Vote God on May 10, 2010

Will you vote (presidentialCandidate) or (anotherPresidentialcandidate)? A good friend from my hometown in Mindanao asked me through text (SMS).

Unfortunately, he only mentioned two names. There are 9 presidential candidates to choose. Apparently, only the very popular candidates are usually mentioned. Because I know that he knows I am vocal on my support to one presidential candidate, I suspect he wanted to engage another lengthy campaign discussions. I think of another thing. I want to share to him about Vote God advocacy.

So I replied: I will vote God on May 10!

I just read fellow Cebu blogger’s post about election, Vote God this Philippine Elections 2010.

Vote God

Intriguing indeed! How can we vote God who is not even a candidate? In Vernon’s article he suggested (which inspire me),

Look to your conscience and choose the way of GOD! Do not just listen or even take the word of these aspiring public servants but instead do your research and I encourage you to use this L-A-S-E-R test as your guide.

Another blogger who mentioned about Vote God crafted the striking truth when she wrote that deciding who to vote lies in our minds, hearts, and hands. Isn’t her post Let’s Vote God sounds equally intriguing as Vernon’s?

Recently, I wrote and I asked, Do your candidates pass the LASER test for Election 2010? In that post, I mentioned about Vote God campaign by the Dilaab Foundation.

What is Vote God?

Going back to my friend. As expected my friend exploded with quick reactions. Unsa na nga klase nga joke bai?

Of course you know that I was not kidding. Later my friend understood what I meant. Thanks to God and thanks to Skype. (smile)

Vote God, as described, is a

[..] faith-impelled advocacy which hopes to infuse the electoral process with Christian values and for the discerning bloc to muster enough moral courage to choose good over evil, even the lesser evil, during the elections.

It is choosing the way of  God!

I think you are also eager to know about Vote God. Instead of copying and pasting the Frequently Asked Questions about Vote God, I would point to you the primary source. Please visit http://www.votegod.net.

On Election 2010: Choose the Way of God

In a pamphlet, Cockfight, Horserace, Boxing Match (Why Elections are Covered as Sport) published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (2004), journalist Sheila Coronel wrote:

Philippine elections have always been intense political exercises. […] No other event can mobilize so many citizens in such a concentrated period of time as election can.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) observed:

[The] Philippine politics – the way it is practised – has been most hurtful of us as a people. It is possibly the biggest bane in our life as a nation and the most pernicious obstacle to our achieving of full human development.

(stated in 1997 Pastoral Exhortation on Politics)

The Vote God campaign launched recently by the Dilaab Foundation serve as our guide on May 10, 2010.  It calls us to take roles on the most intense political exercises we have in this country. Instead of hurting each other; instead of shaming each other; we can work together to make election the most pleasant experience for all of us.

If you have seen the video I shared in An Election without Vote Buying, you have witnessed how the people in Calidngan in Carcar City, Cebu was transformed. Why they succeed? The reason is simple. The people in Calidngan choose the way of God.

Vote God

Together, let us take roles for a clean, honest, and peaceful election. Let us choose the way of God.

An Election without Vote Buying

An election in the Philippines without vote buying happened recently. Thanks to the people who continue to believe and continue to have faith. Thanks to God.

I used to believe that vote buying cannot be eradicated unless people are totally wiped out. I’m felt so sorry for this wrong thoughts.

When I saw the video on the case of Calidngan. I felt the shame to myself. There was a moment of guilt. Then, I was inspired and felt blessed.

Calidngan is a mountain barangay nine kilometers away from Carcar City, Cebu and 40 km away from Cebu City. The main way of living there is farming. The people in Calidngan prove that an election without vote buying is possible. Please watch this video.

Small beginnings – The Calidngan Story Part 1

Small beginnings – The Calidngan Story Part 2

Let’s continue to believe on small beginnings. Now tell me, it is possible that we can have an election without vote buying? Yes, it is. Yes we can.

Bias in media’s 2010 campaign coverage?

There is an active discussion on how media cover the 2010 elections. Even before the campaign period, there were already talks that some journalists, and even media network are bias to certain candidates.

I have noticed this too. And this practically happened in 2004 election coverage. Everything has just been replicated, and worsen I think.

I did not stop myself to share my observations to my Facebook friends. As expcted, I got different reactions especially when I mentioned the word bias.

The word bias is bias in itself. It is very difficult to prove. But it can be easily felt by viewers and readers. Bias is a highly disputed word.

A good friend reminded me that I might have found certain journalists as bias because the story angle is not favorable to my candidate. In part, he is right. But of course I should not be complianing if I feel there is a balance treatment. Again, the balance treatment that I mention an equally disputed word.

This reminds me of Cesar Baldicantos, the editor of now defunct Tingog Misamis. In a talk to reporters and student interns, he told the story of the frogs in the well. It was really relevant so let me share it here.

The frogs in the well

There were frogs inside the dried well. They were talking how the sky really looked like. It was daytime so they saw the clear blue sky. Some of them believed that the sky was more than just a blue thing, so they initiated an investigation.

They asked one frog to climbed to see what the sky really looked like. When the frog came back he told the group that the sky was not really a circular blue thing but a very wide blue space with some white cotton and foamy things on it.

It was unbelievable to other frogs so they sent another one. When the second frog came back, he told that the sky was really very wide but not really a blue one. It looked like a darkened space with some part looked like bloody painting.

As expected, other frogs doubted. The third frog was sent to investigate further. When the third frog came back, it was furious because the things he heard from other frogs were different from what he saw. The sky was actually a big black space dotted with sparking white thing with a big white circular disk.

This cause heated argument among the frogs inside the dried well.

What is the relevance?

Well, you know that each of the frog was telling the truth. The truths they knew were just not enough.

We can learn many lessons from the frogs. And I think this reminds you of the story, The Blind men and the Elephant.

There differences are that our journalists are not frogs nor the blind men. Of course they are neither omnipotent to see everything. But they know how to play with information and present them to us meaningfully. That’s their profession and that’s a very noble profession.

Why I am saying there is bias? It is because my biased belief is strongly pointing that the reporters who are reporting bias reports know that they are favoring something or someone. I can understand it if there is no spinning of information. And if the cause of that bias is human limitation.

Another point that I wish to convey is the disclosure of media. This will surely stop the accusation if being bias. For example, some TV networks and newspaper are claiming that their news is balanced; that they are for the truth; but their reports are highly favorable to a particular candidate and political party. So where is objectivity there? If they only reveal to public that they are supporting that candidate, why should the public accuse them as bias?

I contribute to Blogwatch.ph. All contributors are asked to disclose political affiliations and whom they are supporting (not necessarily campaigning for). The reason is very logical. It help readers to intellectually sift information. No one can claim that Blogwatch is bias towards one candidate. Here is my disclosure at Blogwatch.ph.

What we want?

We simply want one thing from our media during this election coverage. No spin. No bias.

Of course I know that this is not simple as it is. Media also need to survive. Media has owners and some owners are political backers. So what can an ordinary reporter do when the owner is wanting something else? This is a very difficult question and less-tackled one.

You can accuse me of being bias here if I am the only person who tells you about this observation (on media bias). There are lot of us. But please check also why some journalists and networks are not accused of being bias. I think, it makes sense to ask why FROG A is tagged as bias and why FROG B is not tagged as bias.

But again and again, we are not frogs and we are not blind men. And we don’t have elephants here. We have many dried wells. Share your thoughts!

Joey De Venecia III: From whistle-blower to Senator?

Jose “Joey” De Venecia III aimed to win the contract for National Broadband Network (NBN). He lost. Not enough, he was grilled in a national controversy! That changed the life of Joey. From being a private individual to a public figure. He bid and lost in a business contract. Now he is dreaming to become a senator.

Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy as newest member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of Former President Erap Estrada.

About the image: Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy at the COMELEC. He is running (as newest party member) under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Erap Estrada. Image is from Facebook profile of Joey De Venecia.

Will fate favors Joey De Venecia this time?

This time, no one told him to back off! Perhaps many are now telling him to continue his fight. It can be recalled that Joey De Venecia revealed, during Senate hearing, that he was told by a ‘mystery man’ to “back off” from the NBN deal. And the mystery man was allegedly First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. (Listen to Joey’s testimony from the PCIJ blog.)

As veteran businessman, he lost in a billion Pesos worth of deal. Now as newcomer to politics, will he go home victorious?

Joey De Venecia was here is Cebu to meet some youth leaders and bloggers. To campaign, of course.

Before I went to attend the meet and talk with Joey De Venecia, I asked three neighbors if they think Joey will win. I got, ambot lang kaha (We don’t know.), paminawon lang (Let’s see.), kinsa man na? (Who is he?).Will they vote for him? I got, wa pay siguro (Maybe).

Who is Joey De Venecia?

Who is Joey? NBN-ZTE deal witness. Son of Jose De Venecia. Apparently, we see him as the one who lost in a bidding and whistle-blow about bribes and corruption.

More than that, Joey De Venecia is a successful businessman. His biography in his official website (joeydevenecia.com) claimed that Joey changed the Philippine business landscape when he founded and launched broadband technology in the Philippines in 2000.

The same site says that Joey de Venecia III also pioneered and set up the first full-pledged call center in the Philippines.

Why he wants to become senator?

In an anti-Arroyo rally held in Makati, he introduced himself as negosyante and hindi pulitiko. (See the video of his speech on YouTube.)

So, he is not a politician as he claimed, but why is now running as senator? Why he entered into politics? Is it because he needs to? Or is it because he wants to? Or because he is now known? Many known people wants to go to politics. There are exemptions, of course.

I asked why he is now entering into politics. Before he answered, he clarified that he is a politician as he entered into the world of politics but clarified that he is not a traditional politician. He entered into politics because he has seen there is a need for him to contribute his expertise.

I agree, he is not the traditional candidate I have meet. during the entire talk, I never heard him sour-graping. He focused on his platform rather than on throwing mud to other candidates.

New to politics?

Politics is not a new thing for Joey De Venecia. His father served five terms as House Speaker. Politics must be in his blood. Still, having not held any elective post, being newbie in politics is undebatable.

One thing we are not sure this time is that if he had already “played” with politicians. Let us remember that his father, former Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr., was still in his position when Joey bid for NBN.

There is one thing I am sure of. Joey De Venecia changed the political landscape of the country. Without his testimony in the Senate, his father could still have been the House Speaker. JDV could still be the staunch ally of President Arroyo.

Was it the turn of events drag him to politics?

The aborted NBN project was the culprit. It was the controversy that made him known.

Joey was tagged as “whistle-blower” to the alleged corruption in the aborted ZTE-NBN deal. But I only see him as witness to the case, not as whistle-blower. I agree with Sen. Richard Gordon who told that Joey could never be considered a whistle-blower because there were many times in this scandal that he could have blown the whistle, but did not. He only started complaining when he did not get his way. (See Inquirer.net report.)

What are his plans?

His TV ads project this message: computer connected to internet for everyone. He stressed that a computer connected to the internet in every Filipino home [will] give everyone access to livelihood and educational opportunities and bring the country firmly into the Information Age.

He elaborated that a personal computer, internet access and information support will have an immediate and dramatic impact on Filipino families [and] would give them enhanced educational and livelihood opportunities that are only available from IT, and a means for OFW families to re-integrate with their loved ones working abroad by commuting on the cyber-highway.

Is it possible? Joey said, this is not an impossible dream, but rather a realizable goal.

After the short talk, in a chit-chat with fellow Cebu bloggers, I asked some of them if nodding of their heads as Joey talked can be understood as equivalent to votes. I got mixed answers. Somewhat the same and somewhat different to the answers I got when I asked to my three neighbors.

The best title of this should have been, Joey De Venecia III: From business to politics. But the title has been written and I opted not to change it.