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Philippine elections: a failure even from the very beginning

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The controversial convention at Barrio Tejeros. Many historians acknowledge that the first election in Philippine history was held here.

Significantly, our country’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, was not elected by the Filipino people. He was elected by his Katipunan comrades and fellow Freemasons in Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabón (now General Mariano Trías), Cavite, a controversial historical event which is now known as the Tejeros Convention. That first election was exercised not to choose a leader to lead a nation but to lead the rebellion against Spain because during that time, the revolucionarios were divided into two factions: the Mágdalo, led by Aguinaldo and his cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, and; the Magdiwang, led by Mariano Álvarez.

To pacify and unite the warring factions, which already have their own respective local governments in most of Cavite and other neighboring provinces (those that they captured from the Spanish government), Álvarez invited Katipunan supremo Andrés Bonifacio to mediate in a convention that was supposed to discuss military matters against Spain. But in the end, an election was held to decide who should lead the rebellion once and for all. This happened on 22 March 1897.

The closed-door election among these high-ranking Katipuneros/Freemasons resulted in the presidency of Mágdalo’s Emilio Aguinaldo (who was absent during that time). The convention chose Magdiwang’s Mariano Trías as Aguinaldo’s Vice-President. Meanwhile, Bonifacio was chosen as the Director of the Interior.

Alas, a certain Daniel Tirona questioned the results of the election. He argued that a lawyer should rightfully hold the position of Director of the Interior, even going as far as suggesting another person for the post. Naturally, this insulted Bonifacio. If not for intervening hands, Bonifacio would have shot Tirona. The angry supremo subsequently nullified the result of the proceedings before walking out from it, declaring that he is still the undisputed leader of the Katipunan from which both factions originated. This of course didn’t sit well with the other officials. The rest, as they always say, is history (Bonifacio’s orchestrated trial and execution, the proclamation of a premature independence, the US invasion, etc.).

According to eminent historian Ambeth Ocampo, however, the Bonifacio-Tirona tussle was not enough reason for the Katipunan Supremo to walk out of the proceedings just like that. As per Ocampo’s investigation, one major reason for the walkout was electoral fraud.

Yep, then as now.

Aguinaldo’s cohorts were supposed to be the first “sons of democracy” in this country, but they proved not to be worthy. Understandably, though, the situation back then didn’t allow suffrage a clean chance. For one, the first election was not even national — it was strictly Masonic. Secondly, the first “politicians” –most of whom were Freemasons– were still being taught the rudiments of republicanism and the ideals of democracy — the scourge of a monarchical form of government which have secured the archipelago for hundreds of years. Thirdly, the Philippines was not only at war with Spain but was also wary of the US military presence (particularly the fleets which arrived in Manila Bay) brought about by the Spanish-American war. But still, the process was tainted with irregularities, a sickening legacy which we still carry on even in this age of automated elections — the new system, sadly, still has the stigma of distasteful imperfections (“birth pains” or no “birth pains”) because a number of Precinct Count Optical Scan machines bogged down; and just when things seemed to flow out smoothly, sh!t happens!.

However, during the American interlude, the right of suffrage as we know it today was born. Technically, the first election that took place was a municipal one; it happened in Baliuag, Bulacán on 6 May 1899 under the auspices of American military Governor General Arthur MacArthur of which not much is known. But the first national elections in which the whole country was involved were held on 30 July 1907. The Filipinos elected the members of the first Philippine Assembly, the legislative body during the first few years of the US’ illegal reign in the country. Eighty one delegates to the National Assembly were elected while non-Christian provinces and districts having their own special governments were represented by appointees of then Civil Governor James Francis Smith.

Curiously, the newly elected assembleymen were no different from Noynoy Aquino who, as of this writing, is leading in the canvassing of votes in the recently concluded 2010 Philippine National Elections: most were generally young (between 31 and 40 years of age), well-educated, and filthy rich. Around 20 had a stint in the Spanish colonial government, and more than 50 were officials of the ill-fated Malolos government.

Then as now, the elite ruled the legislature. Worse, one of the first bills that these pro-American pigs passed was an increase in their per diem salary! And some even attempted to pass a bill exempting their properties from taxation!

Their apologists may claim that they were still inexperienced when it comes to democratic governance, that a republican form of government is not for personal aggrandizement nor profit. But the abovementioned political immaturity metamorphosed into a much higher form of (subtle) notoriety today. Take this one for instance: don’t you find it insanely immoral to impose Value Added Tax on food, a very basic commodity? If you don’t, I guess I am but a talkative, cynic, and unprincipled ignoramus doltishly questioning as to why the poor are always hungry. And then we have the C-5 road extension and the NBN-ZTE scandals, political dynasties, lawmakers lashing out unparliamentary language against each other, and the like. And such @$$hole-like behavior provokes some of their colleagues to become mentally out of control.

This is the true historical picture of our Philippine electoral system. Conclusion: we have not learned much from our past mistakes. No wonder Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville quipped that “in a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

You allowed yourselves to be fooled by emotions brought about by last year’s unprecedented events. You allowed yourselves to be fooled by ABS-CBN. You thus allowed yourselves to vote for a color that has been long dead and proven ineffective. You, therefore, deserve the consequences. You will get the government you deserve.

Democracy –the warmachine of the US WASPs, and a clever disguise for mob rule– is but a sham. And history proves it every time.

Real estate corruption near Philippine volcanoes?

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Thousands of Bicolanos are being evacuated everyday since Mayón Volcano showed signs of imminent eruption a few days ago. This mass evacuation happens every time that Mayón –or any active Philippine volcano at that– is about to erupt. These residents, not excluding their government officials, never learn.

In the first place, why setup residence or even farm within an active volcano’s danger zone? And isn’t there any government policy or ordinance to ban real estate groups from buying and selling properties that are near such volcanoes? I believe the case is not the same with other countries that have active volcanoes. Are there any posh residences and lush farmlands around Mauna Loa, Krakatoa, Mt. Etna, and Merapi? Just in case there are, isn’t it foolish to immitate such a practice?

In Tagaytay, Cavite, one will be able to witness this kind of foolishness. High-end residences such as Crosswinds Tagaytay, Tagaytay Highlands, Royal Pines West, etc., have been sprouting over the past few years. Not that I have anything against a bustling economy. But why sell residential units near a volcanic danger zone?

The biggest question is: why does our government allow this?

To say that 1977 was the last time Taal Volcano erupted is a foolish excuse. Many thought that Mt. Pinatubo was an extinct volcano. And when it suddenly woke up last 1991, the whole world was shaken.

Is there a real estate corruption near Philippine volcanoes?

Common sense dictates that it is not a good idea to buy and sell properties near an active volcano. Yet our government allows this. What a political sham.

Would it still be a thumbs up for the residents of Tagaytay when Taal Volcano suddenly explodes? I don't think so.

Melodic melancholia

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Problems are supposed to make us strong.

We lost our maids. Nobody’s left to take care of our four kids ages seven months to nine years. Our apartment unit’s a big mess.

We still couldn’t find replacements.

Our issue with CHMI and PAG-IBIG Fund is still unresolved. The new house which we bought in Calambâ, La Laguna that was sold to us by CHMI is in danger of being cancelled. We’ve already paid more or less P100,000 of equity for that house. That is what I have to iron out today, the deadline they gave me.

Our two youngest boys, Jefe and Juanito, are still in Bacoor, Cavite, being taken care of by my wife’s relatives. But they’re contacting Yeyette; they said that they couldn’t take care of them anymore. Our two eldest, Krystal and Momay, have to fend for themselves alone in our apartment. We leave them there at night so that we could go to work. But, my golly, they’re too young…

My boss already talked to me about my performance and attendance. My performance is not that good because –he’s right– it has something to do with “dedication” issues; I have a hard time balancing my life as an employee and as a writer-historian. And I’ve been absent for a couple of days because of my domestic issues.

My wife’s performance is also under fire. She works in a call center, outbound. She was given a quota. She’s having difficulty in meeting them. For the past few days, her voice is not cooperating with her. Today, she completely lost her voice.

Our credit card debt is ballooning. I was supposed to pay everything today, but then…

…just a few minutes ago, my wife texted me that she lost her wallet with more than P4,000 and other valuables to a pickpocket while she was inside a jeepney on her way to assist Krystal and Momay in preparation for school.

My wife needed to see a doctor regarding her throat problems. But her medical card is inside her stolen wallet.

Both Yeyette and I freaked out last week because of these problems. We almost separated. We’ve patched things up, though. But our domestic troubles aren’t over yet.

Who will take care of our children? I still haven’t had enough sleep for days.

And then depression sets in.

Worse, the Muse seems to have forsaken me; I do not feel the “itch” in my hands anymore…

Problems are supposed to make us strong.

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