mr. senate president, mr. speaker – can juan de la cruz be recognized?

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Thank you Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker.

Allow me to express the following thoughts regarding the proceedings tonight as well as related relevant circumstances which has brought us to this point.

We have reached a critical juncture in our constitutionally mandated duty to begin the official canvass and eventual proclamation of the incoming President and Vice President of our great country. It seems to me that everything that has been discussed in this committee as well as in other venues since the end of the elections have been attempts to unduly cast these past elections as dishonest, disorderly and (in)credible.

This representation’s personal opinion is that we will end up subverting the sovereign will and collective wisdom of the majority of the Filipino people. Allow me to point out that Juan de la Cruz is not stupid. If he truly believes that these elections were dishonest and only served to rob him of his true will, we would now be seeing him and thousands, if not millions, of Filipinos demanding the righting of this wrong. But where is he, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker? Where is Juan de la Cruz and the rest of the Filipino nation? I submit that they are observing their supposed leaders obfuscating and creating a mockery of the expression of his true will as heroically displayed in the oppressive heat of May 10th.

I grant, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, that of the numerous (albeit still a minority) allegations of electoral fraud, there will be some which will merit further scrutiny and investigation. I also expect that some of these cases will be decided in favor of those who currently feel they have been aggrieved. This representation’s point in bringing this up is to ask the question, have we allowed ourselves as the Canvassing Board for the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections to be deceived by these allegations into thinking of a more systemic and malicious failure of the national elections?

Allow me to digress for a moment, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, to comment on the conduct of the hearings of the House Committee on Electoral Reforms and Suffrage. This is important because while these hearings should not have any bearing on this Committee’s constitutional mandate, it is not easy due to human nature for us not to consciously or unconsciously transpose our feelings about those hearings into what we are here to do.

By and large, despite the stated objective of being in aid of legislation, let us call a spade a spade and characterize the hearings of that Committee as being a venue for grandstanding. The people who have been invited by that Committee as resource persons to shed light on alleged irregularities have come to those hearings unprepared, made accusations bereft of plausible evidence and have been exposed for their ignorance.

My apologies for this breach of parliamentary courtesy but I have to say that the actuations of the good Representative of the 2nd District of Quezon City, the Honorable Mary Ann Susano have irritated this representation no end, to say the least. Representative Susano’s possession of what she claims are genuine Compact Flash (CF) cards as evidence is highly irregular, again, to say the least. I challenge this House of Representatives to look into the circumstances by which Representative Susano came to possess these CF cards without prejudice to other remedies that other law enforcement institutions may seek for the possession of stolen property if we are to take the good Representative’s word of the genuineness of these cards. Let us remind ourselves that as duly elected representatives and officials of our Republic that it is our sworn duty to uphold the law and report violations of such. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard and to the good Lady from Quezon City – you should have reported this irregularity to the appropriate authorities as soon as you became aware of it and not use it for personal gain.

Furthermore, I question the true intent of Representative Susano in bringing her allegations to the House Committee. If you seek answers to your allegations, it behooves you to listen and hear the explanations of those whom you accuse of complicity in your allegations. It does not speak well to resort to labeling those answering your allegations as “defensive” nor acting like a prima donna for having your supposed bombshell witness wait while those you accuse are trying to present answers to your allegations.

Did I digress too much? My sincere apologies Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker.

Let me just close the loop with my digression kind Gentlemen and provide some unsolicited advice to the so-called resource speakers/complainants at Representative Locsin’s Committee. If you are not at that Committee to truly aid in legislation then you are just wasting your time, your esteemed colleagues’ time and that of the Filipino public by being there. Seek justice in the proper venue. In the meantime, let me remind you that you were elected to your positions for a term of 3 years, not 2 years and 10 months. Make us proud and serve your constituents to the best of your ability in the remaining period of your term. Who knows, your constituents might look back at that service and you might win the next time.

Again my apologies Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker. Allow this representation to return to his prior thought and refresh your memories with the question that I had posed – have we allowed ourselves as the Canvassing Board for the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections to be deceived by these allegations into thinking of a more systemic and malicious failure of the national elections?

This representation’s personal opinion is that there has been no credible evidence manifesting systemic and widespread fraud during these elections that has been brought forward. Why do we keep on asking, is it possible when we are presented with logical explanations to issues that are raised? We had expected and we had been told to expect kinks and glitches in this first ever automated elections in our country. Why do we act like we’re surprised? Despite all the warnings beforehand, did we still expect an error free conduct of the elections? When we ask a question such as – is it possible – in the majority of instances, the answer will be – yes it is. Does that prove anything? No. Almost anything is possible as much as it is possible that those who lost in these elections ACTUALLY LOST.

If I may Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, I would also like to bring up something that we may have been overlooking. That is that by asking these questions now, we are indicting the respective Electoral Oversight Committees of both Houses of Congress – and by extension, OURSELVES. Let us be fair. By asking all these questions now, we are admitting to the Filipino people that we were remiss in our duty to ensure the sanctity of the electoral process. For that, I call on the leaders of Congress and I move for an immediate resolution apologizing to the Filipino people for this dereliction of duty.

Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, let me also touch on the matter of thresholds. This Committee has asked many questions today on acceptable thresholds relating to various aspects on the conduct of these elections. My impression, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, has been that no matter what explanations or answers we get from our resource persons, no answer and no explanation seems to be good enough. This being the case, we run the risk of further tainting the credibility of these elections with our mule-headed and adversarial mindsets. Do we really think that we are better than everyone else that an answer that does not conform to our expectations is hogwash? Kung ganoon din naman, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, ano pang silbi ng mga resource persons na mga ito kung hindi natin sila pakinggan? Having said that, let me make clear that it is our duty to pursue accountability from those who should be made answerable for the egregious mistakes made in the conduct of these elections. I submit, however, that this is not the time nor the place for that.

In closing, this representation warrants that our actions here today have cast unnecessary doubt and uncertainty in a lot of our countrymen’s minds. It also seems to this representation that as I mentioned earlier, a certain number of our colleagues will never be satisfied that these elections were generally free and fair. With this being the case – we are left with two options – the first being to do a full manual count of all the election ballots cast and the second being the initiation of the appropriate action to hold new elections.

With that, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker, I call for the suspension of the National Canvass for President and Vice President and put to the House leadership a motion to convene the House of Representatives immediately to pass a resolution urging the Commission on Elections to declare a failure of elections and call for new elections at the soonest possible time. Out of parliamentary courtesy, I will just encourage our colleagues in the Philippine Senate to consider a similar action.

That is my representation, Mr. Senate President and Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

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