Better Act As One

GOVERNMENT people, there at the Palace and Upper Chamber, should get their acts together if they’re all determined to keep things in proper perspective. Instead of insisting on their respective wishes to get matter done even if it’ll become detrimental to us in the long run.

Take for instance the apparent impasse over the August 8 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) polls wherein no less than P-Noy wants to postpone it in his bid to synchronize it with the 2013 national and local polls and at the same time, according to him, give ample time to reform the system in the region.

On one hand, P-Noy’s desire seems to face a hurdle as he couldn’t easily convince the lawmakers like Sens. Bongbong Marcos Jr., who chairs the local government committee; Migz Zubiri and Chiz Escudero, who are hell-bent not to defer the electoral exercises in the Mindanao region.

Well, obviously the senators would only want to give more weight to the sentiments of ARMM people
as what Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago similarly is echoing about.

If the new tenants in Malacanang would only try to reminisce the conflicts and tensions that transpired during the early years of the administration of P-Noy’s mother, ex-President Cory Aquino, until it decided to hold the region’s first-ever elections in 1990, perhaps the Palace would just say: “Go let the elections push through as scheduled.”

I just can’t just take the Malacañang position on the matter. Imagine, in the guise of reforming the ARMM (I don’t know what kind of reforms it has) it wants to put off the elections only to fill in the vacancies with appointed personalities.

Nonetheless, there’s a rationale behind the move to defer in order to save people’s heard-earned money and instead synchronize with the 2013 polls.

But if P-Noy’s wishes would materialize, political tensions may erupt anew in the region because people there would surely reject those Malacanang appointees who’ll lord it over in the region within the next two years and not those they have elected to lead them.

So why not simply heed the ARMM people’s desire for their welfare?

And wait, have they considered the positions of the poll body which has apparently put itself in the dark as two opposing poles are pulling each other’s muscles?

In conversation with Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, he says they have no choice but abide by whatever decision of the two chambers. “If postponed, we follow. If not, we hold elections.”

No, it’s not just like that as it’s easier said than done.

Saying vital preparation activities are missing, Commissioner Sarmiento says: “As each day that passes, it is becoming tight and tighter to do automation as we cannot sign contracts with Smartmatic.”

To many, we can quickly say go and sign with the contracts but it’s not as easy as one thinks.

The Comelec says if it signs the contract amid the calls for postponement and the polls are deferred later, it would be bound to pay the cancellation fees plus damages that could reach about P300-million. Whew!

Though, we had preparations, we cannot go full blast absent the machines to be configured, absent technicians to be hired. If we cannot automate, the looming possibility of manual voting is there, according to the commissioner.

There you go.


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