Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Making a joke of the polls

Emil Jurado - To the point - Manila Standard Today

In the past, there were perennial nuisance candidates, among them the late Racuyal who was best known for filing his candidacy for president every time there was an election. Come to think of it, we at the 365 Club at the Hotel Intercon also had the late Lucio de Gala, who would challenge every presidential candidate.

For the forthcoming 2010 polls, we also have coming out of the woodwork candidates who believe they could be president. They are the ones who almost always get 1-to-2-percent ratings in Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys. Yet they continue to make noise about their aspirations. Are they running for the funds of it?Justify Full

Now comes the biggest joke of all—the candidacy of Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, a priest on leave, who invokes the name of God in his discernment to run for the highest seat in the land. Some gall, indeed, for somebody whose election as governor of Pampanga is now being questioned, who believes that good intentions and idealism are enough to govern well, and who thinks he is the only honest official in Pampanga.

Not to be outdone, my good friend Nandy Pacheco of Ang Kapatiran is fielding an unknown Olongapo councilor, whose name escapes me, to be presidential candidate. This makes the 2010 presidential polls a circus. Send in the clowns, as the song goes!

Panlilio should face reality and refrain from making a joke out of himself. But then, in our kind of democracy, everybody—retired priests included—is free to make a fool of himself.

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Political party tells CBCP: Don’t ignore ‘JC’

By Christian V. Esguerra - Philippine Daily Inquirer

If Nandy Pacheco is scratching his head these days, it’s not because he needs a shampoo.

It’s rather that, much to his chagrin, it hasn’t apparently washed over the Catholic Church hierarchy that the political party he had organized based on Christian precepts has become real with a true-blue presidential candidate.

The founder of Ang Kapatiran party Sunday was incensed upon reading on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that the prelates saw “no qualified ‘presidentiables’ so far.”

“The bishops know that we have a candidate, so I don’t know why this came out,” Pacheco said. “How can they say that when our party was founded precisely on the social teachings of the Church?”

In its latest pastoral statement released this month, the CBCP said “our present situation poses a great and urgent challenge for active lay participation in principled partisan politics.”

“Many even believe that politics as practiced in our country is a structure of evil. It is alarming that crippling apathy and cynicism has crept in even among our young,” the bishops said.

Pacheco, an advocate of nonviolence who also founded the “Gunless Society,” maintains that Kapatiran has been responding to such a call since 2004 when the party was established.

JC is the name

In May, the party announced that it would field a presidential candidate in the 2010 elections—John Carlos “JC” delos Reyes, a low-key councilor and a member of the Gordon clan in Olongapo City.

Delos Reyes was the lone winner from among Kapatiran candidates in the 2007 elections.

Pacheco also rued that the party has yet to be invited to any of the forums gathering prospective presidential candidates.

“We’re the only party with an official presidential candidate so far yet we’ve not been invited to these forums,” he told the Inquirer.

Asked if organizers were probably not taking the party and its candidate seriously, he said: “That’s how it appears.”

“This is our passion and our crucifixion,” Pacheco said. “What we’re doing is difficult because we are swimming against the current. But it’s faith that keeps us going.”

He said he was “hurt” with the CBCP story, but clarified that he was not blaming the bishops. He said some of the prelates had been accommodating the party’s request for visits in their dioceses.

‘Man of pure heart’

Pacheco described Kapatiran’s candidate as “a man of pure heart fighting big-money politics.”

“With JC at the wheel, I can sleep because I know where we are going,” he said.

On Sunday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop the forums and debates for the presidential aspirants, saying they were “premature and inappropriate.”

“Right now, we still don’t have a single presidential candidate. What we have now are individuals supposedly aspiring or planning to be presidential candidates. So it is not correct to be staging so-called ‘presidential’ forums this early,” TUCP secretary-general Ernesto Herrera said in a statement.

According to Herrera, an individual’s “self-proclamation” that he or she is interested in running for president does not make him or her a legitimate presidential candidate.

‘This is silly’

“Right now, just about anyone dreaming to run for president can join the so-called ‘presidential’ forums. This is silly,” Herrera said.

The TUCP, a registered party-list group, did not say if it would file a formal petition in the Comelec to ban such forums.

“What is happening now is that a number of individuals are merely using the untimely forums as platforms to project themselves as possible presidential candidates, and collect political contributions, or to promote their secondary political plans to run for vice president or senator,” Herrera said.

He suggested that sponsors call their forums anything they like, except describing them as “presidential.”

Real presidential forums or debates may only be held after the Nov. 30 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy set by the Comelec, the former senator added.

Might that be a reason why Kapatiran’s official candidate has not been invited to these talk shows? Or why the bishops have not taken notice of JC? With a report from Jerome Aning

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