I and the rest of the hardworking employees in the COMELEC were the ones who cringed like cornered rats in embarrassment and total disappointment after the Commission en banc’s ‘moro-moro’ hearing on the charges of indirect contempt against Maguindanao poll supervisor Atty. Lintang Bedol.
Bedol, the eye-patched, self-confessed Garci boy; appeared finally before the Commission on Elections Tuesday, and after his ‘not guilty’ plea before the highest poll officials in the land, he came out of the 20 minute proceedings a free man. Free to go back to his gun-toting life in Maguindanao – a place which could easily land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the longest count in the planet’s voting history.
What ever happened to the fiery words that came out of Commissioner Ferrer after Bedol arrogantly challenged the Commission to sue him? To his pledge to make the poll supervisor “cringe like a cornered rat” for “challenging the institution” and “regaling the media with his boast of possession of an armory of long firearms and side arms”?
Maybe it got lost in the Maguindanao Neverland along with the province’s vote tallies Bedol said was ‘stolen’.
From a “fugitive”, Bedol to my amazement suddenly metamorphosed into becoming a “witness” in the eyes of Ferrer and the rest of the Commissioners during the hearing. Bedol, Ferrer said, is “not being penalized”, he said: “The Commission is just exercising its right to compel him to personally be present this morning and explain to us why he should not be charged for contempt.”
Worse, instead of asking him if elections happened in Maguindanao, and if indeed there were, then where the hell are the Certificates of Canvass (COCs), the Commission en banc granted Bedol recognizance and turned him over to the custody of his lawyer slash spokesman.
Why the sudden cringe ala-cornered rats by the Commissioners? It seems that Bedol to them is the COMELEC’s latest version of Garci, a Jocjoc Bolante reincarnate even. If Bedol goes, so will the neighborhood. Because he has a lot of stored potentially explosive ammunition, perhaps even more damaging than what’s in his personal armory.
If Bedol hangs, he will surely bring down all the people who benefited from massive fraud that occurred in the province. This would likely include COMELEC officials, politicians, candidates, police, military etc, etc. Hell, he could even bring down the entire Arroyo regime if he so decides to spill the beans.
And if Bedol is proven guilty even in the flimsy charges of indirect contempt and infidelity, it would certainly lead to the exclusion of the Maguindanao COCs, that would in turn lead to Koko Pimentel dancing the Boom tarat-tarat in the Senate because he’ll surely bag the hotly contested 12th and last Senatorial slot.
I’m pretty sure the administration would never allow this to happen. Smile Migz.
That, to my mind, is the shortest straightforward explanation of Bedol’s audacity and arrogance and the Commission’s 180 degree turn.
One thing though, I feel sorry for Atty. Andrei Bon Tagum who took custody over Bedol. If his client decides to do a slip and vanish into thin air like Garci and Bolante, then it will be his entire fault (see convenient scapegoat).
If I were him, I’ll be storming the heavens right now and pray that his “guarantee” (that Bedol will appear in the next hearings) truly end up being “as good as gold”.
But then again….
Comm. Ferrer clarified that Bedol is not yet off the hook. He says Bedol has until July 17 to answer all the charges against him. Until then, I can only hope that the Commission throws the book on him to send a strong message to election cheats that the COMELEC means business.
If it truly intends to rise from the gutter of ill repute, then this move is a good start.
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