Tag Archives: comelec

Fly me to the moon

 THE DURIAN BEAT

By ROGER M. BALANZA

            A friend who navigates around the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila phoned me last week to relay the latest developments in the poll body.

            The first was about the retirement of chair Jose Melo, who is said to be saying goodbye in January, ahead of his mandated tenure which should end in 2015.

            The second was about lawyer Howard Calleja—he is the legal counsel of the Church-backed Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), who figured in the May elections here when he said that, on top of flying voters, about 40,000 zombies, allegedly supporters of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, are listed in the Comelec voters list and would come out of their graves on election day to vote for the Dutertes.

            Linked by Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod—the Duterte local political bloc—to former Speaker Prospero Nograles, who ran in the mayoral race against Inday Sara, Calleja can no longer enter heaven, for lying. Televangelist Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a friend of the Dutertes, would make sure of that: the pastor was among those that Calleja named as a flying voter, his named allegedly embedded several times in the Comelec list. We are sure that when Calleja dies, the “Son of God” would block the lawyer from entering heaven and tell the Father about what a bad boy Calleja had been when he was on earth.

            Well, my friend tells me that Calleja—Inday Sara had described him as a worm or virus that had infected the PPRCV, the Church-backed poll watchdog, with a dogtag inscribed with the name of Nograles dangling in his collar—reportedly is being pushed by PPCRV and the Catholic Church to be the next Comelec chair.

            Although my friend said that Calleja has a chance as slim as slim in making it to the top post in the poll body, the Dutertes should keep tight watch over developments at the Comelec when Melo retires.

            Pastor Quiboloy may have damned Calleja to heaven and hell for his mortal sins during the May campaign period for siding with Nograles and making tall tales about zombies voting for the Dutertes, the lawyer could always go to the devil to make his dream come true. Calleja, according to a friend of a friend close to Inday Sara’s hubby lawyer Mans Carpio, reportedly did the hatchet job to destroy the Dutertes in the last elections to court Nograles’ backing for his bid to make it to the Comelec or the judiciary—if the ex-Speaker win the mayorship.

            The Dutertes should watch Calleja. After all, Nograles has a pending case with Comelec questioning the results of the May elections. The protest has not been moving—the Comelec has a big headache with the number of protests it has to act on—but with Calleja at the top of the poll body, and given his links to Nograles, things could happen.

            Which should bring us to the third news that our friend shared with us.

            The Comelec, according to him, is about a resolution that would aim to declog the poll body of hundreds of pending election protests.

            If he is to be believed, the Comelec resolution would consider only protests seeking recounts in elections where the protestant lost by say below 10,000 or 20,000 votes.

            If the protestant lost by over 20,000, the resolution automatically sends the protest to the garbage dump. In cases where statistical improbability says results could not be overturned, the protest goes to the moon.

            In the May elections, Inday Sara clobbered Nograles with more than 220,000 votes taking about 70 percent of total votes cast. Rody Duterte made his challenger Nograles’ running mate Ben de Guzman eat dust with more than 300,000 vote margin.

            Nograles is protesting the count and wants the ballot boxes sent to Manila alleging fraud in the first automated polling in the country. He has adopted Calleja’s insane story about the 40,000 zombie voters who crawled out of their graves to vote for Inday Sara and Rody.

            In the last elections, Inday Sara and Rody made history like Nograles. The Dutertes won by landslides with the biggest vote margins in the city’s political history. Nograles crowned himself with a double whammy: he now holds the record as the only politician who lost thrice in the mayoral race and the only politician defeated with the largest vote margin.

            If there is really such a Comelec resolution that would automatically dump protests where protestants lose by more than 20,000 votes, what will happen to the protest of Nograles—and de Guzman—who lost by more than 200,000? I asked my friend.

            The Comelec will hire a space shuttle to dump the protests in the moon, he said.

            I was elated of course if that happens, electoral protests being a pain in the neck, especially of the protestant took a measly 20 percent of votes, cannot accept his fate and still believe he won the race.

            But I wanted to be sure if he was not making a fool of me with his joke about the Comelec resolution that would kick to the moon protestants who lost by more than 20,000 votes. With the sheer margin of defeat that Nograles suffered, his protest, methink, should be consigned to Mars.

            You have proof of this resolution? Can you send me a copy? I asked.

            Sure. Sure. I will call you up next week, he said.

            Yesterday, my friend was on the phone.

            He says: Sorry, pare, joke lang yong kwento ko about the Comelec resolution that would send up Nograles’ protest to the moon. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

            Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All.

Ex-Speaker Nograles’ “lapdog” as Comelec chair?

            The Manila lawyer once described by Mayor Sara Duterte as a lapdog of former Speaker Prospero Nograles has surfaced as a possible replacement for retiring Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo.

This developed following reports that Melo is reportedly planning to retire from the poll body next month. The Comelec chairman was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2008 and his term expires in 2015.

In Davao City during the campaign period for the May elections, lawyer Howard Calleja—legal counsel of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)—was accused by the Duterte-led Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod of having infiltrated the Catholic Church-backed poll watchdog.

Calleja had claimed that the Comelec voters’ list in Davao City had been impregnated with thousands “ghost voters and zombies.”

Describing him as a “Nograles lapdog” and a “worm that has infiltrated PPCRV,” then Vice Mayor Sara Duterte—running in the mayoral race against Nograles—said that Calleja was using PPRCV in a smear campaign against her and father then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who ran against former mayor Benjamin de Guzman, Nograles’ running mate, in the vice mayoral race.

Team Nograles, the former Speaker’s political wagon, had widely used the Calleja statement to warn of electoral fraud that the Dutertes could possibly use to win the elections. The Dutertes trounced their respective opponents in a lopsided battle. 

           At the height of the campaign period, Calleja named Sara Duterte and brother Sebastian as among 40,000 names listed as “flying voters” in an alleged anomalous list of voters of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Davao City.

But Duterte, as if seeing the future, then said Calleja was doing a hatchet job, using PPCRV and the Comelec, for Nograles to lure support of the Speaker for his application for commissioner at the Comelec or as a justice.

            Sara Duterte then said she knew for a fact that Nograles has close links to Calleja, who was her husband lawyer Mans’ boss in the Calleja-Saulog law office before they got married.

The Comelec in Davao City had disputed the lawyer’s allegations saying Calleja used as basis for his expose raw data on the 2003 general registration of voters.

In reports played up by national and local papers, Calleja said some 40,000 voters had been entered as “double, multiple, or dead registrants” for the May 10 elections.

            Calleja said the anomalous listing of the Comelec had the names of Sara Duterte, brother Sebastian Duterte and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a confidante of former Mayor Duterte.

            Nograles, after losing about 220,000 votes to Mayor Duterte, has contested results of the May elections and has filed a protest at Comelec seeking to annul results of the automated polling.

            Among his allegations of fraud was the very claim of Calleja about 40,000 ghost voters allegedly embedded in the Comelec voters’ list. RMB

DURIAN POST COLUMN

The Durian Beat

By ROGER M. BALANZA

A tale of zombies, ghosts and aswangs

The Commission on Elections in Davao has gathered ballot boxes used in the May elections to be sent to Manila for a recount of votes in the Davao City elections in May based on the electoral protests of former Speaker Prospero Nograles.

Well and good. The sooner the Comelec decides on Nogie’s protest, the better, although from our end we see Nogie’s attempt to question results of the elections as nothing but a futile exercise.

For the record, Nogie and former mayor Ben de Guzman who latched on to the protest were losers, nay miserable losers, in the last elections.

The margin of defeat tells it all: Mayor Inday Sara Duterte beat Nogie by more than 200,000 votes in the mayoral race; Vice Mayor Rody Duterte clobbered de Guzman, Nogie’s running mate, with more than 300,000 in the vice mayoral contest.

Nogie could not believe the tsunami of votes that dealt him his most miserable defeat in all his life and probably sent him to political oblivion. So he filed the protest.

In Nogie’s logic, his defeat was due to cheating, harassment, intimidation and vote-buying by the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, the camp of Duterte.

The last election was the first automated elections in the country’s history. The system has drawn both praise and censure—but the majority agree that the election was fair and square except some like the comic tandem of Ben and Nogie who think fraud.

Automation being as it is that precludes any human intervention, Nogie’s beef was that it was the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), the automated machines that counted the votes, who cheated on him and he is challenging this modern machine that had everybody including foreigners praise the country for the stride it has made towards free, honest and clean elections.

We would not wonder if the Wonder Boy Nogie has a different view of how PCOS and Comelec ran the last elections.

Nogie has all the right to question the results of the automated polling —although he appears now to be a lone voice in the wilderness, the PCOS almost now being universally accepted by Filipinos as a new dawn in Philippine elections for its speed and accuracy.

The former Speaker was just being consistent with that kind of assessment about the automated polling. Among points he raised in his protest was that the Comelec voters’ list was populated with thousands of zombies, flying voters and—hold your breath—the dead whose names remain embedded in the poll body’s list. One consoling aspect in Nogie’s lament is that he is also claiming that the ghouls and the souls voted for Inday and Rody—which could be true if they really came down to earth from the beyond to take part in the Philippines first automated elections and voted for Inday and Rody.

Except that Nogie’s claim is laughable, and should find a rightful place in the records of comical events in the history of local politics as one of the funniest.

If you are a great fan of Dracula and ghost and zombie movies, the last May elections should be one for you, if Nogie’s grounds to protest the results of the elections are to be believed. In Nogie’s script, the flying voters—the aswangs, the manananggal and tikbalangs—were all over Davao City lining up at the precincts to vote on the day of the May elections. At the public cemetery in Wireless, zombies and the dead—all 40,000 of them if Nogie’s claim is true —crawled out of their graves to go to the voting precincts in Councilor Edgar Ibuyan’s territory in Bankerohan, to grab their copy of the ballots and line up before the PCOS machines to votes

That Comelec is moving fast on the Nogie protest should be welcomed by both the camp of Nogie and the Dutertes. Although some losers—miserable if we may say—raise the flag to accept defeat as soon as the counting of votes is over, Nogie is of a different breed. But then again, it is his right to be a different breed of a politician who cannot accept a loss, although, we remain to this day in awe at his vehement refusal to simply see the numbers and face the political reality that he has been ignored by Dabawenyos..

A thousand-vote margin may gain sympathy for Nogie to question the results of the elections, but more than 200,000?

Anyways, the Comelec is now packing the ballot boxes to be shipped out to Manila . Danilo Cullo, the local Comelec’s pointman, said the cost of transport would be paid by both camps, the ballot boxes sealed with signatures of representatives of the Comelec and the Nogie and Duterte camps and with police escorting the ballot boxes to the shipyard until it is loaded on a Manila-bound vessel.

We just hope that after the recount is over and the results confirmed, Nogie would find another alibi about his miserable loss.

The sooner the Comelec decides the Nogie protest, the better as the Dabawenyos would be spared the comedy of a losing mayoral candidate—spurned thrice in his attempt to capture City Hall—contesting results of a fair, clean and honest election.

The sooner that the Comelec puts closure to the case, the better for the Dabawenyos to move on ahead without being disturbed by a political comedy that is the Nogie protest.

Nograles is top spender in Davao City election

Money can’t buy the Dabawenyos.

Speaker Prospero Nograles lost to Vice Mayor Sara Duterte in the May mayoral race despite spending more in the mayoral contest where he was beaten with more than 200,000 votes.

Nograles, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), was the top spender in the elections followed by his Team Nograles running mate Benjamin de Guzman.

`           Comelec records of statement of expenditures and contributions showed that Nograles spent P2.7 million from personal money and campaign contributions, nearly double the expenditures of mayor-elect Duterte, who spent only P1.3 million. Comelec records showed Nograles dug into his own pocket about P1.24 million, with the rest coming from contributions, to spend in his third failed attempt to capture City Hall.

Mayor-elect Duterte, according to Comelec, spent personal funds of P421,000, with P894,400 coming from contributions.

Comelec said Nograles’ running mate Benjamin De Guzman is the second top spender  with a total of P2.18 million. De Guzman was defeated (with a vote margin of more than 300,000) in the vice mayoral race by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who spent only P1.9 million.

CONGRESS SHOOTS DOWN NOGIE PROTEST VS. SARA DUTERTE

‘EVEN GHOSTS, ZOMBIES WOULD NOT VOTE FOR SPEAKER”

By ROGER M. BALANZA 

            Speaker Prospero Nograles’ allegation he lost in the mayoral race due to configured compact flash cards used in the May 10 automated polling has been shot down no less by his House of Representatives.

            The committee on electoral reforms and suffrage of the House of Representatives, which is investigating allegations of fraud in the May 10 elections, has cleared Smartmatic Inc., the automation partner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

 

            In its investigation, the House panel said the Smartmatic system is fool-proof, adding the compact flash (CF) cards that stored data on results of the elections could not have been tampered.

 

            In the May 10 polls, Inday Sara won with 388,465 votes against Nograles’ 160,225, with a vote margin of 228,240.

            The massacre was repeated in the vice mayoral race with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte taking 440,030 or a vote margin of 334,068 against Benjamin de Guzman’s 105,962 . The Comelec said 557,602, out of the city’s 948,428 registered voters, voted in the country’s first automated pooling.           

            Nograles has questioned the credibility of the CF cards he claimed were reconfigured, and has filed petition asking Comelec to annul Inday Sara’s proclamation.

            In his petition, Nograles also said he lost the election because the Comelec list included names of 17,000 dead persons and 40 thousand “zombie voters.”

            The Duterte party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod said Nograles, with Inday Sara’s yawning vote margin of 200,000 votes, could never win “even if the dead and the zombies” were to vote for him.

House panel chair and Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. agreed with observations by information technology (IT) experts that outsiders would find it difficult to hack the system.

 

Locsin said he has nothing more to ask of Smartmatic-TIM officials who were able to satisfy the committee’s queries during the two-week hearings on alleged cheating in the May 2010 polls.

 

“So far they’ve been able to answer everything,” the Makati solon said.

 

Earlier, Hugpong said it was putting closure to the results of the May 10 electiond with Mayor-elect Vice Mayor Inday Sara Duterte winning with a vote margin of more than 200,000 votes, despite the Nograles protest seeking the annulment of her proclamation.

 

            Hugpong said the protest filed by Speaker Prospero Nograles against the proclamation of Mayor-elect Inday Sara Duterte is a “last faint cry from a dying dog” that deserved pity.

            We will not allow this minor distraction to disturb our focus to serve the Dabawenyos, it said.

            As far as the Dutertes are concerned, Hugpong said Nograles is “politically dead” and as dead dogs go “must be buried in the catacombs of forgotten memories.”

            The Dutertes do not kick dead dogs. They just bury them in the dustbin of forgotten memories, said Hugpong.

            Hugpong said the protest has the trademark of Nograles, who had also questioned results in two previous mayoral elections that he lost miserably.

            As a congenital sour grape, Nograles is simply being consistent with his fate as a born loser who cannot accept defeat, said Hugpong.   

           

            Prior to the election, Nograles had accused the Dutertes of massive plunder involving public funds, then filed charges with the Ombudsman based on a Commission Audit Report  that the Dutertes said were doctored to show anomalies.

            After her proclamation, Inday Sara said Nograle should accept defeat and demanded that the Speaker make an apology in public for the black propaganda hurled against her and her family. Nograles refused.

            In his petition, Nograles claimed massive irregularities in the city’s 1,172 clustered precincts. He also questioned assignment of city employees with Comelec, names of 17,000 dead people and 40,000 “zombie voters” in the Comelec voters’ list and the reconfiguration of compact flash (CF) cards used in the automated election.

            Hugpong said the Nograles habit of protesting result of elections is nothing new.

            The Duterte party said Nograles howled anomalies when he defeated by Mayor Duterte in the mayoral race in 1992, and then filed a protest with Comelec in 1998 when he was trounced by Benjamin de Guzman, who was supported by Mayor Duterte.

Speaker Nograles protest vs. Mayor Sara Duterte twitted

“Even the dead, zombies won’t vote for Nograles”

             Even if the dead buried in all city cemeteries are dug up from their graves to vote for Speaker Prospero Nograles, the results of the May 10 elections would still end up as an embarrassment for the losing Nograles.

            The 40,000 zombie voters that Nograles claimed voted for Inday Sara also could not bail him out even if they voted for him in the elections that had him losing withone of the biggest vote margin in the history of local politics.

            Claiming he was cheated of victory, Nograles has filed before Comelec-Manila a 14-page petition praying for the nullification of Mayor-elect Inday Sara Duterte’s proclamation. Threat, fraud and election irregularities which marred the conduct of the May 10, 2010 elections in Davao City are so massive such that it affected the results of the elections, according to Nograles.

            In the May 10 mayoral race, Inday Sara garnered 388,465 votes against Nograles’ 160,225, in a lopsided battle that had the daughter of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the vice mayor-elect, winning with a vote margin of 288,240 votes.

            Even if we line up before the Precinct Count Optical Scanners (PCOS) the 16,000 dead persons and the 40,000 zombies that Nograles claimed were in the Comelec registry of voters—and force them to vote for the Speaker —the fact is that the Nograles would still end up as a miserable loser, said Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod.

           

 

            In his protest, Nograles claimed 16,992 dead persons and 40,000 zombie voters included in the Comelec computerized voters list.

            The Duterte party Hugpong twitted Nograles for his ghoulish tale, doubting the dead and the zombies would vote for Nograles.

            We advise Nograles to amend his protest and include a demand that Comelec conduct special elections in cemeteries with the dead as voters, said Hugpong. We are confident that like the living Dabawenyos who gave the Dutertes an overwhelming vote, the dead and the zombies would not be voting for Nograles, Hugpong said.

            Comelec Davao Regional Attorney Danilo Cullo has reacted strongly to Nograles’ accusation the Comelec list had been impregnated with names of the dead and the zombies.

            Nograles should prove his allegation, said Cullo. He said Comelec had purged its list of errant entries before the elections.

            Outgoing Mayor Duterte laughed off Nograles allegation of fraud adding he would not mind if Nograles would still dream of becoming mayor despite his defeat in the elections.” If he wants the mayorship, he can have it. But then he would have to ask Inday Sara, he said.

            He said he is keeping his hands off the Nograles allegation of fraud saying the burden lies in Comelec.

            We have nothing to do with the voting machines, he said.