Let 'daw-es' be held after Mt Province gubernatorial row

>> Monday, July 4, 2016

Alfred P. Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province – It may have something with the row between Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista and the poll body’s commissioners that the Comelec was not able to address the controversy sooner on who should legitimately sit as Mountain Province governor.
        Suffice to say the poll body was able to avert mayhem at the Provincial Capitol here in the nick of time with apprehensive employees and the public not knowing whom to deal with as provincial governor. Constituents and officials had been urging the Comelecto settle the matter before June 30 when new officials assumed office but that is now water under the bridge.
Last week, this province had two “governors” after the vice governor and a “non-candidate” took their oath.  Re-electionist Vice Gov. BonifacioLacwasan Jr. took his oath as vice governor then as governor June 30 while Kathy Jyll Mayaen-Luis daughter of the late Gov. Leonard Mayaen, took her oath as governor a day earlier despite legal suits against her.
         Lacwasan said earlier he will sit as provincial governor even   as former Mountain Province Elections supervisor Elenita Tabangin-Capuyan said unless Comelec grants an injunction, Mayaen-Luis should be recognized as governor. The Comelec granted the injunction ordering Mayaen-Luis not to assume office as governor giving mandate to Lacwasan to assume the position  
At presstime, Lacwasan had occupied the governor’s office while Mayaen-Luis reportedly conceded to the Comelec rule and was nowhere to be found.
         That was a hard lesson for Mayaen-Luis, according to observers who said should not have filed to substitute her father, the late Gov. Leonard Mayaenwho died March 31 due to cardiac arrest after filing his candidacy for governor in the May polls.
         Mayaen-Luis filed a petition with the Comelec to substitute for her father as gubernatorial bet during the May elections but this was denied by the poll body. The Comelec said substitution in this case was illegal since the former governor ran as independent without political party.
        Despite this, the provincial board of canvassers raised her hand as winner during the electoral gubernatorial contest even if it was stated in documents it was her father who won.
Tabangin-Capuyan who headed the PBOC in proclaiming Mayaen-Luis as governor said a hearing by the Comelec en banc will be heard on July 5 regarding annulment of proclamation of Kathy Jyll as governor.
       We wonder what Mayaen-Luis had in mind when she allowed her hand to be raised by the PBOC purportedly for winning as “governor.”  We also wonder why the PBOC raised her hand to signify that she “won” as governor when the Comelec en banc earlier ruled she could not substitute for her father. Did somebody weave a magic spell on them?
        If a lot of people questioned her “assumption” as governor, our neighborhood perennially drunk philosopher, like the others, said it is because they felt she didn’t deserve it since it was her father who ran for the position, not her.
Basing from provincial constituents and officials I talked to, Mayaen-Luis should  have waited instead to file her candidacy for special elections for the gubernatorial position to be scheduled by the Comelec before the end of this year as announced by Bautista.
Folks say a daw-es  should be held tapnu gawis nan daldalanena (walk the good path.) It would be better, they say, for her to desist from whatever legal options she is considering to end divisiveness her actions caused in the province. A daw-es (cleansing ritual) could also be considered by the amam-ato ward off evil spirits who may have bewitched some characters in this play.
If the Comelec didn’t end this zarzuela, Mountain Province would have had become more popular as a tourist spot with people coming from all over to see how two governors work side by side and how people transact business at the capitol with two governors.
The  Comelec unknowingly averted educational tours or lakbay-aral of officials from all over the country coming to this capital town to observe how this is done.After all this country is not called Banana Republic for nothing.
Meanwhile, it is not necessary anymore to contact officials of the Guinness Book of World Records to enter this province’s distinction of having two indigenous governors at the same time.
Now that the controversy was apparently settled, indeed, somebody should organize a native rite, open a black pig’s innards and let a distinguished am-ama see where the bile is located to determine where the province is headed to.                     Next time this happ ens, a black pig could decide who should sit as governor. Enough of this or we could stray to the remote Spratlys where the Chinese could teach us lessons on how to be decisive in  making decisions – Kabunian forbid -- like grabbing property,  positions or moolah.
On the national level, barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections before the end of this year could be jeopardized with the rift in the Comelec which seems to have taken a turn for the worse, as three commissioners plan to boycott the polls. 
           Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said that she and her fellow First Division commissioners Christian Robert Lim and LuieGuia have decided not to participate in the conduct of the two polls.
In press statements and television interviews, Guanzon claimed that in line with the May 9 polls, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista had passed to them some responsibilities that the poll chief should have been doing. “Perhaps it’s about time that Chairman Bautista run the elections. You know it’s better that he does it all by himself because you can give credit where credit is due,” she added.
Guanzon and the other commissioners may be smarting for not being appreciated as Bautista is but she said they would be involved in full- bench deliberations regarding the purchase of election paraphernalia for the synchronized elections and other transactions.
“We actually don’t have the duty to do that as commissioners. We don’t have the duty of involving ourselves in operations. Our job is policy-making and quasi-judicial but, of course, if he needs my help, I have a lot of experience in manual elections, how can I refuse him?” she said. 
Guanzon said that Bautista, as head of Comelec, is mandated to notify agencies, stakeholders and users about the hacking of the website.But, instead, he appointed Lim and Commissioner Al Parreño so the two were the ones subpoenaed by the National Privacy Commission. 
“The director of the Information Technology Department is directly under his supervision. It is very unfair that commissioners have to take responsibility for something that by law is not their job,” she said. 
Guanzon added they want to focus on the cases pending in their division but that they would be joining deliberations on issues related to the barangay and SK polls. 
                ***                                                                                                                                                                      During the recent polls, Guanzon was in charge of the Local Absentee Voting while Guia handled the people with disabilities and indigenous people and the Random Manual Audit.Lim, on the other hand, was the head of the steering committee and of the Campaign Finance Office. 
For his part, Bautista had expressed sadness over such development as he hopes that it would not overshadow the success of the recent elections.“This is saddening because we were really able to make our elections successful. What’s happening now may cause concern among the people,” he told reporters. 
Bautista also denied Guanzon’s accusation that he was passing his responsibilities to the other commissioners.  
“That’s a lie. In fact there are 26 memos detailing what we have done concerning the hacking,” he said.He said that even the June 3 memorandum of the six commissioners detailing his “failure of leadership” was “not factually accurate.”
“We have to act in a professional manner. That’s all we need. There are no issues that we cannot address as long as we have respect and courtesy for each other,” he added.
Meanwhile, will the Comelec en banc please settle the gubernatorial issue in Mountain Province or a tribal war would commence if a pig’s bile is not positioned correctly.


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