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Are We Talking to the Right Muslims?

Malaya 01.30.15

“Let us all pray that President Aquino will do his best to be successful in this negotiation with the MILF.”

by Ducky Paredes

The clash in Mamasapano was only the second since two soldiers and 18 Muslim gunmen were killed in a clash in Basilan in April 2014.
What brought it on when there was a sense that this country had finally come to a time when peace was possible between Islam and Christianity in the only Catholic country in Asia with the writing and probable ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law? Were we just talking to the wrong Muslims?
One who believes like our forefathers did that “a good Moro is a dead Moro” that came from the American colonizerts who said the same thing against their American Indian is Manila Mayor and former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada says: “You can never trust this MILF. That’s what I believe in.”
The former President waged an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) back in 2000.
The former commander-in-chief also doesn’t think much of the ongoing peace talks with the MILF, citing his own experience of how the group repeatedly did not keep its end of the deal.
“Peace talks, ceasefire…but killings continue, kidnappings continue. What else? We have exhausted all remedies to make peace with them for more than 40 years,” says Estrada.
Estrada recalled that during his campaign against the MILF, the military was able to capture most of the rebel group’s camps including Camp Abubakar which was the main stronghold of the MILF.
Estrada believes that there should be no compromise in preserving the country’s territorial integrity.
He said, “What happened to ARMM? we spent billions there but it was a big failure… We have only one government and one constitution to follow. What kind of government do we have if we can’t impose our own laws on our own land? That’s why we are left behind by our neighbors.”
Estrada also explains why he decided to wage war with the MILF and not the New People’s Army, despite the fact that the latter has been in the country longer.
“The NPA, their end-game is to overthrow the government. But this MILF, the secessionist movement, they want to dismember our country. It was my sworn duty to protect our country at all costs,” he said.
He also hopes that President Noynoy Aquino will succeed where other presidents had failed.
Estrada said, “Let us all pray that President Aquino will do his best to be successful in this negotiation with the MILF.”
* * *
Another former President , former General Fidel V. Ramos, who also served as both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Constabulary (forerunner of the PNP) , says that sustained development in Mindanao—starting with the commanders-in-chief of the AFP and PNP and unswerving determination that will result in a win-win for all.”
Other factors enumerated by Ramos are: inadequate confidence-building measures among the civilian-military-police stakeholders, poor lack of coordination, faulty written standard operating procedures and rules of engagement, slipshod monitoring of the existing “ceasefire,” lack of teamwork between maneuver and fire support elements, poor unit troop leadership, poor tactical intelligence, and lack of sincerity to pursue peace on the part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The Mamasapano incident was likened by Ramos to the infamous 1977 Patikul massacre which resulted in the death of 43 officer and men, including Army 1st Division (Tabak) Commander Brigadier-General Teodulo Bautista.
He noted that the “Patikul happening was not even a field encounter but the premeditated murder of AFP personnel while talking peace with Moro National Liberation Front rebel commander Usman Sali.
“These days there appears to be too much of a complacent, laid-back attitude on the part of high government officials, peace negotiators and even field commanders in regard to the ongoing peace process,” said Ramos, who is also known as the “Father of the SAF-AFP.”
“The advice of knowledgeable, experienced and battle-hardened retired AFP/PNP officers,” said Ramos, would have helped the peace panel in its negotiations.
* * *
Mrsnwhile, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally came face to face – in a basketball game in the United States.
The two boxing superstars were at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida to watch an NBA game between the Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks.
During a break, Mayweather came up to Pacquiao. They met at center court.
They had a “nice little talk” and swapped mobile phone numbers.
The fighters were both sitting courtside, directly across from one another. Mayweather went over to Pacquiao at halftime; the men shook hands and chatted briefly, then exchanged phone numbers.
“He gave his number to me and said we will communicate with each other,” said Pacquiao, adding that he had never before met Mayweather in person.
Asked to clarify if the exchange meant the two would negotiate directly about meeting in the ring, Pacquiao said “Yes.”.
This meeting opens the line of communication personally between Mayweather and Pacquiao, and should boost hopes that they will face each other on May 2 in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao and Mayweather tapped each on the shoulder as they parted.
Reading Pacquiao’s lips in a short video posted by Yahoo! Sports, he must have told Mayweather, “No problem.”
According to a close friend of Pacquiao, the meeting did not end there because later in the night, the two boxers met again.
Bernard Cloma, a close friend of Jinkee Pacquiao, told dzMM Teleradyo that Mayweather visited Pacquiao at the hotel where the Filipino was staying.
The two fighters had another chance to talk. No other details of the meeting were divulged.
It was reported that Mayweather asked Pacquiao that they “work this fight out among themselves – boxer to boxer.”
Mayweather said last month that he’s ready to make the fight happen May 2. Asked Tuesday if that date can finally be the one, Pacquiao – who has said it’s time to give boxing fans what they want – nodded and said “yes.”
When Mayweather said he wanted the May 2 fight to happen, he said Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum had been the main obstacle for it not coming together in the last five years. Mayweather repeated his old charges about Pacquiao not wanting to do blood tests prior to the fight for it not happening five years ago.
He also said he had no doubt that he could beat Pacquiao

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hvp 01.29.15

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

23 Bishops Want to Investigate Comelec

Malaya 01.29.15

“May the next leaders take the challenge of Pope Francis to place the poor and marginalized as the focus of the political leaders’ mission against corruption, scandalous social inequality, and widespread materialism.

by Ducky Paredes

Twenty-three bishops and two priests apparently don’t see the truth about our electionx. They beieve what the fake  election NGOs are selling. They demand that the Commission on Elections revoke its deal with Smartmatic on 80,000 precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines.

In a letter dated Jan. 21, 2015, the 25 prelates say they are concerned with the Comelec’s “holiday rush” when it signed a P300-million deal with Smartmatic to diagnose the machines that were used in the 2010 elections and do minor repairs on them.

“The haste lacks prudence and the amount is far too high just to diagnose the machines,” said the letter of  Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderic Pabillo.

“We are disturbed that many contracts have been awarded to the Venezuelan company Smartmatic since 2010 to automate the Philippine national and local elections now amounting to billions of taxpayers’ money,” said the lette.

It then cited the “undisputed findings by citizens’ election watchdogs, IT experts and other concerned groups with regard to non-compliance by both Comelec and Smartmatic with the election and procurement laws that compromised the transparency, security, accuracy and trustworthiness of the automated elections system.”

The congressional committee on electoral reform and suffrage, led by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, manwhile is conducting a hearing after some lawmakers voiced concern about the integrity of Indra Sistemas S.A., one of the bidders for the extra 23,000 machines to be used in next year’s elections.

“We are calling this meeting to hear the preparations of Comelec on how it will ensure clean and honest elections,” says Castro.

The prelates’ letter was signed by Bishops Pabillo, Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao; Roberto Mallari of Nueva Ecija; Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Camilo Gregorio of Batanes; Jose Lazo of Antique; Jose Advincula of Capiz; Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued; Angelito Lampon of Jolo; Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay, Bukidnon; Bernardino Cortez of Infanta, Quezon; Soffonio Bancud of Cabanatuan; Emmanuel Trance of Catarman; Martin Jumoad of Basilan; Renato Mayugba of Laoag; Emmanuel Cabajar of Pagadian; Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao; Patricio Buzon of Kabankalan; Patrick Daniel Parcon of Talibon; Joel Baylon of Legaspi; Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog; Crispin Varquez of Borongan and Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches.

The letter was also signed by Vicar General Monsignor Rey Ragudos of Alaminos, Pangasinan, and Daniel Presto, Vicar Forane of Iba, Zambales.

Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes says hoever that there is no more time to hold a bidding, so they tapped a third-party provider to do the diagnostics.

But the bishops reject Brillantes’  statement and say that “lack of time is no excuse for such undue haste.”

“Past election timetables were even shorter. Besides, this ‘lack of time’ is due to Comelec itself not acting promptly as they had already been warned much earlier.”

The bishops ask the Comelec to defer the decision on the matter until the replacements of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. has been installed.

“The nation once again gears up for the next elections in 2016 to choose our next leaders who will oversee government affairs consistent with the principles of transparency and accountability,” say the bishops.

“May the next leaders take the challenge of Pope Francis to place the poor and marginalized as the focus of the political leaders’ mission against corruption, scandalous social inequality, and widespread materialism.”

Meanwhile, the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections asked that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, which is investigating the PCOS anomalies and the unanswered questions on the discrepancies in the PCOS results, to give more weight to the reports that millions of pesos in bribe money went to top Comelec officials in exchange for the P1.2-billion contract to refurbish the PCOS machines and another contract worth P800 million to upgrade the same machines for the 2016 elections.

During a hearing of the JCOC on Dec. 4, Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, the JCOC co-chairman, mentioned several times the word pabaon as the hearing delved into the contracts that the Comelec, under the leadership of chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., who is retiring next week, are bent on awarding to Smartmatic.

The actual award of contracts for purchases in the 2016 polls, however  would come after the retirement of Brillantes, Pimentel asked what issues seemed to be bugging the poll body in preparing for the elections.

* * *

It’s never going to happen. That’s what  I believe.

Or, as Pacquiao believes. it’s either  now or never.

Boxing’s only eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao thinks now is the right time for the long-awaited superfight between him and current pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Negotiations have been ongoing for the top two fighters to finally meet in the ring and a potential agreement between opposing camps has never been this close to happening. But as the reported May 2 target date for the bout and Pacquiao’s Jan. 31 deadline for Mayweather to answer are fast approaching, Pacquiao stays optimistic that it will push through.

“I think it will happen, I believe that,” says  the 36-year-old Pacquiao, “If this doesn’t happen now I don’t think it will, so now is the time.”

“If you ask me what the percentage is, it’s 80-20 [that it will happen],” he added.

Pacquiao also said the undefeated Mayweather doesn’t have any reasons left not to fight him after he had confirmed that he had already agreed to terms.

“He’s got no alibi. Blood testing is no longer a problem, Bob Arum the promoter is no longer a problem, now there are no more problems.”

Pacquiao insists that he also has no problems with Mayweather getting the better of the 60-40 purse split.

“The fans are pressuring him. I tell them we have agreed everything. The rules and regulations are not a problem. And if you want it higher, I’m happy with that. I will take 40 to 60. I’m okay with that for the sake of the fans.”

I believe that Mayweather wants to remaiun “undefeated.” Thus, he will not agree toa Pacquiao fight. It’s as simple as that.

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hvp 01.28.15

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Sulat Nang Iba Pang OFW

Abante  (01.29.15)




ni Horacio Paredes


 ”Dear Mr. Paredes,

“Tama po kayo, na si Erap ay hindi kaylan man nangkamkam ng pera ng bayan. Kawawa nga sya ng ipakulong ni Gloria dahil sa paratang ni chavit na isa ring kurakot na politico. At isa yata sa paratang ay tumanggap ng payola sa jueteng na alam naman nating hindi galling sa kaban ng bayan kung kaban ng bayan ang pag-uusapan.

“Buti pa nga noong kapanahonan ni Erap ay nag all- out war sya sa mga Muslim (MILF) at tuwang tuwa po ang mga Army Rangers noon dahil noon lang daw nila nafeel na walang puknat na atake sa mga kampo ng mga Muslim rebels na hindi kagaya noon na kapag malapit nang makubkub ang mga rebel ay bigla silang paatrasin, pero sa panahaon ni Erap, talagang tuloy tuloy kaya nakubkub ang lahat lahat na kampo ng mga rebelde. Na sana ngayon ay hindi nangyari ang pagpatay sa mga 43 na SAP ng polisya natin sa Mamasapano

“Kung tatakbo si Erap sa 2016 sya ang iboboto ko ditto sa gitnang silangan.

“Totoo iyong sinasabi ni Mr. Stephen De Los Santos, na talagang talamak na ang kurakutan sa atin na wala ng takot sa ating batas, tinatawanan na nga lang ang batas sa atin.

“Dito sa Gitnang Silangan ay totoo rin na mayayabang talaga ang mga Pinoy, lalo na iyong masuwerteng naka-puwesto o maganda ang trabaho at malalaki ang sahod. Naku po, akala mo ay hindi na maabot. Kaya laging napapaaway dahil sa mga kayabangan. Kahit naman dyan sa atin, ang daming mayayabang. Gusto ay laging sikat at gusto nilang kunin ang lahat tulad na lang ni Paquiao.  Naku po halos lahat yata ay nakuha na at di pa rin nakuntento. Sana iyong pagiging congressman ay ibigay na lang sa mga taong alam nyang makakatulong sa probinsya nya. Nandyan pa ng mga pamilyang puro na lang politico mga Binay, mga Aquino, mga Osmena, mga Marcos, mga ahhh ewan ang dami, ginagawa na nilang gatasan ang ating gobyerno. Sabi nila, ay binoto sila, tama nga naman, ibinoto ng mga sakim din sa pera na konting datung lang ay ibebenta ang boto. Ay naku po,

“Sorry po Mr. Paredes, nagbulalas lang ng damdamin. Magandang araw po at  more power to you and Abante Tonight,

“Lubos pong gumagalang.” Ricky Del Mar, K.S.A.

* * *

Salamat sa mga OFW na hindi nakakalimot. Kamakaiklan meron akong nakausap na taga City Hall ng Maynila. Ang kaniyang binida sa akin ay ang mhga utang na iniwan ng dating Alkalde na Lim. (P63 million ang utang sa kaiyente sa Meralco) na ngayon raw  Hunyo ay lahat mababayaarn na ni Erap. Binid pa sa akin na ang dating namamahala sa mga buiding sa Maynila ay humingi ng 50 milyon sa isang arkitekto sa isang bagong tayong building sa Maynila. Kinausap ni Erap ang NBI amarked money ang binayad sa taga City Hall, Nahuli ang tao ni Lim at napalitan ng iba.

Sa totoo lamang  talagang mas maganda na ngayon ang patakbo sa Maynila sa ilalim ng Mayor Joseph Estrada.

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hvp (01.28..15)

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Duterte Is Running for President

Malaya 01.28.15


In all of 118 years, only two Bisaya became presidents of the Philippines, and both accidentally: Osmeña, when Quezon died and Garcia when Magsaysay died in a plane crash.  It has been almost 60 years when we had a Bisaya for President.”


by Ducky Paredes


The news that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will join the presidential race and has started political sorties in the lead Butuan City  will surely gratly affect the standing of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Being someone who considders himself as a Mindanaoan for having maaaied someone from Medina, Misamis Oriental. I know that Binay has a following in Mindanao among a lot of people.

Duterte announced his plans for a “listening tour” nationwide which will start in 30 days. This will inform the public about his plans to replicate throughout the country the things he has done in Davao City.

A supporter of Duterte, North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol, said Duterte will be in Zamboanga City and Pagadian before the end of this month.

Another visit is scheduled to Cebu, then to Puerto Princesa, Dumaguete and Dipolog.

But interspersed in between forays in his regional base, Duterte will also campaign in Baguio, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan within the next 30 days.

Duterte shows he is a serious presidential contender as he distributed in his Butuan symposium a two-page pamphlet written in Cebuano Bisaya with an enumeration of all the country’s presidents beginning with Andres Bonifacio of the Tagalog Republic of 1896, all the way to the incumbent Benigno Aquino III.

“In all of 118 years, only two Bisaya became presidents of the Philippines, and both accidentally: Osmeña, when Quezon died and Garcia when Magsaysay died in a plane crash.  It has been almost 60 years when we had a Bisaya for President,” says the flyer attributed to a movement called Kita ang Magmugna sa atong Kaugmahon [We should determine our own future].”

The venue was festooned with tarpaulins proclaiming Duterte as “Anak sa Mindanao ug Kabisay-an, Lider sa Katawhan (Son of Mindanao and the Visayas, Leader of the People).”

Duterte’s wanting to be the third Bisaya president comes at a time when Roxas has not improved his standing while Binay still leads the surveys.

Roxas hails from Aklan in the Visayas while Binay is from Northern Luzon.

Roxas, who lost to Binay in the May 2010 elections, opposed the signing of an agreement that would have created a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in Mindanao in 2008.

Muslim ulamas issued a fatwa against Roxas, deposed President Joseph Estrada, and then senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon, declaring them enemies of Islam and sanctioning votes for them as “haram” or forbidden.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the appointment of Roxas as chief of staff of President Benigno Aquino III did not bode well for the peace process.

“Our leaders in Manila hardly understand the cultural and social realities of Mindanao and impose their policies trying to forge an impractical peace pact,” Duterte told the crowd.

“While I pray for the sake of peace that the BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law will pass into law, I know and you know that it will not appease all our Muslim brothers. The only solution to prevent further trouble is to shift to federalism.”

 In his talk, Duterte’s hour-long extemporaneous speech in colorful Bisaya peppered with expletives tells how he disciplined rogue policemen and cleansed his large domain of drug lords and hardened criminals, while instilling a strict sense of discipline among the population. This  that he elicits lusty cheers and thunderous applause accordoing to  Duterte’s supporters.

“I have to protect two million residents of my city, not to count the hundreds of thousands who visit us for business or tourism, which is why I threaten the few criminals who prey upon my citizens or destroy the lives of our youth, warning them they better leave Davao, vertically or horizontally, for all I care [expletive deleted],” Duterte said.  And the crowd, including elderly women who must have come to the hall from the nearby Santo Niño Cathedral, roared in approval.

In the humid capital of Caraga, Duterte flew in around noon Thursday aboard a small helicopter, and immediately drove in a simple motorcade to the Doña Ynes Convention Center where a crowd of professionals, businessmen, market and transport sector leaders, and students from the two largest universities in the city waited for more than two hours.

Other than Agusan del Norte Gov. Maria Angelica Amante, who hails from Cabadbaran, the town where Duterte’s mother Soledad Roa was born and raised, there was none of the usual politicians in a city completely controlled by the Liberal Party.

With none of the usual florid introductions, Duterte went up the platform clad in denims and a striped red shirt and began a lecture on his advocacy: the conversion of our highly centralized system into a federal political structure similar to those of Malaysia and even the USA.

Federalism as a change in the way wedo things in the Philippines is something that Mindanaoans has been waiting for. In fact, the Bangsamoro Law that is now being discussed iin Congress is based on the concept of federalism, something that Mindanaoans believe is what the region needs for Mindanao to grow and for the country to move forward. Certainly, as far as Mindanao is concerned the idea of Metro Manila’s continuing to be  the center of the country’s politics and commerce is the wrong way to go.

Duterte’s espousing federalism as a key element in campaign for a change in our system of governance is something that resonates with most pelople in Mindanao who feel that not enough attention is being given to the island that is contributing a lotto the progreaa ofthe country.

Will Duterte make a good President? He is at least not known to have enriched himself  as Davao City Mayor. That makes him, for me, more qualified than other presidential candidates. If we vote for a crook for President in 2016, where will the country be in 2022?

* * *

To all who remebered my birthday last Monday, thank you all. At 76, it feels good that a lot of you still take the trouble to greet an old man. Salamat talaga.

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hvp 01.27.15



Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Sulat ng OFW

Abante  (01.27.15)



ni Horacio Paredes 


  Kelan po ba tayo makakakuha ng totoong maglilingkod sa bayan ng walang kapalit yung sweldo lang nya ang kikitain at tamang gagastosin. Kase sa laki ng kanilang ginagastos sa eleksyon pano po nila babawiin yun kundi magnakaw at humingi ng pabor at komisyon. Sa aking palagay wala na siguro kase yung ugali nating mga Pilipino mismo ang problema mahirap o mayaman lage nauuna ang sariling kapakanan at hindi sa bayan kilala tayong mga Pilipino bilang Sakim sa lahat nagpapayabang palagi basta sikat di po makuntento kung anong meron at ipagkanuno pa ang kapwa Pinoy basta kumita at sumikat.

  Kaya ang pagbabago ay makakamtam kung ang mga Pilipino mismo ang magtakwil sa masasamang ugali natin at ipakulong lahat ng mga magnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan, abusado sa pwesto lalo ng mga Pulis at lalo na dyan sa Airport…kawawa po yung mga OFW, Turista nagbabakasyon tapos lahat ng kanilang inipon ay nawala bigla dahil sa mga siraulong Pilipino pagbaba mo pa lang sa airport nakabukas na ang palad ng empleyado at sasabihin “kumusta po sir” nanghihingi agad ng Pera (Erap).

  Now Erap Estrada ay napatunayan mandarambong bakit nakalimot agad ang mga Pilipino at nanalo pa na mayor.  Natural lang dapat nya mapaganda ang manila pero yung pangit di naman nababalita..puro pakitang tao lang. Paulit-ulit at pabalik balik ang mga pulitiko lahat yan magnanakaw eh…hay naku..GISING PILIPINO.  Kayo mismo ang problema..magbago tayo mayaman man o mahirap…ng magbago bansa natin…wag na kayong anak ng anak at tumigil kayo sa mga masasamang gawain.  – Stephen De Los Santos (OFW)

* * *

Sorry, Stephen. Hindi ako naniniwala na merong ginawang pkunder si Erap. Sa totoo, ang kwartang  sinasabing ninakaw niya ay ang kaniyaqng binigay sa Muslim Youth Foundation na nanggaling naman sa gustong magpakulong kay Erap na si Chavit Singson na kakampi ni Gloria Arroyo noong mga panahon na iyon. Baket ba kala mo pinardon ni Gloria si Erap? Dahil sa nalalaman nito na walang sala si Erap na kaniyang inalis sa pwesto na pagka Pangulo upang si Gloria bilang Bise Presidente ang pumalit sa kaniya bilang  Presidente.

Alalahanin na si Cory Aquino ay humingi ng tawad kay Erap sa kanilang ginawang pagtanggal kay Erap sa sa pamamagitan ng “People Power.” Baket kaya popular pa rin si Erap at marahil na manalo pa rin kung ito’y tumakbo sa pagiging Pangulo? Dahil marahil ang karamihang botante ay hindi nainiwala sa mga bintang kay Erap gaya noong plunder na binintang sa kaniya.

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hvp (01.26.15)


Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

The Comelec, Pacquiao, Erap

Malaya 01.27.15


“Everybody knows that Manny accepted the terms that were negotiated for the fight, including CBS and his management with Al Haymon, but Floyd Mayweather once again throw the fight because he’s a chicken,” Arum told Azteca Sports.


by Ducky Paredes


An election watchdog (a real one this time unlike that in yesterday’s column that is trying to sell an inferior poll system to the Comelec) has defended the Commission on Elections and the automated election system (AES) amid allegations about the conduct of the last two national polls.

Civil society group Democracy Watch says that while allegations hounding the conduct of the 2010 and 2013 polls were serious, the allegations still would “need solid proofs.”

Several groups have raised criticisms and allegations against the Comelec and AES during the two previous national elections, including the insinuation that the 2013 polls had been rigged to result in a 60:30:10 winning ratio for President Aquino’s Liberal Party.

But Democracy Watch convenor Ford Wong said that an independent study by experts from the De La Salle University last year has debunked the 60:30:10 theory, citing the law of large numbers.

“It is normal for any system to have flaws, what is important is that it has served its purpose of tabulating results correctly and efficiently without any human intervention,” Wong concludes.

He said that the accusers were just “creating their own ghosts to criticize without any basis.”

Wong also notes that while there were minor glitches, the AES has proven to be a better system than manual polls.

He said a good indicator of the success of AES is the lack of system-related election cases in the Senate and House of Representatives. For the Senate there is no pending electoral case, while in the House the pending cases are not even precinct count optical scan (PCOS) related.

“For Democracy Watch, our stand is to further improve any form or brand of automated election system to a high level of reliability and confidence by implementing credible and expanded post-election audit and installing more security features,” he added.

Wong believes that reverting to manual elections is not an option. “Going back to the old ways will bring back the nightmares of election violence, massive cheating and will slide us back to an unstable situation where the legitimacy of elected leaders is in question. This will be a disaster for our country’s democracy and will definitely affect economic stability.”

Still, Wong said there is a need for Comelec to address the criticisms and allegations.

He suggested that the poll body put in place a legal framework should “unacceptable” discrepancies arise from the audit of results.

* * *

Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is unhappy right about now because of superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr, who styles himelf as an undefeated boxer. has not yet agreed to fight Manny. (How can Mayweather be defeated when he refuses to fight someone like Pacquiao even when Mayweather is harrased at NBA games wth the taunt of “Pacqiao! Pacquiao!). Maywather may never sign a contract for a fight against Arum’s Top Rank stable fighter Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd.

Arum says that they’ve already accepted the terms and conditions that Mayweather asked for in the contract, and he doesn’t understand why Mayweather hasn’t signed his part of the contract.

Obviously, there’s two sides of the equation, so if just one side is talking and not Mayweather, you have to figure that something’s not going right. Since Arum, Pacquiao and his adviser Michael Koncz are the only ones talking right now, we only get to hear what their side is saying.

“Everybody knows that Manny accepted the terms that were negotiated for the fight, including CBS and his management with Al Haymon, but Floyd Mayweather once again throw the fight because he’s a chicken,” Arum told Azteca Sports at–bob-arum/.

A legend like Mayweather, a chicken or a smart businessman?

Mayweather isn’t stupid. So it doesn’t matter how much complaining and badgering Arum, Koncz and Pacquiao do to try and pressure Mayweather to sign the contract, if the man doesn’t see the contract as being 100% in his favor, he’s not going to sign the contract.

If Arum wants to match Pacquiao against Khan, then he should go ahead and pull him out of the negotiations so he can make that fight. Of course, if he does that it’ll be just like when Arum pulled Pacquiao out of the negotiations with Mayweather in 2009 in order to have him fight one of his Top Rank stable fighters in Joshua Clottey.

The fight brought in disappointing PPV numbers compared to what Pacquiao could have made had he simply stuck it out in the Mayweather negotiations and agreed to the full random blood testing that Mayweather was asking for.

The end of the month deadline that Pacquiao has set for the Mayweather fight will likely cause the fight not to get made, and it’ll be the third time that Pacquiao has blown a chance to make huge money against Mayweather.

At the end of Maywaeather and Pacquiao’s careers, they’ll have wasted a lot of chances to get huge money against each other. Pacquiao needs to be more patient and look to get help with his negotiating team, because obviously they’re not doing things right.

As for Mayweather, maybe, he just wants to still be undefeated  and this is his reason for not geting into the ring with Pacquiao.

For Pacquiao, he should just fight Amir Khan of England and move on with his career. He may never get to fight the one his manager calls a “chicken.” He may not have to because the way that Mayweather is going, the fight against Mayweather may actually never happen because Mayweather simply does not want to get into the ring with Manny.

* * *

When Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada says Becoming president of the country is “providential” and is decided by destiny, what is he  really saying.

 “The presidency is providential. If it is your destiny to become president, it will come and you cannot do anything about it,” he explained.

I think he is thinking of a second try at the presidency.


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Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

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hvp 01.26.15

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Don’t Change Back The Way We Vote

Malaya 01.26.15


The OES violates Republic Act. No. 8436  (or the Automated Election Law), which mandates the FULL computerization of Philippine elections beginning in 2010. ”

by Ducky Paredes


It was downright silly for groups led by the Citizens for Clean and Credible Elections (C3E) and Automated Election Watch (AES Watch) to ask Pope Francis for prayers to “guide officials of the Comelec in conducting the polls free of outside influence and corruption,” and ask the Comelec to defer everything until after the February retirement of Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle out of a sense of propriety and delicadeza. 

What they want is for the Comelec to buy instead their Open Election System (OES) for P4 billion or P5 billion. 

This self-serving lobbying for OES—actually a mongrel system combining manual voting and counting at the precincts with computerized canvassing from the municipal to national levels—is insane, and the Comelec was right in rejecting OES in 2009. The OES violates Republic Act. No. 8436  (or the Automated Election Law), which mandates the FULL computerization of Philippine elections beginning in 2010. 

            The Comelec did right in simply adopting Smartmatic’s extended warranty. It was logical for Comelec to award the contract by direct negotiations to Smartmatic because it was the supplier of both the PCOS hardware and AES software.

Why entrust such a crucial job to another service provider which will be checking on the machines for the first time only when it bags the contract?

 Smartmatic has exclusive rights over the AES/PCOS technology—the machines were built by its subsidiary Jarltech exclusively for use in Philippine elections.

Had Comelec awarded the contract to another company, it could be sued by Smartmatic because the winning bidder other than itself could only diagnose and fix the 82,000 PCOS machines by reverse engineering, which is considered an illegal act;

Contrary to the misperception that the sham activists have foisted upon the public, the Comelec did not award the entire P1.2 billion diagnostic, repair and refurbishment contract to Smartmatic.

What the agency has awarded thus far was the P300 million contract for the diagnostic work. The repair, upgrade and maintenance tasks will be covered by separate P900-million contracts that Comelec plans, for now, to bid out soon

Both 2010 and 2013 elections were highly successful and proven to be models for computerized balloting in the world, judging from the public plaudits from international leaders and veteran international poll observers like the Georgia-based Carter Center of former American President Jimmy Carter. 

Before the Comelec’s decision to just award the contract to its private partner, Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) legal counsel Ruby Yusi told reporters that the company could sue the Comelec should it decide to award the repair job to another firm via public bidding.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, who heads the agency’s Education and Information Department, has also demolished in his newspaper column the “midnight deal” charge by the C3E-AES umbrella group. 

As for the dangers of awarding the contract to a different company, Jimenez pointed to the “very high probability that the work might turn out to be deficient for the simple reason that the winner will be working on a machine that it is seeing for the first time. Remember that these PCOS machines were manufactured from scratch exclusively for the Comelec.“

He wrote that, “There are no other machines that are exactly identical to them in configuration and operation. Notwithstanding the oversimplification favored by some sectors—the PCOS, they say, is simply a bunch of readily available components thrown together into a box—the truth is that the PCOS is more than just the sum of its parts.”

For instance, he said, there is “a very real danger” that changes or manipulations of the hardware might actually necessitate software changes that will, in turn, “require an entirely new source-code review lasting six months or longer.”

 “And, finally, the fact is that the plan actually falls under the warranty, which was part of the deal when the Comelec bought the PCOS machines in the first place,” he added. “As such, it is essentially just a continuation of the vendor’s contractual obligation to the Comelec.”  

What stinks to high heavens here is the true agenda of the self-styled electoral reform activists in blasting Smartmatic and its AES/PCOS technology.

It was correct, therefore, for Brillantes to challenge Lagman to put up or shut up, as the latter went on anti-PCOS attack mode anew in claiming last week that the PCOS machines could easily be tampered with.

“We invited him to go here and show it to us,” Brillantes said, adding that the Comelec had sent a letter to Lagman inviting him to show it could supposedly be done.

“I said, it is your duty as former Comelec commissioner that you should inform us on how it can be easily tampered,” Brillantes said. “He should teach so us so we can prepare for 2016 especially since we will be using the same machines in 2016.”

Added the chairman: “He was in the Comelec for 10 months. He never said this. He never mentioned PCOS  machines being rigged, which could be easily rigged, that is the adjective there. He did say you can probably manipulate it but not easily. Now he is saying it is very easy and I dare him to show it to us.”

            In its December 23 resolution, the Comelec explained that it opted to contract directly with Smartmatic for the PCOS diagnostics because “time is of the essence” in the preparations for the 2016 elections.

“Note that it is already December and the bids and awards committee has a little more than 60 days to conduct the bidding. So the two-stage procurement is not within the timeline,” it said. 

In the same resolution, the poll body said it had given the diagnostic work to Smartmatic because the Comelec did not want to take the risk of allowing a third-party provider to handle the project’s “highly technical nature.”

“If the Comelec would allow third parties other than Smartmatic to repair the machines, there is a dangerous risk of damaging the integrity of the system as the third party provider may not be able to fully refurbish the machines because the workings and technology of the machines are not familiar to them,” it said.

Lawmakers share the same concern, warning the public about the possible confusion and disorder if the Comelec were to award its P2-billion contract to automate the 2016 presidential elections to an inexperienced information technology (IT) provider.

House deputy majority leaders Jorge Banal of Quezon City and Sherwin Tugna of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list said the proper awarding of the contract for the supply of additional OMR units was crucial to ensuring credible elections in 2016.

Tugna said the credibility of the next elections would be put to question if an IT provider lacks experience in handling automation would be allowed to participate in the 2016 elections.

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hvp 01.25.15

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Tungkol Kay Erap

Abante  (01.24.15)



ni Horacio Paredes


Ngayon pa lamang. pinagkakagulohan na ng mga abugado kung ano ang mangyayari kung tumakbo na naman ang dating Pangulo na  ngayon ay Mayor Joseph Estrada ng Manila sa pagka presidente.. Parang natitiyak ko na kung ano ang mangyayari — mananalo si Erap bilang Pangulo ng bansa.

Totoo, maraming natatakot kay Erap. Ito ay dahil nalalaman nila na susunod ang tao sa kaniya kung saan man niya gustong dalhin ang bansa. Hindi ito kayang gawain ng ibang mga pulitiko; iilang tao ang merong ganitong galing na makakaya nilang dalhin ang Pilipinas kung saan nila gusto. Nlalaman natin na kung gustuhin niyang maging Pangulo sa susunod na halalan na mananalo ulit siya. Nakakatakot si Erap dahil sa malapit siya sa tao at kaya niyang dalhin ang bansa kung saan man niya gusto. Ang karamihan sa mga pulitiko’y walang ganitong galing.

Sa usap-usapan ng mga abugado, ang marami ay naininiwalang  dahil sa wala nang re-election ang Presidente, hindi na maaaring umulit ang naging Presidente na kahit na hindi naman niya natrapos ang anim na taon da nakatakdang termino noong siya ay nahahlal. Nalalaman naman nating lahat ang nangyari, Sa totoo ang isang tumulong na tapusin ng maaga ang termino ni Eap bilang pangulo ay si Cory Aquino. Ngunit, pinagsisihan rin ng dating Presidente ang kaniyang ginawa at naging malapit sila ni Erap noong nakita niya na hindi pala maganda para sa bansa ang pumalit kay Erap na kaniyang Bise Presidente na si Gloria Arroyo. Kaya nga nag-sorry si Cory at naging magkaibigan na sila at naging magka-alyado.

Sa kaniyang pinakita ngayon bilang alkalde ng Maynila, nakita nating lahat na maayos ang pamamalakad ni Erap at ako nga’y nag-abala noong sinasabi ng marami na ibabalik raw ng Korte Suprema si Lim na alkalde. Sa totoo, maraming mga mayari ng mga restoran at bar sa Manila ay natakot na bumalik si Lim sa pagka-alkalde.

Maayos ang pamamalakad ni Erap sa Maynila gaya rin ng kaniyang palakad bilang Pangulo ng bansa.

Papaano nga kung siya’y tumakbo ulit s pagka-Pangulo. Ang kaniyang maaaring paglingkuran ay ang hindi niya natapos na termino bilang Pangulo. Umupo si Erap bilang Pangulo Hunyo 30, 1998 hanggang Enero 20, 2001. Sa makatuwid kung makabalik siya bilang Pangulo, halos dalawa’t kalahating taon lang ang kaniyang sunod na maaaring paglingkod bilang Presidente at kinakailangang ipasa na niya sa kaniyang Bise. (Okay lang kung si Senadora Grace Poe ang kunin niyang bise na papalit sa kaniya pagkatapos ng dalawa’t kalahaing taon!)

Pagkakaguluhan na naman ng mga abugado at ng Korte Suprema sakaling makaisip si Erap na  tumakbong muli bilang Pangulo. Napakalaki rin ng magagasta sa halalan para lamang sa dalawa’t kalajating taon sa Malakanyang.

Baka nga mas magaling pa kung umulit na lamang siya bilang Alkalde ng Manila lalo’t kung ang pinakanguan niyang susunod sa kaniya na susunod sa kaniya na si Isko Moreno ay susubok sa pagiging Kongresman ng Maynila.

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hvp (01.23.15)

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Malaya 01.23.15

After the SC decision, he is saying that Isko could run for Congress or still another post, opening up other possibilities for the former President to go for other posts. Another run at the presidency, perhaps?”


Erap Wins,  PNoy’s Faux PasI


by Ducky Paredes

The Supreme Court has ruled that Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada stays as chief executive of the country’s capital The SC agreed with  the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that Erap  was qualified to run for mayor during the 2013 elections.

The high court, through Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, dismissed the consolidated petitions of former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim—the candidate Estrada beat in 2013—and his lawyer Alicia Risos-Vidal.

De Castro was the chairperson of the Sandiganbayan Special Division that convicted Estrada for plunder.

The SC justices surprised everyone by voting 11-3 in favor of upholding the Comelec decision. Everyone expectefd a closer decision.

The three justices who voted for his disqualification were: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited.

Former Mayor Alfredo Lim and his lawyer insisted that President Estrada’s conviction for plunder and life imprisonment sentence in 2007 rendered him disqualified to run for public office.

Before the decison, the Supreme Court said that it had yet to render a decision on the disqualification bid against former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Reports were that the SC was close to a vote but the voting was expected to be a close one..

The court also would not say whether the case was included in the agenda of the en banc session on Wednesday (Jan. 21), a meeting moved from the regular Tuesday schedule following the holiday declarations due to the Papal visit.

Rumors about a possible decision on the Estrada case have been the talk of Manila since December, before the court went on break.

Vidal elevated to the Supreme Court her bid to disqualify Estrada after losing the case at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

She asserted that the former President should not have been allowed to seek public office again given his plunder conviction and the life imprisonment meted him for the offense.

Former President Gloria Arroyo, now detained herself for a plunder trial, pardoned Estrada a month after his conviction in September 2007. If antone had asked her, she probably would have said that she intended for Erap to get back all of his rights as a citizen

Lim later joined in Vidal’s petition.

The Comelec rejected Vidal’s petition citing its similarities with a disqualification bid filed against Estrada in 2010, when he sought the Presidency again. He lost to President Aquino, but showed his still strong following as he placed second overall in the polls.

In his response to the petition in 2013, Estrada said Vidal’s accusations were “insufficient to disturb” the Comelec’s decision to throw out her complaint against Estrada.

The ousted President added that the “absolute pardon” granted him by Arroyo had given him back his “full civil and political rights including the right to seek public elective office.

While Estrada has been saying that the 2010 election was the last one in which he would run because he would give way to his Vice Mayor Isko Moreno whom he had promised to support in the next election. After the SC decision, however, Erap is saying that Isko could run for Congress or still another post, opening up other possibilities for the former President to go for other posts. Another run at the presidency, perhaps?

Why not? It would save the Philippines from a Binay presidency.

* * *

A Palace official defends President Aquino from critics who were dismayed at the Chief Executive for criticizing the Philippine bishops before Pope Francis last week during the Pope’s call at Malacañang  last week;

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the President simply told the Pope the “truth.”

“The speech was a truth-telling statement. If you review the entire text you will understand the context. It was a narrative that was historically accurate and truthful and there was no singling out of any personality,” Coloma said in a press briefing.

“It was a personal testimony of someone who experienced the events he was talking about and became President and became the leader of the country that was welcoming the Pope. It was a truthful statement and there was no other purpose for that statement except to tell the truth,” Coloma stressed.

While the President praised members of the clergy who fought against the Marcos dictatorship, he had strong words against those he believed took the cudgels for his predecessor, detained President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative.

A columnist called Aquino an “uncouth” host while a Catholic blogger wrote that he showed “immaturity and insensitivity” in his speech before Francis.

Bayan Muna secretary general Renato Reyes said the President could have taken the occasion “to show humility and admit that more needs to be done to help the poor especially ‘Yolanda’ victims.”

Reyes said Aquino “just couldn’t rise about his own concerns and pettiness.”

“In contrast, the Pope spoke not about himself but of the need to hear the cry of the poor and to reject corruption which worsens inequality and exclusion. He spoke about social issues. The two speeches were worlds apart in depth and relevance,” Reyes said.

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Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Thanking Ourselves For A Successful Papal Visit

Malaya 01.22.15


“Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for the peaceful and successful visit in the country,” said Mar Roxas in a text message.”


by Ducky Paredes


 “He repeatedly expressed thanks to the nation. He was really happy with the warm reception given him. He was very, very happy with the hospitality shown. He really felt the warmth.” This is our President Benigno Aquino II after he saw off Pope Francis at the aiport.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle called  “a miracle” the fact that the Pop’s visit came off withut a hitch and our people were on their  best behaviour.

“This event is really an act of communion, an act of solidarity, and it is a miracle in itself,” said Tagle at Villamor Airbase after the Pope had left the country for Rome.

“And thanks to God and thanks to everyone, we were able to show to the world that it was possible. Communication, cooperation, collaboration – these are not just ideas. They can be put into action.”

Tagle thanked Filipinos, including those who lined the streets to fervently cheer the Pope wherever he went.

“We want to thank the media people, those in communications and the ordinary Filipino. Those who lined up on the streets. Those who woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning but never got to the quadrant in Luneta but still stayed and up to this day,” Tagle said.

“All of us are overwhelmed right now with thanksgiving and gratitude to God, to our authorities in government, in the Church, and the many sectors of society.”

* * *

Personally, I was also quite amazed at the oputpouring of love for the Pope and how well-behaved the crowd was considering that just past week, during the Black Nazarene procession, there were two deaths cused by the unruly crowd that pushed their way forward, trampling on two who had slipped and fell on the ground. One expected that the crowd that would meet the Pope whould be just  as unruly. They were not.

They waited patiently for the Pope to arrive, even in the sun and rain and only screamed and waved when he showed himself.  The crowd was well0behaved almost, one wanted to say, very unlike  Fillipinos. But, there was something aboput the w=visitorthat seemed to calm the crowd, They immediately respected and knew the man who was Pope.

* * *

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it well:

“In all the Pope events, the Filipino people demonstrated warmth, discipline, and faith, making Pope Francis’ visit truly meaningful and successful.”

“We thank our countrymen for their solidarity in ensuring the safety of the Pope: From the thousands who patiently lined the route of the papal motorcade; to the organizations that encouraged mindfulness and helped maintain order during the public engagements of the Pope; and to the millions who participated in the papal activities.

“Without doubt, on this occasion, the Filipino people once more showed what could be achieved when we work toward a unified endeavor.”

The Filipino people have proven themselves world-class in showing strong faith in God, according to opposition Reps. Lito Atienza (Buhay Party-list) and  Luzviminda Ilagan (Gabriela Partylist).

Atienza said that the Church leadership, particularly Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, and Malacañang officials have “in one way or another” ensure the success.

“But credit must be shared with every Filipino, who in spite of ardent devotion and strong desire to see or better touch the Pope, maintained disciplined and followed set rules,” the former Manila mayor said.

Police Officer Jhet Siguen noted how the Luneta-goers – particularly those lined up along Roxas Boulevard and Maria Orosa Street – were very cooperative and receptive to the instructions of police officers. “Everybody cooperated.”

He reckoned that the people’s “strong faith” translated to patience and proper discipline, all for the purpose of getting a glimpse of the Pope who is the recognized leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.

Contributing a lot to the success of the papal visit were the security forces.

Even Pope Franceis took note of this when he personally expressed his sincere gratitude for all the sacrifices of every security man and every civilian during a meeting with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas before the Poope left.

“Pope Francis expressed his gratitude for the peaceful and successful visit in the country,” said Mar Roxas in a text message after his meeting with the Pontiff at the Apostolic Nunciature.

* * *

We have a letter from Pete Maniego, chair of the National Renewable Energy Board and a fellow Valley golfer on our column last Monday:

I’d like to make the following clarifications:

“1) The FIT-All is only 4 centavos not 40 centavos per kWh;

“2) The FIT-All was based on the forecasted generation of eligible RE power plants, which are entitled to Feed-in Tariff as approved/ certified by DOE and ERC. These are the new plants which become operational after the effectivity of the RE Act of 2008. For determining the FIT-All, forecasted RE generation is used since the petition is filed annually, there RE plants already supplying power to the grid, and payments have to be made to these generators already;

“3) The FIT-All is established and set annually by ERC upon petition by Transco.  Adjustments on the rate will be made annually (or even quarterly) depending on whether or not the collected FiT-All is over or under estimated based on the actual FIT payments made to eligible RE plants; and

“3) The RE developers will be paid based solely on actual power supplied to the grid and not on their forecasted generation.

“As the suit is already pending in court and NREB was included in the suit, it would be inappropriate for me to comment in public on the case (sub judice).  Please consider this as a private message between us intended to correct and/or clarify some matters in your article.”

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hvp 01.21.15

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.