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A victory for Leni

In the ongoing electoral case before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Vice President Leni Robredo recently scored a major victory. The Marcos protest cases before the PET cited three causes of action. The first cause of action is for the nullification of the results of the election because of alleged flawed automatic election system. The second cause of action is for the revision and recount of votes in 27 provinces and cities. The third cause of action is to annul results in provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan.

Last month, August 29, the PET dismissed Marcos’ “first cause of action” which was to assail the integrity of the elections. This was actually a major setback for the Marcos case because this ruling dismissed the essence of the protest case which was primarily based on the contention that there was massive electronic rigging and manipulation of votes through the Transparency Server.

For almost a year now, since the start of the case, the main message of Marcos has been linked to accusations of electronic rigging. The PET ruling dismissing the “first cause of action” is a major victory for those supporting the efforts of Vice President Leni Robredo to defeat any attempt to deprive her of an electoral win.

The PET also made another significant ruling which has not been clearly understood by the public. Under Rule 65 of the PET rules, three provinces are designated to serve as simply “test cases.” These provinces are supposed to exemplify whether there are frauds and irregularities as raised in any electoral protest. These ‘test cases” will determine whether the PET will proceed with the electoral protest or simply dismiss it for failure of the protestant to make out his case.

The Marcos camp attempted to increase the number of pilot provinces but the PET rules clearly state there should not be more than three provinces. It must be recalled that it was Marcos who originally designated the three test cases as the provinces of Iloilo, Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental.

After the dismissal by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal of Marcos’ first cause of action, Vice President Leni Robredo issued the following personal statement:

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“Siyempre, masayang masaya kami, kasi parang marami na kasing kinukuwento na hindi naman totoo. Iyong pag-dismiss noong first cause of action parang kinonfirm lang iyong matagal na naming sinasabi. Ano iyong matagal na naming sinasabi? Na una, talagang malinis iyong naging eleksyon. Hindi lang kami ang nagsabi noon, pero lahat ng election watchdogs, sinabi na malinis, so hindi totoo na massive iyong cheating. Hindi totoo na malawakan iyong pandaraya na nangyari noong eleksyon.

Kaya natutuwa tayo na idinismiss na, kasi finally parang pinut to rest na iyong mga questions tungkol sa validity noong eleksyon.”

Teachers make a difference

We are celebrating National Teachers’ Month from Sept. 5 to Oct. 5. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Thank You Teacher.” But I do not need a celebration or a Republic Act to appreciate the fact that I have had the fortune of having been mentored by great teachers who have truly made a difference in my life. I am sure that I am not the only one.

What makes a great teacher? I remember a book about teachers making a difference that had a simple dedication to teachers: “To everyone who has ever sparked a burning desire for learning, expanded someone’s vision of self, made the world a little safer or in some tender way touched the heart and mind of a child.”

I grew up in Bacolod City; and I spent my grade school and high school days in La Salle-Bacolod where my biggest influences were the La Salle Brothers. During my grade school days, masses were still celebrated in Latin and catechism was just memorizing lessons. Then I had a teacher – Brother Gratian FSC – who introduced spiritual songs of joy to our religion classes. This may sound common these day; but, at that time, it was revolutionary. I discovered that religion could be joyful. In high school, my literature teacher was Brother Andrew Gonzales FSC. I still remember him reading poetry and excerpts, from a novel or play, striding back and forth in the classroom. He organized a theatre group and got me started on my first step in journalism – writing for the school paper.

From them I learned that great teachers are those with tremendous stage presence who are able to transform a classroom into a theatre. I remember reading an essay by Robert Nisbet about his university days: “Berkley taught me that a good lecture is as much a work of art as a good novel or essay or short story. I dare say none of the teachers who excited my mind ever actually thought of their lectures as work of art. But they were that.”

During my college years in La Salle College-Manila (now DLSU), I had again memorable teachers like Dr. Bernardo Villegas and Father Piron in Economics; Dr. Aurelio Calderon and Robert Lane in medieval and western civilization; Sixto Sandejas in accounting; and Dr. Ariston Estrada in philosophy. I did not always agree with them; but, they shared a common passion for teaching and challenging their students to “reach beyond their grasp.”

Three years ago I retired from 22 years of teaching Strategic Management in the MBA program of DLSU. I have been in government, business and media; but, teaching has been and will always be the most meaningful and rewarding experience in my life.

Creative writing classes for kids/teens and adults

Young Writers’ Hangout for Kids and Teens on October 7, October 21, November 4 and November 18 (1:30-3pm/independent sessions). Turning Ideas Into Books for Adults with Karina Bolasco on November 11, 2017 (1:30pm-4:30pm). All sessions are at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street. For registration and fee details text 0917-6240196 or email writethingsph@gmail.com.

Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

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