THE Inquirer story on yesterday afternoon's manifesto signing at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), led by former President Cory Aquino, can be found here. An earlier news item appeared in the Eleksyon 2007 section of the same paper.
This Philippine Star article, which made it to the front page, explored the racism angle. In an earlier media forum, Filipino-Chinese civic leader Teresita Ang-See accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of being "anti-Chinese" by discriminating against Filipinos of Chinese origin. Inside PCIJ has Ang-See's letter in full. The choicest cut:
"How can a Jesse Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee from the Philippines, who was born, bred and educated as a Filipino, elected for five terms and performed spectacularly as a mayor, finally be disqualified from his mayorship at the last minute because of his Chinese ancestry?" she asked.Other pundits, both from the capital and from the regions, added their voice. Manila Bulletin's Deedee Siytangco: "Commissioner Brawner, ano ka ba! Robredo who is also a Benigno Aquino Jr. Fellow for public service is more pusong-Pinoy than some of your Comelec colleagues!"
The highly respected Patricio Diaz of MindaNews takes the Abalos Comelec to task: "What does the Robredo case show of the Abalos Comelec? The commissioners and the chair cannot disappoint friends. Can they disappoint President Arroyo and personalities close to her and her administration?"
This snippet from today's Inquirer editorial however managed to place the whole exercise in context:
Without any doubt, the administration coalition has truly formidable machinery that reaches every corner of the country. The seven parties forming the administration coalition count as members 77 out of the country’s 81 provincial governors, 194 out of 228 congressmen, 115 of the 120 city mayors, and over 1,200 of some 1,500 town mayors.Aside of course from Makati's Jejomar Binay, I wonder who the three other oppositionist city mayors are.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in the text of yesterday's manifesto, and those who came forward to voice their support to the embattled Naga mayor, click on the image for a larger view. It will, by the way, come out in tomorrow's issue of the Star.
Chingkel Juan of the Synergeia Foundation graciously emailed me an advance copy.