Friday, May 15, 2009

Even as He Orders Probe of "Malicious" F.F. Cruz Youtube Video, COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo Fears Nightmare "No-el" No Elections 2010

15 May 2009

COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo has not been getting his fair share of restful nights these days. He said as much when he discussed the nightmare no 2010 elections scenario with members of the Philippine media yesterday.

The outspoken Chairman of the Philippines' poll body explained that if anybody questions the poll automation process before the Supreme Court and a TRO is issued, say by February, March or April 2010, the COMELEC would not have enough time to shift back to the manual system.  Chairman Melo verbalized the dire consequences, "Eh di gulo!  Rebolusyon!"  

Here is the GMAnews.tv video clip on Chairman Melo's nightmare:

Melo expressed his fears even as he referred to the NBI and the Ombudsman the matter of a controversial video posted at youtube purportedly showing contractor Felipe F. Cruz, Sr. signing bid documents inside a COMELEC comfort room allegedly for insertion into its bid document folders.

This is the Inquirer article on Melo's nightmare and the youtube video, Melo’s nightmare: No-election scenario; this is another Inquirer article carrying the denial by F.F. Cruz' son  saying that the papers his father was signing at the COMELEC comfort room "pertained to his family's recent purchase of an 'island' in Coron, Palawan" and had nothing to do with their poll automation bid.

Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty and F.F. Cruz is entitled to that presumption. 

However, one is led to ask: how many people in this country can afford the expensive proposition of buying an entire island and then unceremoniously sign the purchase documents in a comfort room?  

Anyway, this is one video clip I'm sure the proponents of "Boto Mo, IPatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula" would sure want to get to the bottom of considering that election-related malfeasance is the kind of stuff that the project is concentrating on. 

I expect Ms. Maria Ressa herself of ABS-CBN to actively monitor this case and, if possible, report on it personally. That will be the quintessential "Boto Mo, IPatrol Mo" citizen patrol reminiscent of Ms. Ressa's brave and lucid reporting for CNN. I sent this email to Ms. Maria Ressa on May 11, 2009 (12:31pm) through feedback@abc-cbnnews.com:


My message is primarily for Maria Ressa and I'll highly appreciate hearing from her personally. Please take note as well on the issue about tuition fees.

This is one of my recent blog posts on Philippines Rising (Taga Monumento) http://tagamonumento.blogspot.com:

11 May 2009

Maria Ressa is a respected voice in journalism, not just here but around the world.  I have only the highest regard for her and her presence at the helm of ABS-CBN's Current Affairs lends a powerful voice to the Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo: Ako ang Simula initiative. 

But does everyone in ABS-CBN see things the way she does?  For example, will Ms. Ressa herself listen to and air the appeal of somebody like me who's having problem with the way the DepEd is curtailing the rights of parents when they oppose tuition fee increases?  I guess this is a deviation from the topic of the election but right on target when it comes to the issue of individual persons pushing small, incremental changes in our society. I once was interviewed (two years ago) by an ABS-CBN reporter on the issue of tuition fee only to be told later that my story could not be aired because I was "alone" in pursuing the issue.  I hope Ms. Ressa has a different viewpoint. 

To get back on track, given the simple concept of Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo as stated by Ms. Ressa:   
The idea for Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo was simple: get the people to care and to take action.  It’s people power with new technology!  If you see something wrong or something good, tell us about it.  If you see someone trying to buy the votes, snap a picture on your cellphone and send it to us.  If you see a town mayor using public vehicles for his campaign, shoot video with your cellphone and send it to us.  If you see violence, tell us about it, and after a verification process, we will put it to air.  Two months into the 4-month campaign, we received reports from the provinces that Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo helped level the playing field where incumbents were running after we ran a story with the cellphone picture of city resources used for campaigns.  So cellphones became effective weapons!
how will ABS-CBN defend people who participate in Boto Mo, I-Patrol Mo: Ako ang Simula in the event that legal charges, say, illegal wiretapping, are filed against them by the people they are covering? 

I have to ask this question because Cheche Lazaro of ABS-CBN is actually facing such a situation now with the illegal wiretapping case filed against her by an official of GSIS concerning her coverage of Manila school teachers. Ms. Lazaro's case is more compelling because she appears to be the only person facing charges now after charges against ABS-CBN executives were dropped by the public prosecutor who handled the case.

My personal position on this matter is that citizen journalism through the use of cellphones and other similar devices to expose wrongdoing and deter abuse should be afforded legal protection by our laws. What is ABS-CBN's strategy to deal with this matter considering that we still have in place a strict anti-wiretapping law?

I know Maria Ressa has an answer and I hope she shares it with me ... with all of us. I have my own answer as I'm sure you have yours and I hope she's interested to hear from me ... from all of us.  My email address is rollyocampo@yahoo.com

Thank you and best regards,

Rolly Ocampo

Unfortunately, I have not received a reply up to now either from Ms. Maria Ressa or from ABS-CBN personnel manning their feedback email portal. 

Failure to defend a person's vote loses us one vote; failure to defend the integrity of the poll automation process could lose us this one election.  Kailan pa tayo matututo?!


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