The usual suspects pounced on Comelec chairman Melo’s statement noting a possible no-election scenario (or No-El) if the automated elections fail. They conjured a scenario where a No-El event leads to confusion and a lack of a constitutional successor to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after 12 noon, June 30, 2010. A caretaker government, according to this scenario, will then be set up by the incumbent president with the support from the armed forces (supposedly led by the 1978 PMA class baron and current Army Chief General Delfin Bangit). During this so-called interregnum–while the Comelec prepares for new elections in 90 days–the GMA caretaker government convenes a constitutional commission, change the constitution to facilitate GMA’s stay in power (probably a shift to a parliamentary system), and conduct elections under the new constitution.
Of course, the scenario is possible but remote. The automated elections (or even a return to manual elections) will take place and it would take an upheaval before and during elections to derail it. I do not think, as the usual suspects say, that the Supreme Court (even if packed by Arroyo appointees) will lend itself to a very political decision to stop the 2010 elections (even if it is argued that they have the authority to do so).
The people will simply not allow the failure of elections. Such a move will result in a people’s struggle to defend electoral democracy. Marcos did it before and paid the price–the Marcos family up to now have not been able to go back to national politics.
What is the current scenario? It is simply the prospective holding of the 2010 elections as scheduled, most probably in an automated setting. The charter change scenario, the state of emergency scenario, the coup d’etat scenario, and now the No-El scenario–all these are in the realm of the possible but still not in the realm of the probable.
What is happening now is the concerted attempt–from all sides–to derail the automation of the 2010 elections, cast doubt on it, and retain the essential elements of the manual system of elections. In so doing, these detractors try to maintain the option and machinery for massive cheating–which starts and is pervasive at the precinct level in many dynasty-controlled areas. The 2010 elections are not yet in danger of being set aside.
Vigilance is therefore called for–in order to make sure that automated elections are carried out and carried out credibly.