With due respect to the ever-reverent David L of late-night fame, here’s the top ten list of the latent evidences, often overlooked by them nasty blogosphere nuts, of the virtues, smarts, and wisdom of the officials of the Philippines’ election watchdog (not Snoop Dogg) agency called Comelec. In the usual reverse order:
No. 10: They deal only with smart folk. That’s why the private joint venture contracted to provide the automated election machines is called Smartmatic-TIM. Beleaguered political parties tortured a Comelec insider and extracted a confession that TIM does not stand for “Time is money.” The political party operatives now believe it means “nice but dim, silver spoon in his mouth,” citing an authoritative website. I thought TIM meant Total Information Management, which sounds like the breakfast cereal with all the vitamins.
No. 9: They have pretty faces as commissioners. The Philippines is of course a land of beauty and beauties, hence, our perennial fascination with beauty pageants. Why, one of the commissioners has even been called a pretty boy and Prudence didn’t know. We can’t be gender-biased, can we?
No. 8: They like black boxes, both for tops and bottoms. “Black is beautiful.” Repeat ten times a day, and don’t buy any more skin whiteners or you will have Jejomar Binay on your back. But how can you do the mambo if you wear boxes for tops and bottoms?
No. 7: They promote voter registration. In the process, Comelec probably ensures that the Philippines ranks high in the world among the countries with the highest proportion of registered voters in relation to voting-age population. What better proof that Comelec promotes democracy can there be? The critics who think the list of voters is padded to allow vote-buying and other fixes must be smoking pot.
(Some statistics: In terms of voting-age population, the Philippines is quite large, at about a fifth that of the United States. On the latest available data in 2003, the U.S. had about 214 million potential voters, while the Philippines had about 40 million. At present, Comelec has some 50 million registered voters for the 2010 elections.)
No. 6: They have a nice website. I found out that Comelec has been around since 1940. Its website even has an online precinct finder. I looked for precincts, but got afriendly error message. Oh well.. Perhaps on a better day, you can be the lucky one. But a brave soul gave instructions to the web-savvy.
No. 5: They make it hard for election cheaters to operate. Both cheater and co-cheater have to trust each other in the skullduggery. Since the PCOS machine is not transparent, you can stare at it all day and it won’t blink a plastic eyelash. Of course insiders might know how to fix the machine, but an outsider wanting “in” has to have faith. Not so easy.
No. 4: They repealed Murphy’s Law. That law decrees that if something can go wrong, it will. No less than the chair of Comelec has declared he would resign if automation fails in 2010. Chair Melo also likes coffee, and I suggest Starbucks. Make it decaf latte, bosing.
No. 3: They believe that practice makes perfect. They plan to mail 50 million “practice ballots” for the automated polls. This supports the paper and printing industry, and the sidewalk vendors who will have more wrappers. How much will the post office spend delivering these ballots to the Mona Lisa doorsteps of voters?
No. 2: They believe in God and Allah. Citing both the Bible and Koran, the Comelec decided that gays have no business participating in the party-list system. But the Comelec later backtracked after the Supreme Court intervened. So now I’m not so sure if they believe.
No. 1: They like the SexBombs. Punuin and bilog na hugis itlog. Something like that, or else the votes don’t count. Neither do fingers.