Now the real war begins

WHEN YOU really think about it, the only victory we achieved in these elections was in automating our vote. It was in conquering our fears of massive fraud, technical malfunctions and electronic manipulations on the way to ensuring a swift-counting and relatively cheat-free polls.

Beyond that, the battle has just started.

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Dearest undecided voter

In a couple of days, you are about to pick this country’s next leader. You are going to vote for your next president. 

Now here’s what concerns me. Your president could end up being mine, too. So yeah, I give a damn. And this is where my little pitch comes in. This is where I try to egg you ever so gently but as persuasively as I can: Vote wisely. 

You may have an open mind up until this point. Or, you may have your slate already filled but are having second thoughts. Or, you may have your choices made but are still willing to listen to an earnest plea. 

As long as you’re not marching to polling centers wearing all orange and singing wowowee or carrying a picture of James Yap with you, spare a minute to hear me out. 

Consider the person who has shown he can lead this country out of its doldrums. 

Consider Richard Gordon

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Angping’s got balls, but Peping has it all?

OF COURSE it has a lot to do with balls. This is, after all, sports.

And what would sports be without balls?

Don’t let the calm between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee right now fool you. There is no agreed truce between both camps. There is no temporary, makeshift bridge that spans the gulf between both sports agencies.

What they’re doing right now is simply waiting for that big date that will help tip the scales to their favor: May 10, 2010.

Yup, this isn’t just the at-the-crossroads presidential elections. It’s also the elections that could decide the next sporting overlord.

Just don’t mention that to Harry Angping.

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Do we need the son as much as we needed his parents?

I REMEMBER being on assignment for the Cory Aquino funeral. I was standing in front of the memorial park where she would be laid to rest, awaiting the arrival of the funeral march.

I talked to a few people there, like the loquacious Imelda Palar. At the time of the funeral, Palar was 32 years old, meaning she was around nine when the events that triggered the EDSA uprising—which eventually shaped Cory Aquino into the sainted icon of democracy—unraveled.

“I fought with my husband so I could come here,” said Palar. “I wanted to see her one last time. She was a good president. Nobody came close to her. She was clean.”

Cavite resident Carmela Bascon, 46 at the time of the funeral, was in her 20s during EDSA I and was a little bit more aware of the significance of that historic 1986 moment than Palar.

“I was very much aware of the change that swept our country,” said the mother of two. “Everyone was at peace with each other after EDSA. We owe President Cory a big debt of gratitude.”

Businessman Antonio Razo, 51, also marched in 1983, the year Ninoy Aquino was assassinated. It was the martyred former senator’s death that is usually pointed out as the event that lit the wick of the ’86 uprising. He never thought he’d bury another Aquino.

“The difference between then and now was that in 1983, emotions were running high in the sense that people were mad,” said Razo, who seemed to know a lot of people in the sweaty crowd. “Now, it seems like the people feel sad because part of us is now gone.”

“No matter how many mistakes we committed after EDSA and how we never seemed to learn from them, we always felt somehow safe because we had Tita Cory,” he added.

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