It’s just a week before balloting day, four days for candidates to campaign, and with a number of disturbing incidents that appear to be worrisome and deserving serious consideration and analysis for voters to ponder upon, as they prepare for a trek to their polling places to cast their votes next Monday.
Apart from knowing and mastering all the basic steps how to vote with the use of the Precinct Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and finding the location of where you are supposed to cast your ballots, there are things we ought to ponder upon, namely, being vigilant on your way to the voting precincts, feeling safe, secure and bear in mind the many possibilities of unforeseen or unpredictable circumstances on the wake of what had happened the past few days.
Take for instance, those violent and near-violent incidents that we all have to be wary about, namely, the threats to an honest, orderly and peaceful elections (HOPE).
Many good things can be learned that can make the Catholic Church and all churches for that matter, models for religious righteousness, based on what Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Sunday said that endorsing candidates is what the Church, composed of the bishops, priests, and laity, must not do in this election and subsequent elections to come.
In his pastoral letter read in masses of all churches of the archdiocese on Sunday, Villegas said when the Church endorses candidates in elections, "she always ends up a loser."
He said that if the Church supports a candidate, the endorsed bet may win in the votes but the Church never wins with him.
The prelate earlier clarified this position after he spoke in the April 9 launch of Movement of Concerned Citizens for Good Governance (MCCGG) in San Fabian that proposed to fight vote-buying.
Our peace-loving and God-fearing Bacoleños have not yet raised the alarum in so far as the series of robbery holdups in recent weeks, but deep in their hearts, we know they are deeply hurting and concerned about these, notably those in the local business community who have become edgy, nervous and at times irritable, fearing they could be the next innocent victim even in their own home, while waiting for positive development, notably the arrest of robbery-holdup suspects, or even just their identity meantime.
Definitely, it is not enough that a top police official should just dismiss the latest caper as ‘not alarming’ being only meant to sabotage him. This is one example of a pronouncement that should not have come from someone responsible enough to assuage the fears or strengthen the peace of mind among the citizenry.
Definitely, it is not enough also that the blame should be tossed to some minor operatives or even station commanders for their alleged failure to conduct an immediate "dragnet operation" or spearhead hot pursuit against the perpetrators. If at all, this is a weak excuse that will only expose the inadequacy of police readiness and operational vigilance during times that an instant response to crime is demanded.
A top-to-bottom review of the crime-fighting tactic or prevention system must be undertaken to correct the flaws, instead of just tossing the blame to underlings, which is the easiest thing to do, don’t you think?
How else can one describe that horryfing incident Saturday morning when a daring robbery-holdup perpetrated by around seven men, apparently unconcerned about the possible repercussions that their condemnable act could have caused peace-loving Bacoleños extreme danger and risk to their personal safety right in the heart of downtown Bacolod when these armed goons staged that gangland-style heist at F&C Pawnshop & Jewelry, making good their evil scheme, scooping some P1.5-M worth of jewelries in just a few minutes, without firing a shot but sowing fear and life-threatening acts and endangering innocent bystanders.
We are not into the habit of tossing the blame to someone else, for when we do, that would expose to public censure the many inadequacies in the system, and could open a can of worms that had plagued our ailing peace and order situation bereft of a no-nonsense workable plan or a well-organized program of peace and security focused more on prevention than cure, so to speak.
It appears that the Saturday heist was only one of the latest robbery-holdups in this capital city, considering that sometime last month, the same alleged members of the notorious Ozamis Gang have also broken into the premises of Prenda Negrense, which caused the loss to these robbers of more than P1-M who have become almost frequent nocturnal unwelcome visitors to Bacolod and Negros, making a few million pesos everytime they strike it rich here.
I agree with some colleagues that as far as the campaign on illegal drugs is concerned, the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) is best if not among the best.
This is because of Sr. Supt. Santiago Rapiz, head of the Bacolod City Police Special Operations Group and City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, and his men.
At least those in drugs have met their match.
The Diocese of Bacolod through its no-nonsense prelate, Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, D.D. virtually stunned the entire Catholic hierarchy and practically mesmerized the entire country with the putting up of the much-talked-about tarpaulin now bearing the senatoriables under the listing of "Team Patay (death) and Team Buhay (life)," keeping the 10 feet by 20 feet tarpaulin at the premises of the San Sebastian Cathedral, the seat of Catholicism in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.
Despite Comelec’s order to remove the alleged illegal structure being oversized, the poll body was further infuriated when the Bacolod prelate refused to tear down the tarpaulin, and declared that only the Vatican may order the diocese to pull it down.
Despite its earlier defiance of the Comelec demolition order and pending an order from Vatican City, the issue should remain as is, and must not escalate into a full-blown controversy of such a scandalous proportion that could trigger a much more scary and unsavory consequences. The poll body has its own points, legally, and there’s really no need to belabor the position as to who is right and who is wrong.
The campaign season for national elective candidates, namely, the senatoriables and the partylist wannabes have barely scratched the surface of the campaign trail, but already, they sound as if they have cris-crossed the nooks and cranies of the countrysides to be able to declare they know the pulse of the electorate and consider themselves the sure winners. What’s the basis?
Is it only because they are endorsed by no less than the highest official of the land? Or in the case of some local bets, by the so-called "kingmakers" who they think can just wield the magical wand to make even the losing ones based on initial surveys become instant winners?
We hope the political pretenders who think and believe deep in their hearts that they are already sure victors even before they could barnstorm the campaign trail in the countrysides should realize that there is really no magic formula to make them win except through an honest-to-goodness campaign, a good human relations plus a doable program of government, a workable plan of action, lots of credibility, an enviable track record and of course, a well-oiled political machinery that has been tried and tested, among many other factors.
The NHC, through its Chairperson, Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, has practically wrote finis to the controversy as to which between June 18, 1938 & October 19, 1938 is the correct date of the creation of the City of Bacolod, a raging issue that has sparked debates and verbal exchanges not only among legal luminaries and public figures but also among the ordinary man-on-the-street, professionals and academe, in fact, even law students and the average Bacoleños have aired questions and sought clarifications on vital points concerning the contentious issues that raised the curiosity of many city residents.
In her most exhaustive analysis and research on the subject, the NHC chair has brought out into the open a clear-cut discussion of the subject that should end all doubts on the real spirit of the law, notably in so far as the facts and circumstances surrounding all the relevant references on the creation of Bacolod City and its lawful Charter Day, which was undoubtedly established to be Oct. 19, 1938 which the Bacolodnons have observed for the past 72 years before year 2012 as Charter Day of Bacolod and no other.
At the onset of the election season and the campaign period about to unfold, there’s need now to define the issues and concerns that the Filipino voters need to know.
It’s only during the electoral exercise that the electorate gets a full view of what stuff their public officials are really made of, and what they have been doing or undoing in the guise of serving the best interest of their constituents, thereby enable them to make a thorough assessment of whether these officials deserve another mandate and the people could make a wise decision on whom to vote for and who to reject in the polls.
The 45-day campaign period may not be enough to know all the issues in one big swoop, but the point is, they are given the rare opportunity to pry into their inner recesses in serving the welfare of their people’s plight being their so-called public servants. The voters should take advantage of this opportunity to peek into the true nature of their leaders in the service of their constituents, get a substantial dose of how corrupt or inept some or most of their leaders had been, and what they can expect from the men and women who are again positioning themselves to take a crack at the available public service post at stake in this May 13 balloting day.
Despite the overwhelming calls by protesters to scrap the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, the Supreme Court on Tuesday treaded carefully on key contentious issues surrounding the law as it heard the oral arguments of petitioners opposing the implementation of the law.
Particularly on the issue of libel committed on the Internet, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno pointed out that due to the permanence of content in cyberspace - wherein it is difficult if not impossible to totally eradicate published content - the need for the State to protect the interests of individuals is apparent.
"There is absolutely nothing that you can delete in cyberspace," Sereno stressed, adding that it is a legitimate interest of the State to protect citizens from lasting defamatory remarks.
Echoing Sereno’s point, newly appointed Associate Justice Marvic Leonen highlighted the exponential power of the Internet, specifically social media, in spreading wrong or harmful remarks against an individual. Leonen even cited the case of then bar examinee Christopher Lao, who was caught on video running his car through thigh-high floods and became the subject of cyberbullying in various social networks.