We are One: Closing remarks at the 2014 COMELEC Goodwill Games

22 February 2014

To the Honorable Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr., the Honorable Commissioners Lucenito Tagle, Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca, Elias Yusoph, Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, and Christian Robert Lim, former Commissioner Goyo Larrazabal, to the Regional Election Directors, the senior staff, officers and employees of the Commission on Elections, both from the national office and the regional offices, a wonderful evening to everyone!

We have come now to the closing program of our 3rd Comelec Luzon Goodwill Games, aptly entitled “We are One”. I hope everybody had a good time here in our home province of Ilocos Norte. We thank the Comelec and the host Regional Office for choosing, and/or volunteering, Ilocos Norte as the venue of this big and important event.

Sana naman po ay hindi kami napahiya sa inyo sa pagpaunlak na maging host nitong napakahalagang pagtitipon na ito.

Kami po ay natutuwa dahil dito sa Ilocos Norte ginanap ang pagtitipon ng mga kawani ng Comelec sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng rehiyon sa Luzon.

Just to emphasize the massive scale of this gathering, it is well to note that this event was able to assemble not only the eight (8) regional offices of the Comelec, but also, more significantly, the entire bench of the Commission.

So para bang meron tayong isang malaki at masaya (at hindi-seryosohan) na En Banc session ng Comelec na ginanap dito sa Ilocos Norte!

Siguro po sa puntong ito ay payagan ninyo ako na batiin at tawagin ang bawat isang rehiyon na bumubuo sa Comelec Luzon.

Mag-roll call lang po tayo sandali…

Nasaan po rito ang mga taga-Central Office at taga-National Capitol Region (NCR) Regional Office?!

Nasaan po ang mga taga-Cordillera (CAR) Regional Office?

Mga taga-Bicol Region (Region V)?

Mga taga-CALABARZON Region (Region IV-A)?

Nasaan naman ang mga taga-MIMAROPA? (Region IV-B)?

Mga taga-Central Luzon (Region III)?

Mga taga-Cagayan (Region II)?

Sino pa ba ang nakalimutan ko? Ah, oo. O, ito, hindi tayo dapat mapahiya rito. Hindi lamang dahil ito ang host region natin ngayong taon, kundi dahil ito rin ang home region ng ating butihing Chairman na si Chairman Boy Brillantes…


But actually, I was told yesterday that the extent of participation in these Goodwill Games is not confined to Luzon only, but practically stretches across the country, because gracing the occasion also are the Regional Election Directors from all across the country. The Comelec Regional Election Directors Organization (CREDO) also had the opportunity to meet and greet their counterparts in other regions and also their Commissioners.

Kaya binabati ko na rin po ang mga kinatawan ng iba’t ibang Regional Offices ng Comelec pati na rin sa Kabisayaan at sa Mindanao!

I hope that the Goodwill Games has been a success, and turned out to be a FREE, ORDERLY, HONEST, PEACEFUL and CREDIBLE one, true to the words of the constitutional mandate of the Commission on Elections.

I mean “FREE”, dahil sana naman ay naging LIBRE ang lahat ng mga gastos ninyo rito. Maganda at sapat naman sana ang budget ng national office o ng mga regional offices para sa event na ito.

Alam po naman natin na si Chairman ay, gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, ay nagmumula sa Region I, at isang Ilokano. Kaya asahan po natin na siya ay hindi lamang KURIPOT… kundi PROUDLY KURIPOT!

O sige, sabihin na lang natin na MATIPID na lang si Chairman!

I also hope that the games have been ORDERLY, HONEST, PEACEFUL and CREDIBLE, which means that sana naman, no violence, cheating, threats and intimidation have marred the games--to the point that we will have to petition the Honorable Commission to declare a failure of the Goodwill Games.

We also hope that through the Goodwill Games, the Commission was able to breed and foster goodwill, sportsmanship and camaraderie, between and among the employees of the Commission.

Nabalitaan natin na kahapon ay naglaro ng basketball ang mga Commissioners, kasama na ang ating butihing Chairman Brillantes, kalaban ang mga Director ng Comelec! Nanalo raw ang mga Commissioners! Pinatunayan nila na kayang-kaya pa ng kanilang mga buto at kasu-kasuan na makipaglaro! Magaling!

Hindi pa naman matatanda ang mga Commissioners, lalo na si Chairman Brillantes. To be politically correct, let us just say that the Commissioners are “at least 35 years of age”, under the Constitution!

We also had this morning a fun run, and a matching fun walk for the Commissioners and our elderly, este, senior staff! I hope that we do not label those who participated in the fun walk as mere “nuisance” participants, simply because they did not have any bona fide intention to “RUN” in the fun run!

And lastly, it was an honor to join you in the shootfest this morning. I enjoyed it. Talagang paborito ko ang event na ‘yan! It’s a good thing that the gun ban has already been lifted November last year. Or else, we could all be held liable and arrested for election offenses!

Mamaya-maya lamang, magkakaroon na tayo ng official awarding o proclamation ng mga nanalo sa mga palaro.

You know what that means? That means that there is still time and opportunity for the sore losers to file a pre-proclamation case.

We have “whistleblowers” who have come forward saying that the Chairman has used threats of violence and intimidation against the opponents in the course of the basketball game, in order to ensure the victory of the Commissioners Team. Well, that, to me, is a clear ground for a pre-proclamation controversy!

Anyway, no less than the Commission En Banc is here, which has exclusive jurisdiction over these controversies! Idiretso ninyo na lang sa kanila ang mga reklamo ninyo! Kung mismong mga Commissioners ang irereklamo ninyo, aba e huwag na po tayong umasa!

Before I end, and on a more serious note, please give me the opportunity to say, in behalf of my family, that we thank you, not only the Bench but the entire Commission, for the meaningful reforms and the good work that you have been doing to improve our electoral process.

Nakikita naman po natin ang mga resulta ng mga reporma ng Comelec. Tingnan na lang po natin ang nakalipas na Barangay Elections kamakailan. Hindi ba’t halos naabot ninyo ang target na 100% completion rate after 24 hours from election day. Congratulations po sa inyo!

In behalf of my family, who also hails from the province of Leyte through our mother, let me also thank you also for the gestures of kindness and solidarity that you have showed and extended to the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda.

Hanggang dito na lamang po. Sana ay naging masaya at makabuluhan ang ating naging pagtitipon. Huwag na po nating patagalin ang programa. Marami pang hahabol sa 9PM flight mamaya pabalik sa Maynila.

And Chairman Brillantes might already be raring to go home. I heard that he loves to watch “The Buzz” every Sunday, so he can share the latest showbiz gossips during the flag-raising ceremony of the national office on Monday.

To end, I hope that this has served as a perfect opportunity for the Commission in this part of the country to really be ONE, to strengthen its human organization and be more united and more effective in action, especially as we head towards the next major milestone of our national history in about 800 days.

Again, let me congratulate everyone, the Bench, the officers, and the employees of the Commission on Elections!

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay kayong lahat!