Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror April 18, 2007 edition, p. A6.

Dear Chairman Abalos,

Your response to the recent survey showing many Filipinos do not trust you was not surprising.  What else could you say other than, “I cannot do anything about it. Some people no longer want to listen to your explanation. So you have to do your best.”

Malacañang is counting on you to do your best and explanations can only create problems.

For example, you didn’t have to explain why you decided to keep Malacañang’s party-list nominees secret.  Mrs. Gloria Arroyo’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalinatal said no one could compel you to publish those names anyway.

Unfortunately, in your eagerness to appear aboveboard, you twisted the law. Your boy, Commissioner Resurrecion Borra, said, “We have discussed it thoroughly in the en banc and we have to follow the law.”

The truth is, as Mrs. Arroyo’s election lawyer pointed out, RA 7941, the Party-List Law, does not prohibit the publication of the names of party-list nominees. It only says that nominees’ names should not appear on the certified list of party-list organizations.

It would have been better if you had simply stayed with Borra’s original line, “The voters cannot know the nominees because they can influence the outcome.”

No one would have questioned Borra’s explanation. Indeed, if the names of nominees were publicized, people will be able to identify the Malacañang-sponsored party-list groups and they will vomit on their ballots come Election Day.
That will cause a lot of spoilage, which, in a way, justifies your order to print an additional million and a half ballots. Furthermore, it will clarify what your boy, Borra, meant by “we need a little extra.”

However, it will not explain why you didn’t object to the National Printing Office’s award of that printing contract to a company suspected of involvement in shenanigans in the 2004 election.

It’s good you purged over a million names from the voters list. It would be even better if you allow the opposition to see the new voters list.

You see, many observers think it’s strange that, based on the last census, there are so many new voters. Not only that, they also find it curious that improbable surges in new voter registration occurred in administration bailiwicks, again based on the last census. I guess most people trust statistical probabilities more than they do you.

You can prove skeptics wrong by releasing the list of registered voters today. However, I know you’re going to wait until the last minute because …well, you have to do your best.

But do you really have to lawyer for those administration fronts as well?

You said, “I don’t know why they are making an issue out of it. Alam niyo, dalawa lang naman iyan e, whether opposition ka o administration. Ang party list ba ay pang opposition lang? Parang unfair naman kung opposition lang.”
Do you know the meaning of marginalized?

Your brother, the doctor who is a nominee of the tricycle drivers’ party-list, thinks he does.

And he thinks it’s cute to say, “Let’s admit it—they have no capability to represent themselves. If they were rich or educated, would they have become tricycle drivers?”

Tell your brother he is correct—up to a point. If those tricycle drivers were as rich and educated as he is, they would probably become doctors too. However, unlike him, they won’t be as cheap. They will not ride tricycles to get into the Batasan.

You shouldn’t try to out-cute your brother.  Saying “You don’t have to be a drug addict to represent a party-list of drug addicts. You don’t have to be sick to represent the sick” is silly. It’s like saying “you don’t have to be an ass to represent assholes, you just have to be sympathetic.”

So far, you’ve done your best. You disqualified the fake Cayetano—Juju Cayetano de Lozada—but kept his name on the ballot. You did not disqualify the other Aquino. You accredited KAKUSA (Kapatiran ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala), represented by a convicted pedophile close to Malacañang and you threw out Ladlad, the gay rights group unfriendly to Malacañang. You agreed the military occupation of leftist strongholds in Metro Manila had nothing to do with the election. And, when no one was looking, you promoted Garci’s lieutenants to sensitive positions in the ARMM region instead of investigating their participation in the cheating of 2004.

By the way, I remember it was your boy, Borra, who admitted to the Senate there was cheating in the 2004 election. You didn’t investigate his admission, did you?

And what about the reported sale of party-list accreditations and nominations by Comelec employees, will you look into that?
I know you’re trying to do your best to prove your worth to those who rely on you. But be careful.
Your best might just make this election our last. And then what will you do? Mike Arroyo won’t be looking for anyone to carry his golf clubs anytime soon.

Hugs and kisses,