Party-list system, which he said, “many are accredited but do not represent the marginalized. “

“Rather they represent certain vested interest class even religious organizations often used as electoral safety latch by some ambitious but notorious politicians to put cosmetics to hide the truth about their character as gangsters.” The columnist added