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The Humble Begginings and Death of Senator Cayetano

Cayetano had humble beginnings. On Dec. 12, 1934, he was born to mechanic Pedro Santiago Cayetano of Marilao, Bulacan, and public school teacher Julianna Cabrera Luna of Pateros.

Popularly known as "Compaņero," after his public service program on TV and radio that offered free legal advice, Cayetano was a product of public school education.

He completed degrees in political science and law at the University of the Philippines, and received scholarship grants at the University of Michigan in the United States where he acquired three postgraduate degrees in public administration and law.

He was active in private law practice, and served as private prosecutor in the rape case involving the late starlet Pepsi Paloma and in the Manila Filmfest scandal on behalf of then Mayor Alfredo Lim.

He served as co-defense counsel for the late journalist Luis Beltran in the libel case filed against him by then-president Corazon Aquino. Beltran was later acquitted.

He was a founding partner of the Cayetano, Sebastian, Dado and Cruz Law Office, chairman of the House of Delegates and governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and, with Juan Ponce Enrile, co-founder of the Pecabar (Ponce Enrile Cayetano Bautista & Reyes) Law Offices.

His political career started in 1984 when he was elected assemblyman of the Batasang Pambansa [National Legislature]. He was later appointed deputy trade minister and administrator of the Export Processing Zone Authority (now Philippine Export Zone Authority).

In 1995, President Fidel Ramos appointed Cayetano chief presidential counsel. He was also named vice chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.

In 1998, Ramos conferred on him the Legion of Honor.

Cayetano was elected senator in May 1998, receiving the second highest number of votes in the process.

As a neophyte senator, he was chair of the committee on justice and human rights and vice chair of the committee on public order and illegal drugs. He was also the minority leader of the Commission on Appointments and was a member of the Judicial Bar Council.

Before the 11th Congress adjourned, he became the Senate minority floor leader, making him an ex-officio member of all Senate committees.

During the historic impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in 2000, Cayetano was one of the 10 senator-judges who voted for the opening of a "second envelope" of evidence concerning bank accounts in the name of "Jose Velarde," alleged to belong to Estrada.

Cayetano authored eight laws, including Republic Act No. 9163, which makes the Reserve Officers' Training Course an optional course for college students; the Fair Elections Act; the Securities Regulation Code; the Clean Air Act; the E-Commerce Law; and the Administrative Naturalization Law of 2000.

At the time of his death, he was chairman of the Senate committee on energy and co-chair of the joint congressional power commission.
 
IT group divided over poll
modernization controversy

THE INFORMATION Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP) is now divided over the controversial Commission on Elections modernization project, an industry source told INQ7.net.

The source said that some members of ITAP have expressed reservations over the position the group is taking on the controversial 1.3-billion-peso project that involves the use of automated counting machines in the forthcoming 2004 elections.

The source said that the issue has resulted in heated emotional debates among some members.

However, ITAP president Cynthia Mamon said that the organization, in a consensus, has agreed to the position taken by the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP), an umbrella organization of IT industry groups.

"We all agreed that we will support the ITFP action. We agreed on three items. We're not divided. We got consensus. There were just conditions (set) for decisions," Mamon said.

ITFP and other organizations have previously signed a public letter seeking probe on the controversial project.

The other organizations were the Philippine Electronics and Telecoms Federation of the Philippines, GoIT, and the Philippine Association of Data Entry Companies, led by its head Ma. Corazon Akol.

While the IT groups supported efforts to modernize the elections in 2004, they said the poll body should not dismiss allegations on flaws in the bidding process.

In an open letter, the groups urged Comelec to look into questions of eligibility of the winning bidder MegaPacific, which was incorporated only in February 2003.

The group also insisted that Comelec should look into the alleged failure of both bidders to meet technical requirements, and therefore should have declared the bidding null and void.

"Undue haste in the awarding of the 1.3-billion-peso contract -- notwithstanding serious questions respecting the bidding and evaluation process for a system that failed the technical requirements set by the Comelec itself -- will do little in inspiring the people's confidence in the efficacy of an automated election system," the IT groups said in a joint statement.

They urged Comelec to review the award of the bid in coordination with the private sector and if need be declare a failure in bidding and to hold in abeyance any disbursement of any public funds pending a definitive resolution of the issues raised.

Total Information Management (TIM) and Unisys, which are both members of ITAP, lost to the MegaPacific eSolutions Inc.-led consortium, a non-ITAP member.

The MegaPacific eSolutions consortium includes South Korean firm SK Global, US-firm election.com, ePLDT, Textronix and WeSolve as among its suppliers of technology and integration services.

Members of the TIM consortium include Unisys Corp. and US firm ES&S, which was the same company that supplied Comelec with counting machines during the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao elections.

MegaPacific is expected to bring in some counting machines in July for final evaluation, Comelec officials said previously.

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