COMMENT: Master Dissemblers

Radam, in denying the accusations of senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (GO), said in a statement she had sent to Radio Station dxND in Kidapawan City of North Cotabato: “I categorically state that there was no fraud and no ‘dagdag-bawas’ that took place in the canvassing of votes for senatorial candidates in South Cotabato.

“The same results were reflected properly on the Statement of Votes (SoVs). The election returns (ERs) and the SoVs submitted to the National Board of Canvassers bear the same data as the copies of the ERs and SoVs that are now at the Provincial Election Office in South Cotabato.

“Submitting spurious and questionable results would be of no benefit to us. It could only be beneficial to a candidate who is losing but who could gain victory if a cloud of doubt hovered over the electoral process and its results.” (MindaNews, June 9)

She accused Pimentel of offering her “financial considerations” in exchange for assurance that he would land in the Magic 12 in South Cotabato. “I am more than willing and ready to provide the details of these offers and identify the people involved in the proper forum,” she stated.

Slips Showing

Radam should have been questioned over the air to remind her of her slips showing. This was one fault of Station dxND – just reading Radam’s statement.  Besides the need to elucidate some points, she should have been asked to read her own statement for authenticity – her voice kept on tape considering the seriousness of the controversy.

She was right. No dagdag-bawas took place during the canvassing. It did after, before the provincial CoC was delivered to the National Board of Canvassers. She should have been asked what for were the blank CoC forms she had requested the two other members of the Provincial Board of Canvassers to sign before going to Manila.

She was right. The ERs and SoVs submitted to the NBoC bear the same data as those in the copies of the same documents in Provincial Election Office in South Cotabato. How about the CoCs?  It was the discrepancies between the CoC submitted to the NBoC and the authentic copies of SoVs and CoCs in the hands of the opposition that gave away the dagdag-bawas.

Why did she not appear before the NBoC to explain the discrepancies? The municipal election officers of South Cotabato had to be summoned to bring along their ERs, SoVs and CoCs as the bases for the re-canvass?  

She accused Pimentel of trying to bribe her into placing him within the Magic 12. Why should Pimentel do that? He was No. 10 in the provincial tally board with 192,356 votes. (MindaNews, June 1) Or, was he ranked below No. 12 in exchange for the “alleged bribe”?

The pity was that she did not bother checking her statement against widely published reports before sending it to Station dxND.

No Subpoena

Bedol resented Media’s comparison of him to former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who had evaded and ignored calls to explain the controversial “Hello, Garci” tapes and, when he finally decided to appear before Congress, dissembled his way out.  Why compare him to “Garci”?  He is a better dissembler.

“I am not the kind of person [to ignore a summons]. These are the things I don’t understand because the only hearing that I was given a directive was that one on May 25,” he told reporters in Manila last June 11 why he did not snub an earlier Comelec order for him to appear on May 30 (MindaNews, June 12). Only the 22 boards of canvassers of Maguindanao were summoned.

He was not hiding.  All the time he was in his office. Since he was not “given a directive”, he did not have to go to Manila. Perhaps, he read and heard from Media about the search for him and the threat of arrest but these were not directives. Did he finally appear last June 11 after having received a “directive”?  The reporters did not say he had told them so.

Who would you believe — the commissioners who said they had sent Bedol “several orders to appear” and they would have him arrested if he continued ignoring the summons; or Bedol who denied having received any directive?

 

Documents Lost

 

Was Bedol serious or just making a fool of everybody including the commissioners, leaders of the pro-administration parties and Malacañang? He told the NBoC last June 11 of the loss of the municipal certificates of canvass and statements of votes – the election documents necessary to prove the authenticity of the questioned Maguindanao provincial CoC.

He said these were in his office in Sharif Aguak ready to be submitted to the NBoC on May 30 but they were stolen in the afternoon of May 29. His office was not locked. Was this the normal way of keeping safe election documents?

Who could have stolen them? “It is possible it was taken by the same people who staged a protest at the provincial capital,” he said. (INQUIRER.net, June 11)

The story, as repeated on June 12 and 13 reports, has aroused indignation and calls for Bedol to be jailed. Pro-administration politicians blame Bedol for the possible loss of the opportunity of at least one more TU candidate – Miguel Zubiri – to dislodge either Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III or Antonio Trillanes IV from the Magic 12.

The big joke, I think, is that they all believe Bedol’s story. (Continued tomorrow. “Comment" is Mr. Patricio P. Diaz' column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Mr. Diaz is the recipient of a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Titus Brandsma for his "commitment to education and public information to Mindanawons as

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