Press Release
February 18, 2010

Nene Pimentel, guest Kapihan sa Senado

1. Comelec under Chair Melo is to be commended for finally dismissing Lintang Bedol, the notorious ARMM Comelec regional director for the anomalies in the region in the 2007 elections.

It was in Maguindanao which is a part of ARMM where the most glaring anomalies were committed resulting in the fraudulent count that saw many candidates of the opposition, including Koko Pimentel, subjected to "dagdag/bawas".

Hopefully, the protest of Koko would now see the light of day for the sake of justice not only for himself but for the people who voted for him.

2. The so-called Fair Elections Act has apparently loosened the restraints on election spending under the Omnibus Election Code.

That's one reason for the over the billion pesos political adverts spending spree of the candidates.

3. Bail for Senator Trillanes is welcome development.

The IPU, through the Committee of the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, has been following up his case over the last several years.

The IPU cannot understand how one can be detained for some four years without his case or cases moving towards a definite conclusion.

I hope that whatever other cases the Senator is facing could arrive at a similar development so that the Senator could start discharging his duties even if roughly only one-half of his six-year term remains.

His continued detention is unfair because there are other ways allowed by law where he could be made to answer for whatever offenses he might have committed. This, without depriving him of his right to represent the more than 11 million voters who sent him to the Senate in the 2007 elections, especially prior to his conviction.

4. Refusal of the government to consider the creation of a federal state for the Moros of Mindanao is unfortunate.

This means that the war of attrition that the Moros had been waging against the government for so long would continue to snuff out lives of our soldiers, the militant Moro rebels, and worse, the innocent, impoverished, and defenseless, civilians - Moros, Lumads, Christians - who are caught in the crossfire.

5. Suggestions coming from the Senate President that the Armed Forces should take over in the event of a contrived failure of election scenario are highly questionable.

Civilian leaders who believe in democratic processes should look for democratic means - not military ways - of solving impasses of the kind that are imagined.

I hope the Senate President does not consider this statement as disrespectful of his stature as leader of the Senate and as uttered "behind his back".

It is not. It is a simple, straightforward reaction to what he was said to have uttered especially on television.

6. The next Chief Justice should be appointed by the incoming president.

The vacancy in the position will occur on May 17, 2010 - one week after the national elections are held on May 10.

By that time, the next president will, hopefully, either be identified by the results of the electronic voting or proclaimed by the national election board.

In either case, it is imprudent, hasty and unwise to fill up the post under the - by then - lame duck president.

Under the constitution, the president cannot do midnight appointments such as the appointment of the next chief justice under the circumstances cited above.

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