Dear Migs

Buencamino writes political commentary fro Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror June 20, 2007 edition, p. A6.

Dear former Congressman Miguel Zubiri,

It’s time to call it quits. Look at Mike Defensor and Ralph Recto—they look a whole lot better now than at the beginning of the campaign.  Follow their example. Why would you want to look, with each passing day, like the person Mike Defensor warned us about?

Remember what he said?

“I concede to ease the tension on the ground and to dismiss [a] notion that there may be illegal acts committed to attain my victory.”

Your friend Mike’s concession was a pleasant surprise to everyone—except Malacañang and Team Unity mouthpieces who were still banking on those mythical command votes to save the day—because it came long before the National Board of Canvassers began a serious tally of the votes from administration bailiwicks in Mindanao.

He did not want to win through “command votes,” if you know what I mean. He said. “I concede to enjoin my allies and friends who may want, in their desire to have me win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle.”

That “Thanks but no thanks” to the regime’s fabled “political machinery” made him look 10 feet tall.

Your other friend, Ralph Recto, came next. He decided that enough was enough:  “This is the time to accept the will of the people.”

I expected you to follow their lead and bow out gracefully. Instead, you boasted, a day after Recto’s concession speech, that you could beat Koko Pimentel even without the votes from Maguindanao.

Have you forgottem that on Magandang Umaga Pilipinas you said votes from Barira, Sharif Kabunsuan, Pantar, Lanao del Norte and Bogo, Cebu would be enough to beat Pimentel?

Well, those areas, including Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Surigao, have been tallied and you’re still over a hundred thousand votes short.

Now you say, “May chance pa tayo. Malaki pa ang chance. Pero iyong sa akin lang naman huwag sana [i-exclude ang boto sa Maguindanao] dahil sila po ay Filipino. Sila po ay may boses. Sila po ay may karapatan mag-halal ng senador. Yan ang pinaka-importante.” (I still have a big chance. And I hope the Maguindanao votes are not excluded because they are Filipinos too. They have a voice. They have a right to elect a senator. That’s the most important.)

Which votes are you counting on now? The ones that Lintang Bedol said were his work? “Of course, that is my work. I signed that, I testified to its authenticity and to its completeness, that’s why I want it to be canvassed.”

I’m not saying you have a hand in the strange behavior of Lintang Bedol and Ben Abalos but you know there would have been no need for them to do anything if you had simply conceded after the votes from your supposed bailiwicks failed to put you over the top.

It’s your refusal to admit defeat that forced the issue. Abalos canvassed the Maguindanao votes then ordered a re-canvass, then declared a failure of elections then declared no failure of elections “pala”; Bedol delivered tallies, disappeared, and then reappeared only to claim that the supporting documents for his tallies were stolen—although he did not report the theft; and now Abalos and company are going to Maguindanao to see if there are any unstolen documents that can be used as a basis for a recount because he does not want to disenfranchise the voters of Maguindanao. “I don’t understand why you want this excluded. How undemocratic are you?” he asked.

Migs, pardon the familiarity, but one man, Bedol, does not democracy make.

So far, only Gloria Arroyo has had the gall to claim she was elected “fair and square”…by mythical votes from Maguindanao. Do you want to join her exclusive club?

Migs, a lot of people voted for you. Unfortunately more people voted for Koko Pimentel.

But you are young and you still have a future in politics. Don’t throw it all away by betting everything on the Bedol Principle: “If a place is a bailiwick of a candidate, it is expected that his friends will deliver votes for the candidate.”

Accept your defeat gracefully and with dignity. Concede and get on with your life.  And please stop bothering Our Lady of Manaoag.  She already has her hands full helping people with real problems.

Hugs and kisses,

M.B.

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