Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Voice In The Night

In a country where many hope against hope, a new hero stepped up to the plate. Disregarding safety, Musa Dumasidsing, a COMELEC designated election supervisor in Maguindanao reported irregularities during last month's elections. His surfacing confirmed earlier reports of massive cheating of teachers tasked to oversee the process.

The teachers complained of intimidation and harassment by political operators. Armed men did the cheating while teachers watched helplessly. Election watchdogs were also barred from the canvassing. Soon after, a 12-0 vote for the administration slate emerged. Highly improbable, the COCs were then questioned and supporting documents cannot be produced. Maguindanao holds the key to determine the last two positions in the senate.

The en banc of the COMELEC is set to declare a failure of elections in Maguindanao. They said that it appears the elections there never took place. But a proclamation of the local winners had been conducted thus proving otherwise. Now questions are popping up as to the legality of calling for a special election.

For weeks, provincial elections supervisor, Lintang Bedol defied the commissioners' order for him to appear before the en banc. When he finally came, the only answer he could give was that the documents being sought have gone missing. Com. Abalos berated Bedol about his conduct but failed to make him accountable for the fiasco. (Lintang Bedol is one of Virgilio Garcillano's lieutenants. He was implicated in the "Hello Garci scandal" in connection with cheating in the 2004 presidential elections. Despite this, the COMELEC promoted him to provincial supervisor for Maguindanao)

Last weekend, things turned for the worst as the gutsy witness Dimasidsing was mercilessly gunned down. He brought with him the secrets to the fraud-riddled elections. The three other witnesses have gone missing too. What is apparent and quite exposed, is the impunity by which political operators wield power. No amount of military might nor millions of watching eyes deterred them from mocking the will of the people.

Musa Dimasidsing is a "Voice in the Night". He only wanted the elections to be clean and honest. Going up against giants had cost him his life. Linatng Bedol it seems is untouchable. Even the lords of the COMELEC cannot force him to speak. I am appalled by the way the COMELEC is handling this case. The palace too has been mum about Dimasidsng's murder.

The authorities would like to even divert the focus to something else other than the election. Am I to believe that his killing is not connected to te elections? The cheats are definitely covering their tracks. Dimasidsing was killed to make an example, to intimidate those who intend to expose the fraud in Maguindanao. The COMELEC in a bid to defuse the mounting tension now wants Virgilio Garcillano investigated.

Dimasidsing's life should not go to waste. The people must now make accountable the perpetrators of this dastardly and cowardly act. The COMELEC should act decisively on this matter. Everything is as clear as day and they can no longer hide behind technicalities. Dimasidsing came out not for himself, he was protecting the people. His death will be worthless if the people do not act. Do we simply accept cheating as a norm? I suppose we do not want to be called a country of cheats.

Another life has been sacrificed in the name of democracy. Dimasidsing was not a rebel nor an enemy of the state. His demise cannot be justified by any label or title. All he wanted was the truth to be heard. His voice now echoes the call for justice. He fought for you and countless Filipinos. Let us show him we are not afraid and join him in defending true democracy.