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Thursday, April 8, 2010

2010 Philippine Elections Scenarios

Randy David put forward four possible scenarios for the elections:

There are election-related scenarios worth pondering which could exacerbate the political instabilities that have prevented us from attending to our more basic problems as a people. I will take up four such scenarios here starting from the riskiest to the most benign.

Scenario # 1: Failure of Elections

Instead of a last minute decision to shift to manual election, the automated elections proceed as scheduled. But on election day itself, the system breaks down in many areas, preventing the holding of elections. Comelec fails to put manual voting in place to meet such contingency. Long lines of voters feel frustrated and, sensing sabotage, they vent their fury on election authorities. Spontaneous protests break out everywhere, threatening to turn violent. The military and the police step in to quell lawlessness. Martial law is declared by the President, who holds on to power beyond June 30, and proclaims the formation of a Transition Council to restore order and prepare the country for a fresh round of elections.

Scenario 2: No Proclamation of National Winners

The automated elections proceed as scheduled. But the PCOS machines break down in many precincts in some regions of the country. The results are however sufficient to immediately declare the winners in local races – councilors, mayors, congressmen and governors. But the winners for national positions like senator, vice-president, and president could not be proclaimed because the slim margins could be offset by awaited results from the other regions. The House of Representatives is able to convene, but not the Senate. The Speaker is chosen by the newly-elected House, but not the Senate President. The results for the national level remain inconclusive even after June 30. In the meantime since a Speaker has been chosen by the new House of Representatives, that person can validly assert a claim to serve as acting President. That person could well be GMA.

Scenario 3: Wholesale automated cheating

The automated elections proceed as scheduled. Votes are counted, and the winners are proclaimed. But the results appear to contradict popular expectations. Charges of systematic rigging of the results through control of the source code gain credence as evidence of a pattern of automated adding and subtracting of votes piles up. With no parallel manual precinct count to validate the automated results, voters become agitated. Protests and demonstrations erupt in many parts of the country. The troops are called in to suppress violence and disorder. The President declares Martial Law to save the Republic. GMA holds on to the presidency until June 30, and then gives way to a multi-sectoral Transition Council to be led by her.

Scenario 4: A new government is in place

The automated election is successfully held. The results are accepted. A new government is elected. GMA gains a seat in Congress, and is elected Speaker. Or, at the very least, she controls a large enough block to be able to determine the agenda of the House. A law convening a Constitutional Convention is passed, and the election of delegates to the Convention is held simultaneously with the barangay elections scheduled for October 2010. A new Constitution changing the form of government from presidential to parliamentary is ratified in 2011. Speaker GMA becomes the first Prime Minister under the new Constitution, while the Presidency is transformed into a largely ceremonial role. Before all this can happen, of course, GMA will have to face many cases for corruption committed during her presidency. It will not be very easy to pin her down given the way she has handpicked the members of the high court and the Office of the Ombudsman. The ensuing battle will be protracted and will be fought on various fronts. Once again, political conflict will burden the judicial system. We cannot discount the intervention of the military at any point, especially if civilian authority is deadlocked and is unable to govern and respond effectively to emergencies triggered by natural calamities.

So which scenario do you like? For me I like something that is peaceful and stable.

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