THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) committed a grave injustice to residents of Compostela town with its suspension order on the proclamation of the town's elected officials. The protest filed by former mayor Ritchie Wagas was directed at mayor-elect Joel Quiño. He did not question the status of the rest of the elected officials. So the vice mayor and members of the town council did not present their side on the election case. To their surprise, the Comelec suspended the proclamation of all elected officials.

The way I look at what happened, the Comelec ignored due process in suspending the proclamation of Vice Mayor Antonette Dangoy and the rest of the council. The people of Compostela are suffering because of Comelec's arbitrariness.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Meanwhile, DILG 7 Director Pedro Noval seemed overly interested in assuming the position of mayor when the Comelec decision was not yet final. In fact, the DILG did not act for a long time in the Tudela case. Why act in haste now?

Based on these two observations, we can sense something more sinister behind Comelec's arbitrary action and Noval's haste.

I hope I am wrong, but the Comelec and Noval should review their actions and do what is right.

***

Are verbal orders of the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman worthless? This seems to be the case in the latest brouhaha at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).

During its executive session last April 15, the MCIAA board passed a resolution granting the benefits to former board member Patria Roa in recognition of her exemplary services. The amount reached a whopping P500,000.

But Roa's membership was because of her position at the DOT.

She's entitled to retirement benefits from the DOT, not the MCIAA. Last Friday morning, Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Santiago ordered MCIAA officials, through legal officer Glen Napuli, not to release the check, pending the result of the inquiry to be conducted by the anti-graft body and the Commission on Audit.

The MCIAA deliberately did not heed Santiago's order. That same day, MCIAA's board secretary personally delivered the P500,000 check to Roa's residence.

If orders by the Office of the Ombudsman could be ignored just like that, no wonder graft and corruption are rampant. No wonder this body has failed in its mandate to go after grafters and curbing corruption in the country. Inutile ang Office of the Ombudsman.

***

Now that Lapu-Lapu City's Boy Radaza is a congressman, he should rectify weaknesses in the MCIAA charter that allowed the board to give severance pay to somebody who is a regional director of another government agency. Boy has also another important reason for doing so. The MCIAA is in Lapu-Lapu City, but the mayor has no board representation.

***

While Rep. Sonny Belmonte has the speakership clearly in the bag, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan is slowly inching his way to becoming Senate president. It seems the group headed by Sen. Ed Angara is not that solid after all. Angara, reportedly with the support of Senators Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Migs Zubiri and Bong Revilla, said his group will not support a Senate president who is not independent. Between the lines, he is saying Kiko is a Liberal and close to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, while his rival, Sen. Manny Villar, is with the opposition. But look again. Senator Lapid has signified his support for Kiko.

Come to think of it, Kiko Pangilinan may be young, but he is not a pushover and has proven himself in the Senate.

Before he won as senator in 2001, he was already a mature politician who helped galvanize the student movement during martial law years, was appointed the first UP student regent by the late president Corazon C. Aquino, won as Quezon City councilor at the age of 23, served as a human rights lawyer under the Free Legal Assistance Group, and co-anchored a public service program on ABS-CBN.

Now, we see a man who has become a political maverick, a non-traditional leader, and a true public servant. As he vies for the Senate presidency with contenders at least a decade older than him, we see the bright young hope of Philippine politics finally coming into his own. He served as Senate majority leader for five years, a post that required sharp administrative, executive, and negotiation skills. It also entailed a tough balancing act of issues and egos, something that Kiko handled adeptly.

***

When some friends received information about the Mango Tee cheating record of newly appointed Customs Commissioner Joselito Alvarez, they texted me that the guy is surely qualified to head the bureau.

(Check out www.inbetweencolumns.wordpress.com)