Investigate the former Comelec chair
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2020 - 12:00am

I read the news report that 20  months before the May 2022 local and national polls, a lawyer and information technology expert has been nominated as the newest commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). This was in a statement released the other day by Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas who welcomed the appointment of Michael Braganza Peloton as replacement of former commissioner Luie Tito Guia, who retired on Feb. 2.

Abas confirmed the nomination of Peloton, a Davao City-based lawyer.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, “We are confident that Mr. Peloton would serve the Commission with professionalism and integrity in the conduct of clean, credible, free, honest, orderly and modernized elections.”

Meanwhile Shefiff Abas said Peloton is “a timely addition to the Commission en banc as his vast experience in the field of law and information technology will highly contribute in our thrust to further improve and revolutionize our electoral process.”

Now how do we revolutionize our electoral process? As of the last presidential elections, we’ve experienced an electoral process that was clearly highly-questionable…starting with the still unresolved election of the vice president, which supposedly should never be questioned simply because Smartmatic promised a fair and honest election. So who really is our vice president today? It is really Leni Robredo or Bongbong Marcos?

There is no doubt in my mind that this appointment of a Davao-based lawyer is someone who is known to President Duterte. I’m not saying that President Duterte is making sure that the Comelec would favor his candidates by appointing someone unknown in Manila. However, I would like to say this… that I find it very strange that the Duterte administration has openly declared war against corruption… but when former Comelec chief Andres Bautista suddenly vanished after his public squall with his wife Trish who revealed certain evidence of his corruption, yet not a single person in the government has demanded a full blown investigation against Bautista. That Bautista’s wife revealed several bank accounts from the Luzon Development Bank, which is not a huge bank… like Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) or Metrobank, which for me should have been a red flag for the Office of the Ombudsman. But even the Office of the Ombudsman has failed the Filipino people on this very corrupt act by the Comelec chairman.

Here we are preparing the Comelec for the coming elections 20 months from now… but if we do not get into the bottom of the mess that Bautista has done… then there is a huge chance that this would be repeated again in the next elections. At this point… there are many who question the electronic system of the Comelec in collusion with Smartmatic. One of them is my dear friend Atty. Glenn Chong, who I just interviewed via zoom on my television talk show. Chong was pushing for hybrid elections, which we will explain in our future columns.

So at this point, I challenge the Duterte administration to dig into the mess that Comelec chairman Andy Bautista created just to prove to the Filipino nation that indeed, President Duterte’s fight against corruption is thorough and complete and spares no one, especially politicians who benefited from it. An issue as huge as the corruption of a Comelec chairman would have elicited a congressional hearing at the very least. Yet four years into a Duterte presidency no such congressional investigation has been called. Yet the Filipino electorate truly wants to know how Andy Bautista amassed so much wealth?

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Over the week we saw the opening of the Dolomite beach at the Manila Bay walk and bloggers recorded thousands upon thousands of people from Manila who went to Manila Bay to see for themselves the remarkable transformation of Manila Bay from garbage dump into a Boracay type white beach resort for people to go to.

That coastal clean-up effort was seen by thousands of people who went there without any social distancing or wearing face masks. But at this point, no one is yet allowed to swim in Manila Bay until its water reaches acceptable cleanliness and safety levels. Meanwhile, the Battle of Manila Bay is now waged in the internet by people who say that the Duterte administration shouldn’t have spent P349 million for this. But in truth, the total cost is only P28 million and the result is a dramatic improvement of Manila Bay that no one ever thought would ever happen.

This project alone gives Filipinos a general idea that it is high time for us to clean our coastal areas, including our rivers and creeks. One thing about the white sand placed in the Manila Bay walk, it gives our people an idea that if ever the garbage returned to Manila Bay, the white sand will be there to reveal it. So enjoy Manila Bay like never before!

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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