Election looms inside COMELEC

comeleclogo_largeThere’s an election coming up, and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is not the one conducting it, but the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR).

Last January 26, 2015, the BLR issued an order that a Certification Election be conducted among the rank and file employees of the COMELEC under the supervision of the Bureau. The BLR order came after the COMELEC Employees’ Union (COMELEC-EU) filed a Petition for Certification Election before the Bureau for the purpose of finally determining the sole and exclusive negotiating agent of all COMELEC rank and file employees.

The COMELEC-EU filed the petition in its bid to represent in collective negotiations more than 4,500 employees of the COMELEC nationwide. It averred that despite the existence of three (3) employees’ associations in the COMELEC, no collective negotiation agreement (CNA) has been forged for the benefit of its employees.

Thus, since 2012, the COMELEC-EU has been organizing all over the country to gather the support of rank and file employees with the end in view of coming up with a draft CNA Proposal for the Management.

Executive Order 180, which outlines the rules governing the right to organize of public sector employees, states that an accredited public sector union or association may enter into collective negotiation with Management for terms and conditions of employment or improvements thereto.

A plethora of economic and non-economic benefits may be negotiated except increases in salary, allowances and travel expenses that are specifically provided for by law. But because there is no accredited employees’ organization in the COMELEC, its rank and file employees has never reaped the benefits they are entitled to in collective negotiations.

In its order, the BLR said 4,538 rank and file permanent and casual (plantilla) employees with salary grades 1-24 may participate in the Certification Election. They will be voting for the following organizations, the COMELEC-EU and the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) to represent them in collective negotiations. Employees also have the option, NO UNION, should they choose not to be represented by any employee organization. An Election Officer was also designated by the BLR to facilitate the pre-election conference and conduct the election.

The winner in the Certification Election shall be granted automatic accreditation by the Civil Service Commission, thus entitling it to enter into collective negotiation with Management.

This is the first time workers of the COMELEC nationwide will be trooping to the polls to elect the employee organization of their choice. But in this election, COMELEC employees will no longer be at the helm. It now belongs to the DOLE-BLR.

All rank and file employees of the COMELEC are therefore enjoined to participate in the upcoming Certification Election. It is high time that we unite all employees into one organization in order to fully realize the lawful benefits that we haven’t been enjoying for the longest time.


COM_TriShout outs to the newly formed association, COMELEC TRISKELION. They had a successful gathering last January 30, 2015 at Bahay na Tisa in Malolos City, Bulacan. In the said meeting, the election of COMELEC Region III Director Atty. Temie Lambino as Chairman of the COMELEC TRISKELION was upheld. Meanwhile, COMELEC Region V Director Atty. Romeo Fortes was unanimously elected by the members gathered as Chairman Emeritus. Dir. Fortes was a Founding Father of the Tau Gamma Phi Triskelions’ Grand Fraternity.

A Grand Salute to all my fraternal brothers! Mabuhay!


COMELEC to the peripheries

“The Church in the Philippines is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of the deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Filipino society, plainly contradicting the teaching of Christ” – Pope Francis, Homily for the Manila Cathedral Mass, January 16 2015

Photo from ABS-CBNnews.com

Photo from ABS-CBNnews.com

A whole nation was in awe and in a state of euphoria when His Holiness Pope Francis, dubbed as the People’s Pope, visited the country last week. Despite the scorching heat and pouring rains, millions turned-out to catch even a glimpse of the ‘rockstar’ Pope in his activities and even along the designated Papal route. Fathers were seen carrying their children over their shoulders for a chance that His Holiness might stop and kiss them. Mothers bore Santo Niño images to have them blessed. Millions more were glued to their TV sets to watch the Pope.

“I felt annihilated (wiped out),” was how Pope Francis described the moments that moved him most during his brief stay in the country. “To see all of God’s people standing still, praying, after this catastrophe, thinking of my sins and those people, it was moving, a very moving moment. In the moment of the mass (in Tacloban), I felt as though I was annihilated, I almost couldn’t speak. I felt very little. I don’t know what happened to me, maybe it was the emotion, I don’t know. But I didn’t feel another thing, it was quite something. And then the gestures were moving. Every gesture,” his Holiness Francis told journalists in a press conference on his flight back to Rome from Manila. Such sincerity and humility!

Indeed, that fleeting moment when the leader of the world’s more than a billion Catholics visited our country will forever be etched in our collective memory. But more than our #FeelingBlessed Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts that, as expected flooded social media the past days; we as nation, should live up to the teachings and message of Pope Francis – that of genuine concern and service to the poor and the needy.

Pope Francis minced no words in asking all of us to respect the dignity of the poor. “Above all, I ask that the poor throughout this country be treated fairly – that their dignity be respected, that political and economic policies be just and inclusive, that opportunities for employment and education be developed, and that obstacles to the delivery of social services be removed. Our treatment of the poor is the criterion on which each of us will be judged. I ask all of you, and all responsible for the good of society, to renew your commitment to social justice and the betterment of the poor, both here and in the Philippines as a whole,” he said.

The COMELEC, as the sole government agency tasked to ensure the right to suffrage of every Filipino, should be inspired by his Holiness’ message and be moved to uphold its duty to reach out to the most vulnerable sectors in our society and make every effort to guarantee that their voices, through their votes, are counted, and counted accurately.

COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia hit the nail right in the head when he said that “the Pope’s message is for us (COMELEC) to empower the poor, the marginalized, those from the vulnerable sectors, by working for the implementation of the principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and free choice. We can then help reduce, if not totally eradicate, what the Pope calls as “the scandalous inequality” in our society.”

Indeed, the COMELEC, as Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle put it, must go with Pope Francis not in Rome but “to the peripheries,” to the sectors often neglected every elections – the indigenous peoples’ (IPs), the senior citizens, the persons with disabilities (PWDs), the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and persons deprived of liberty. These sectors’ participation in elections are often hampered because of accessibility and discrimination. Thus it is imperative that the COMELEC must go directly to them so that they are not disenfranchised of their right to vote.

It is the COMELEC’s duty to ensure a more inclusive electoral exercise. By going to the ‘peripheries’, the COMELEC is fulfilling Pope Francis’ message against injustice and oppression that give rise to “glaring and indeed, scandalous, social inequalities.”

Now more than ever, as it gears up for the May 2016 National and Local Elections, let the COMELEC be guided by the Pope’s call for everyone to take part in “reforming the social structures which perpetuate poverty and the exclusion of the poor.”

Let no one be left behind when it comes to our right to elect political leaders that are, according to Pope Francis, “outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.”

Summa Cum Laude

You lived and died with honor, Jennifer
Never mind those that think otherwise;
Those that had nothing but disgust on how you saw yourself
and how you lived your beautiful life…

Pay no heed to those that consider you far less important
than the lopsided ‘friendship’ that ultimately killed you,
that star spangled delusion that drives many
to even mock and disparage you, each time
the television flashes images of your once beautiful body,
now lying lifeless with your face shoved down the toilet.

Oh how they put you in disdain! You had it coming,
you were a transgender, a prostitute; so you, they had the gall to say,
deserved your gruesome end…

But you lived and died with honor,Jennifer
Dispense with those imbecilic insinuations,
ignore those bootlicking officials that is killing you many times over
every time they dismiss your murder as a humdrum occurrence,
inconsequential in the sphere of our nation’s ‘strong and enduring friendship’
to the land of your killer.

You’ll be passing on with highest honors Jennifer
You never died in vain
For you are now showing the world
that there’s no honor in blind servility,
in dogged subservience to a master,
that tramples, rapes, and massacres our collective dignity.

You deserve no less than justice.



Meet me tonight,
so I can spill my guts
at the table, full of beer bottles,
empty, just like myself;

So I can explain the long and short
of the story, muddled,
like the various versions of me
you’ve heard a countless times;

Meet me tonight,
so that I may recount
what I had to endure
to deserve whatever feelings
you hold for me;

So that I could tell you that
I may have looked the other way,
I still am drawn towards you…

Or am I too late?


Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak

Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak,
mamamaalam ka na pala
sa binubuo mong mga pangarap

Sa mura mong edad
‘pinamukha sa’yo ang kasuka-sukang reyalidad
na kahit ang karapatan ng mga kabataang
mag-aral, matuto, ay may bayad…


Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak, Kristel,
gigisingin mo pala ang buong bayan
sa karumaldumal na katotohanang
ipinagkakait ng lipunan
sa mga kabataang tulad mo
ang kanilang kinabukasan

Pag-iisahin mo pala ang damdamin
ng mga mamamayang magpuyos
sa edukasyong walang kahihiyang
ginagawang negosyo ng iilan

Yuyugyugin mo pala ang pundasyon
ng pinakamamahal mong Pamantasan,
kakatukin mo sa bumbunan ng mga nasa poder ng kapangyarihan,
para matauhan sila sa kabulukan ng kanilang mga patakaran

Hindi ka pala maglilinis ng pilak,
mag-aambag ka pala sa ultimong pagkintab
ng kinabukasan ng mga kabataang
iyong naiwan





Hindi pa rin tapos
ang serye ng mga aftershocks,
pagkatapos ng lindol
na nagmula sa
anterior ng vertebral column
at posterior ng sternum

Kinulang yata
ang papel at tinta
ng seismograph
sa tindi ng yugyog

Malamang ay hindi naapuhap
ni Charles Richter na
maaaring lumampas
sa iskala ang lakas
ng pag-uga

Mataas at malakas
ang tsunami na idinulot
ngunit wala itong nalunod, nalubog
na mga ala-ala at paalala

Malakas din ang
naganap na pagyanig
ngunit wala itong ibinuwal
na mga istrukturang
nagpapaalala sa mga ala-ala

Walang sinabi ang yanig,
walang sinabi ang rumagasang tubig
at inaalmusal na lamang ngayon ang mga aftershocks

Si Lucy sa alapaap, may mga diyamante

Nahuli ako sa pagpasok ko sa opisina kahapon, Lucy.

Kasi naman, usad pagong ang andar ng tren. Nanakit pa nga ang likod ko, nangalay ang binti’t braso sa tagal kong nakatayo sa siksikang bagon.

Hindi tuloy maiwasang maglabasan ang inis at init ng ulo ng maseselang pasahero na nakasakay ko sa tren kahapon. May nagreklamong ginawa na daw siyang sandalan ng isang Mama, may isang matandang babae na biglang nagsisigaw dahil naiipit na siya ng mga lalaking nakakuha ng puwesto malapit sa pinto.

Halos umapaw  na sa tao ang lahat ng madaanan naming istasyon ng LRT, Lucy. ‘Yun pala, hanggang Gil Puyat lang daw ang biyahe ng mga tren! Sunod sunod nga ang paghingi ng paumanhin ng drayber sa maya’t mayang pagtigil dahil mayroon pang tren sa unahan.

Nalaman ko lang ang dahilan kung bakit ang bagal ng operasyon ng LRT nang marinig ko ang katabi kong babae na may kausap sa telepono, boyfriend niya yata. “May nagpakamatay daw, nagpasagasa sa tren,” galit na sabi ng dalaga, sabay dagdag ng, “Letse, yan… Sana sa Tuesday na lang siya nagpakamatay para off ko!”

Parang ayaw ko pa ngang maniwala non, kaya nag-text pa ako sa kaopisina ko kung totoo ngang may nagpakamatay. Oo nga daw, at alas-singko y medya pa daw nangyari. Pasado alas-nuebe na rin nang makarating ang sinasakyan kong tren sa Carriedo Station hirap na hirap pa nga akong lumabas, sa dami ng tao

Ikaw pala yung tumalon sa riles at nagpasagasa sa paparating na tren, Lucy.

Siguro hindi mo nabasa ‘yung iniulat ng gubyerno na tumaas daw ng 5.9% ang ekonomiya ng bansa. Maintindihan mo kaya ‘yung pinagyabang na “ good macroeconomic fundamentals” ng Bangko Sentral? Aayon ka kaya na bansag na “Asia’s bright spot” na raw ang Pilipinas pagdating ekonomiya?

Lucy, alam mo bang nag-tweet pa ang pinuno ng LRTA na naka-pajama ka lang at parang hospital gown daw ang iyong suot? Siguro kasi may iniinda kang tumor sa kaliwang bahagi ng iyong mukha…

Siguro aligaga ka kung saang kamay ng Diyos mo kakamutin ang panggastos sa pagpapa-opera…
Siguro napilitan kang tumakas sa ospital sa mahal ng bayarin…
Siguro hindi mo na nakayanan ang sobrang kahirapan…

Siguro nga.

Pero hindi bale Lucy, nasa alapaap ka na ngayon
Diyan, hindi mo na poproblemahin ang sakit mo
Hindi ka na magugutom, hindi ka na mahihirapan

Inihatid ka na ng ‘tren’ sa alapaap, Lucy
Maisusuot mo na rin ang mga pangarap mong diyamante…


Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties,
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes
– Lucy in the sky with diamonds, The Beatles