Voting cannot be done in malls; British, Zambian meddling with the BBL

The Commission on Elections should forget about installed voting precincts inside shopping malls in Metropolitan Manila for the May 2016 elections. Whether or not the mall is controlled by a candidate or a political party is beside the point.   Section 155 of the Omnibus Election Code states that, with the exception of private school buildings, no polling place may be located inside any building controlled by any private entity. The Comelec must comply with the law.

Even if the Code is construed to mean otherwise, the measure raises very serious questions. 

Under Section 261 (p) of the same Code, armed individuals, other than police personnel duly authorized by the Comelec, are not allowed near the polling place.   Security guards inside shopping malls carry firearms.   Will the owner of the shopping mall or the security agency allow restrictions imposed on their security guards?  

If violence occurs among the voters while the voting is taking place inside the shopping mall, is the shopping mall management liable for any death or injury arising from the violence?         

Last July, Chaloka Beyani, an envoy of the United Nations and a native of Zambia, openly expressed to the news media his support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).   Beyani said the BBL will solve the problem of displacement among the people of Mindanao.   He seemed unaware of the unconstitutional features of the BBL, or its divisive effects on the Filipino people. 

Just recently, Asif Ahmad, the British ambassador to the Philippines, criticized the failure of the House of Representatives to pass the BBL because of the inability of the chamber to muster a quorum.   Addressing the news media, Ahmad called the situation “unacceptable.”   He also cited his country’s success in handling the separatist movement in Scotland.   For reasons undisclosed, however, Ahmad conveniently avoided discussing the strife in Northern Ireland (a territory of Great Britain) where violence between Roman Catholics and Protestants have taken place since time immemorial.   Like Beyani, Ahmad seemed unaware of the legal infirmities of the BBL, and its unpopularity with the majority of the Filipino people. 

Since it’s discomforting enough to know that Malaysia has vested interests in getting the BBL approved, foreigners from Great Britain and Zambia should keep their unsolicited opinions to themselves.   

Aliens sojourning in the Philippines, including those identified with the diplomatic corps, are expected to refrain from commenting, much less taking sides, on local political issues, especially the controversial ones.   To do so is tantamount to foreign meddling in the internal affairs of the host country, and abusing its hospitality.   The Department of Foreign Affairs should protest this violation of Philippine sovereignty with the British and Zambian embassies. 

Motorists traversing Epifanio de los Santos Avenue at late hours complain about the danger posed by troublemakers hiding atop some of the numerous pedestrian overpasses throughout this major roadway.   The troublemakers are juvenile drug addicts who hide in the dark areas of the pedestrian overpasses and drop rocks on unsuspecting vehicles passing below.   In the process, windshields are destroyed, and motorists are injured.   Drivers of vehicles struck by these rocks lose control of the wheel, thus causing vehicular accidents.   Damage to property, physical injuries, and even death, may ensue. 

These incidents can be avoided if personnel of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were stationed in these pedestrian overpasses during late hours at night and early hours in the morning.   For reasons which MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino refuses to explain to the public, there are no MMDA personnel anywhere along Edsa at nighttime.

Precisely because there are no MMDA personnel visible in the streets during these unholy hours, drunk drivers and those under the influence of prohibited drugs dominate the roadways during those hours.   They violate traffic lights with impunity and use the roads like they were race tracks.

Tolentino may not realize it but traffic management during the regular hours of the day also requires safeguarding the roadways during the unholy hours.   If accidents occur during the early morning hours, these accidents may end up blocking the road in the morning rush hours, thus causing traffic jams all over the metropolis.

Young women who enjoy attending concerts and similar weekend events at the Mall of Asia area in Pasay City should start rethinking their options.   A young female college student was recently manhandled by a male paramedic while she was inside the venue watching the concert.   The paramedic embraced her, and held her in the middle of her torso.   It was learned that the paramedic was there as a member of a first aid team hired by the concert organizer. 

The student has filed a case against the paramedic.   Her friends suggest that she take the concert organizer and the venue owner to court as well.   Parents should think twice before allowing their children to go to these venues where perverts lurk, victimizing innocent youngsters. 


Motorists and commuters who traverse the northbound lane of the Edsa-Kamias-East Avenue-Timog Avenue extended flyover are exposed to a billboard promoting a television program of a nearby TV network.   The billboard shows a young couple seemingly naked in bed but covered by a bed sheet.   Although the image may be acceptable to adults, it is not appropriate for youngsters who may see it from the inside of the thousands of vehicles navigating the northbound lane of the flyover every day.   Ironically, the TV station responsible for the billboard is supposed to be deeply involved in religious programming.   If the TV station management does not remove the billboard soon, the local government of Quezon City should do something about it.

A field office of the MMDA is located right below the flyover.   The head office of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments headed by presidential candidate Mar Roxas is only several meters away.   Nobody from either office seems aware of the controversial billboard. 

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