Prints and Traces

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

The behavior of the Comelec district attorney is not surprising.  Certain public officials, thinking that the little authority invested in their official position, also grant them the license to be arrogant.  They act like little emperors or empresses over their little dominions or “turfs.” 

By DON J. PAGUSARA
Davao Today

There has been no let-up in the show of sheer arrogance and vindictiveness of Atty. Aimee Ampoloquio in dealing with the BEIs (teachers who serve as Board of Election Inspectors).

Her actuations speak of a brand of mentality that nurtures an arrogance of power.  She seems drunk with the limited power she is bestowed with as a District Officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).  She swaggers around with that limited power and does not give a damn if she has rammed and wounded the sensibilities of the poor people around her.  She seems to hold very highly of her position and thinks it has vested her with the power of “life and death” over her subordinates.

But, as a matter of fact, the BEIs are not her subordinates!        

But what are the facts behind this brewing controversy between Atty. Ampoloquio and the BEIs?

On May 6, she chided the BEIs and called them forgetful and bugo (brainless or morons), short of saying they are lower forms of animals.

And what caused her to throw these insulting and demeaning words to the BEIs?

Earlier, the Association of Concerned Teachers (ACT), of which many of the BEIs as teachers of public schools are members, aired its critical views about the conditions of the PCOS (precinct count optical) machines.  Some BEIs were also observed to be having difficulties in operating the machines.

The ill-tempered district officer of the Comelec reacted to this by way of throwing the blame on the BEIs for the failures or “glitches” of certain PCOS machines.  And that’s when the unfortunate name-calling happened.  She forthrightly berated the teachers-BEIs as stupid.

The BEIs (and all the teachers of this nation) were deeply insulted by the lawyer with her offensive words and, together with some ACT officers, waged a picket-rally on Thursday afternoon at the regional Comelec Office in Davao City and demanded a public apology from no less than Atty. Ampoloquio herself.

On the following day, at around 11:00 o’clock in the morning, a press Conference was held in the presence of Atty. Wilfred Jay Balisado, regional Comelec director, Ms. Helen Paguican of the Schools Division Superintendent’s office and Ms. Nenita Lumaad, assistant director of the Department of Education’s regional office.  The press conference was spearheaded by DepEd to serve as a venue for Atty. Ampoloquio to express publicly her apology as demanded.

But, true to her arrogant nature, she walked out on the gathering.  It was Atty. Balisado who apologized on her behalf, saying, We recognize the statement as unfortunate and we are sorry for it.”  

Immediately after her questionable exit, Atty. Ampoloquio asked one of her office staff to call on Ms. Marydel Enanoria to come to her office anytime in the afternoon.  Ms. Enanoria was one of the BEIs who joined the picket as a member of ACT.   But sensing something unusual and ominous, she did not heed the invitation.

Now, Atty. Ampoloquio, in a clear show of vindictiveness, has decidedly   removed from the list of BEIs those who joined the picket-rally last Thursday.

The behavior of the Comelec district attorney is not surprising.  Certain public officials, thinking that the little authority invested in their official position, also grant them the license to be arrogant.  They act like little emperors or empresses over their little dominions or “turfs.”

Indeed, as such little empress, Atty.  Ampoloquio would now demand absolute obedience and obeisance of the BEIs who happen to be within the ambit of her little domain.

In her egotistic mien, what does she care if she hurts people’s feelings and wounds the souls of these hapless BEIs!  Aren’t they lesser mortals than she is?

And now, she intends to upset the lives of these BEIs, trying to overturn their pots and pans (Gusto niyang kulban og kolon ug kaldero ang mga pobreng BEI) by dropping their names from the BEI roll? 

Is Atty. Ampoloquio influenced or imitating the former lady President of the Philippines?  Perhaps, the former lady President as a supreme head of State, would be more in keeping with this arrogant and vengativo style.  But a mere district officer of the not-so-competent Comelec?  Is she to be allowed this–this manifest act of arrogance?  Imagine the magnitude of arrogance she would exhibit if she becomes a Comelec Commissioner?

And this brings us to the insensitivity of our government to the plight of the mentors of our society.  The teachers!  Are they given the courtesy and honor due them as the people who are virtually parenting the children of this nation?

Behold what they get for all the hazards and risks they undergo every time the citizens of the country are subjected to a kind of circus called elections!  Is the pittance they receive commensurate to their nature of service as “stabilizers” of our society?

The politicos of this nation would sing and dance and play like veritable circus players to land in the throne of power.  It matters less to them if the gimmicks that engage their mouths to foam with lies and promises would sink the nation deeper in poverty.  What matters most is power and wealth.

We might ask the politicians who make all sorts of clever tricks:  How many elections have this nation conducted since the birth of this Republic with the promise of development and prosperity in their lips each time?  And have these countless political exercises proven true to their promises?  Hasn’t the reverse been the outstanding accomplishment of the electoral process?

Maybe it is good to ask Atty. Ampoloquio herself if her teachers in grade schools when she was a little girl have been instrumental in providing her with the intelligence she exhibits now with such extraordinary arrogance.

Maybe her apelyido would not be Ampoloquio but Am.BULOK.You, if her early mentors were not intellectually sound and competent?  Maybe, they would also disown her or chide her for becoming the person they did never intend her to become?

Maybe, her own becoming was a natural offshoot of the influences of politicians?  Or of Comelec’s own shortcomings?  Not to say incompetence?  Or inefficiency?  Or obeisance to the powers-that-be?

Don J. Pagusara is a native of Mindanao, a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee.

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