Thursday, June 3, 2010

Politics,Second Quarter of 2010:the 2010 Election

As the 2010 election winds down with the last re-scheduled balloting on Mindanao taking place today, 6/03/2010,it is shaping up to be one of the most interesting races in recent memory.Aside from the requisite violence,intimidation and outright fraud the fact that both the Aquino AND the Marcos clans have been given yet another chance to run the country is fascinating in and of itself.

Though the tabulating continues it is assured that Benigno"Nonoy"Aquino III is the nation's next President.The Senator from Tarlac,in Central Luzon,is of course the son of the late Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. (the difference in speling in their monikers is deliberate),a noted Senator himself and a onetime Presidential hopeful before being murdered at Manila's International Airport that now bears his name as he returned from exile abroad,to challenge the Marcos dictatorship.His mother,the late Corazon Conjuangco Aquino instead became the 1st post-Marcos President.

As another Aquino assumes the Presidency,another Marcos becomes a freshman Congresswoman at the age of 80.Imelda Marcos,widow of the late dictator Ferdinand,has won election to Illocos Norte's 2nd District,a seat her family has controlled for most of the last 25 years.Indeed that slot was just vacated by son Ferdinand Jr.,better known as "Bong Bong,"who will himself ascend to the Senate.Bong Bong is a former Governor of Illocos Norte, the family stronghold.Now filling the Governor's seat is sister Imee Marcos who vacated the Senatorial seat Bong Bong is assuming, and so it goes,welcome to politics,Philippine style.

This is a country where nepotism is not only legal,it is something to be admired,.the Philippines is a nationn where cronyism is seen as normal and though there IS a Term Limit Law (3 Terms),there are no real Ethical Guidelines or Regulations in place.Nothing bars a politician reaching their Term Limit from running for an associated office,such as a govenor running for vice govenor.after winning an associated position and serving just a single term they are then free again to hold their former office for another 3 consecutive terms.Quite often a wife or child will hold the position to circumvent the Term Limit issue while ensuring familial control of the position.Illustrated simply: A mayor,upon reaching his limit runs for vice mayor while his wife simaltaneously runs for mayor.Both win,after 1 term the former mayor again runs for mayor and holds it for another 3 consecutive Terms.If such things are common in the Philippines,they are the rule of the day here on Mindanao where an almost feudal society prevails.

Such systems offer very little suprises. The biggest upset on Mindanao this election has been the loss of the Chingobian political dynasty to a political newcomer for the lone Congressional seat in Sarangani Province. More than a member of the Chingobians losing,it was the person who won that position that fueled most of the drama,.none other than famed boxer Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao had become the new congressman from Sarangani Province.His opponent,Roy Chingobian,was a political newcomer as well but in Mindanowan society,as I noted in my previous paragraphs,family is everything.The Chingobians,like almost all politicians on the national level,are fabulously wealthy.The bulk of their fortune rests with"Eastern Shipping Lines,"a Manila based,family owned company that specialises on shipping to Japan.

This was actually Congressman Pacman's second foray,having ran and lost against Congresswoman Nancy Antonio Custodio for the 1st District of South Cotabato Province and General Santos City (the latter being a municipality in the adjoining province of Saranagni) in the 2007 Election. Ms. Custodio is herself a member of yet another political dynasty, the Antonio family.Re-positioning himself in his wife Jinkee's home province of Sarangani,Pacquiao finally got his wish.

Of course Pacquiao's election was not without its own bumps and bruises;

On Sunday, 4/25/2010 at a little after 10PM, Mayor Enrique Yap of G'laan,Sarangani Province was en route to a meeting with local supporters when 2 vans suddenly swung into the middle of the road to form an impromptu roadblock in Barangay Pang-yah.As men holding weaons piled out of the vans the mayor's driver swung hard and circumvented the ambush. Quickly making his way to safety he notified the G'laan PNP (police) who rather quickly caught the 2 vans and 5 men.Finding an M16 and a single 45 pistol the men were jailed.Upon further investigation however it was discovered that at least 1 of the Toyota L300 vans is registered to Jinkee Pacquiao,wife of Manny.This is in addition to the garbage bags full of Pacquiao campaign related material also found inside both vans.

Pacquiao disavowed any connection to the men or the incident though he decried the"dirty tricks"being used against him,via his attorney Orlando Santandre.

That Friday, 4/30/2010 at their 1st court appearance,lo and behold all 5 were represented by none other than Mr. Santandre who managed to get the case thrown out based upon Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules Criminal Procedure (in layman terms,"a bad search").This time Pacquiao lauded the Philippine justice system that vindicated these "innocent" men.

Aaaah,what a tangeled web we weave...

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