From now on, every time Migz Zubiri, the gentleman from Maguindanao, stands up in the Senate the people will be reminded that someone very much like him though of the opposite gender is illegitimately ensconced somewhere by the stinking Pasig.
Last Monday (July 30) Koko Pimentel filed his electoral protest with the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Koko Pimentel was leading Migz Zubiri all the way until the Comelec Commissioners acting on orders from way above the cheating food chain intervened. While it may apparently seem that the protest is just about contesting the 12th Senate slot in the last elections, the stakes are really much more than that.
The country witnessed a most blatant manipulation of the vote thus frustrating the people's will and seating a Comelected Migz Zubiri in the halls of the Senate. While everything seems outwardly calm this wholesale subversion of the citizens electoral will could be a slow fused bomb that could bring the whole house of cards down - the proverbial last straw that broke the camels back.
The initial Maguindanao count showed Chavit Singson as the topnotch and the vote manipulators in their rush to pad the votes may have unwittingly replaced him with Migz Zubiri in the top slot. The inconsistent padding also ended up in most cases with votes cast exceeding registered counts and a voting turnout that far exceeded national norms. During the re-canvass of the Maguindanao COC's which were already tainted with irregularity (being sole and unverifiable copies), the comelectioneers went for broke and ignored all questions and challenges to the veracity of their canvass.
The forced inclusion of Zubiri in the Senate exposed the COMELEC commissioners in their full rotten glory and dramatically reminded the nation of the 2004 cheating scandal and the Garci tapes. More so this assinine experience inflicted severe collateral damage on the Supreme Court with that pontius pilate 7-7 decision in the TRO filing of Koko Pimentel. And with the national leadership overtly tolerant if not an active partisan in this aberrant political anomaly, with the major custodian of public electoral choice thoroughlycompromised, with the principal arbiter of the rule of law in quandary and confusion, the alternatives for redress of grievances is increasingly becoming a very short list. And sometimes short lists may translate easily into short fuses.
To start with the Maguindanao elections was already suspect. Teachers complained of intimidation and harassment by political operators. According to them armed men wrote and stuffed ballots to ensure a 12-0 vote for the administration slate while they watched in captive helplessness. Election watchdogs were also reportedly barred from the canvassing that is why both the PPCRV and the Namfrel never had any copy of the COC's which could have verified the sole COC 's that were later on canvassed by comelectioneers. The notorious Lintang Bedol a confessed Garci friend magically appeared and dissappeared at will finally claiming that he lost all copies of the Maguindanao COC's. This paved the way for the unverifiable Comelec canvass of the Maguindanao senatorial votes.
And then there was Musa Dumasidsing.
Disregarding safety, Musa Dumasidsing, a teacher and education supervisor in Pagalungan, Maguindanao reported irregularities during last month's elections. His surfacing confirmed massive cheating as earlier reported by teachers tasked to oversee the process. Dumasidsing despite severe pressure refused to sign documents which would have negated the early report of election irregularities. In a country where many hope against hope, he was seen as a new hero who fearlessly stepped up to the plate. On June 9 Dumasidsing was mercilessly gunned down no doubt to silence him forever about histale of the fraud-riddled Maguindanao elections. The three other witnesses who had worked with Dumasidsing have gone missing too. Just like many of us he only wanted the elections to be clean and honest and it had cost him his life. The cheats are definitely covering their tracks. Dumasidsing was killed to make an example, to intimidate those who intend to expose the fraud in Maguindanao.
If you make a scrabble play of the letters in 't e a c h e r ' you could spell out the word 'c h e a t e r'. But Dumasidsing the Teacher a noble tribute to his chosen vocation was never a Cheater. Dumasidsing came out not for himself and his death will be worthless if we disregard the final lesson that he imparted. With his martyrdom he has become indeed a true teacher to the nation and if Dumasidsing's life is not to be wasted, his killing should make everybody furiously indignant that the cheating efforts he opposed has temporarily gained the upperhand with the seating of a comelected Zubiri in the Senate.
If Migz Zubiri decides to carry on with his charade and protestations of innocence together with his pretensions to being a truly elected Senator, his first privilege speech should be about Musa Dumasidsing and a vigorous request for a full senate investigation of the circumstances of his death. Indeed, the true Gentle Man from Maguindanao was Musa Dumasidsing.
Gil R. Ramos PhDMovement for a Free Philippines
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