By: Alvin Gz. Arpon
Leyte Samar Daily Express
“Jose Nick Mendros, (Region COMELEC Regional Director had said allegations of fraud in Biliran were an insult to the poll body and voters.” (Phil. Daily Inquirer, January 19, 2011 issue, page 20).
This is in connection with the poll protest lodged by former Representative Atty. Glenn Chong against Dr. Roger Espina the proclaimed winner in the congressional race of 2010. This protest is actively supported by the Sisters of the Christian Community, a Roman Catholic congregation in Naval, Biliran.
I hope that Director Mendros was wrongly quoted or as they say, quoted out of context, otherwise it quite reveals the director’s bias on the protest issue. For one, the nuns’ concerns are within the ambit of legal parameters in exercising their constitutional right to express their convictions and belief on matters of public impact especially on alleged election anomalies in 2010 in that island province of Biliran.
Apparently Sister Erlinda Lanigao and her fellow nuns are inspired by the support of many people in the province who voluntarily pitched in their hard-earned pesos to underwrite the protest that has accumulated to about or over P1 million. If true, this is quite touching. We learned that those who gave were ordinary people, small- time vendors and men on the street, so to speak.
Director Mendros would be of great help not only to the protestants but to the proclaimed winners as well if the case is allowed to go unhampered. If the cloud of a doubtful win shall have been erased then the Espinas can face anybody and look at them straight to their eyes and rule the province there on!
Otherwise if protestants can prove the elections to have been manipulated and have thwarted the will of the electorates it shall be a victory to what is right, moral and righteous then people will rally all-out support to the cause Glenn Chong advocates and eventually that will re-down to the welfare of Biliranons to include those who did not vote for him.
Electoral protests are legitimate (legal) moves for any candidate who claims electoral frauds. It is even mind-boggling why protestants walk this lonely path of election protests in spite of knowing that such is an uphill climb as what have been known in the past. Great courage, I say to the people of Biliran and the “losing candidate”, Atty. Glenn Chong!!.
It never was an insult to the poll body, nor the voters as claimed by the COMELEC Regional Director. He knows that it is part of an electoral process enshrined in our democratic systems relative to elections. Director Mendros should even encourage it in order to prop-up the at times declining image of COMELEC. That image got smeared especially during the incumbency of Benjamin Abalos, who was the chairman when this country experienced living under a controversial president whose alleged manipulated electoral victory in 2004 may yet be probed under PNoy.