He will never be president—
but Elly provides us perennial comic relief
By PURPLE ROMERO
He has done outrageous things—from suing Pope Benedict to scattering spikes on EDSA in 2004, which damaged a hundred cars, after he was declared a nuisance candidate in the presidential elections.
What is Elly Velez Pamatong now up to?
He is now up in arms against the highest court of the land. Recently, he filed impeachment complaints against the Supreme Court justices for mistakenly putting Chavez as his middle name and not Velez, and for allegedly restricting free access to courts with expensive legal fees. He also hit at the ‘Supreme Curse’ for allegedly taking sides during the impeachment of now deposed President Joseph Estrada.
The 64-year old Pamatong, with exploits ala-Forrest Gump’s and missions ala-Don Quixote, could have been another cutout character from a bestselling fiction novel, but he is of bone and flesh, a lawyer even, who graduated from the University of the Philippines and worked as legal counsel for Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari and the communist rebel group New People’s Army.
In a telephone interview with abs-cbnNEWS. com/Newsbreak, which caused him to ‘recharge his two cellphones,’ he told us his life, loves (he was married thrice), the different hats he wore, and his quest to make the Philippines a better country.
Not a revolution
“Do you want me to burn Manila?” he told us when asked why he filed a number of complaints against political and religious heavyweights. “I filed these complaints because that is the only thing left for an ordinary citizen to do, to cleanse the country of corruption. I’d rather file and file these complaints than start my own revolution,” he said.
Pamatong first filed a complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in 2004, which sought the disbarment of Commission on Elections commissioners Resurrección Borra and Rufino Javier, former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and the late law department chief Alioden Dalaig.
While reports said that he filed the complaint because they allowed ‘incompetent’ contenders such as Vice President Noli de Castro and showbiz personalities such as Senators Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and former legislators Robert Jaworski, Loren Legarda and Vicente Sotto 3rd to run for office, Pamatong said that he pursued their disbarment because Dalaig, who was gunned down in November 10,2005, allegedly asked P10 million from him in return for recognizing his candidacy.
Politicians and popes
He also filed an impeachment complaint against de Castro in the same year, which was junked by the House of Representatives in 2005. “It was just stupid. De Castro should never have run for something which he doesn’t know a thing about. I mean, he’s a broadcaster, not a politician. Also, among the 3,000 candidates, he’s the only one who did not get a cedula,” he explained.
Last April 2007, he sought the disbarment of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez for his remarks against slain US Peace Corp volunteer Julia Campbell. Gonzalez called Campbell ‘careless’ for hiking in Batad, Ifugao alone, where she was found dead early in April last year.
Pamatong also filed the complaint against Gonzalez for promising to give P10,000 to each barangay chairman who could ensure a 12-0 victory for administration force TEAM Unity in the province of Iloilo in the 2007 elections.
In May 2007, he sought the disqualification of Fr. Ed Panlilio from the gubernatorial race, where Pamatong was also one of the candidates. He said that Panlilio violated the canon of universal law.
A former Protestant who converted to Catholicism, he also sued Joseph Alois Ratzinger a.k.a Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales last April 29 for human rights violations and alleged corruption. “Every town has bell towers and loudspeakers. If you are a protestant, you would be bombarded with their disoriented prayers and mantras early in the morning. Isn’t that human rights violation? I believe in freedom of expression in religion, but there should be limits,” he said.
Pamatong, third among a family of nine, is a son of the Second World War. Born in the foothills of Mt. Malindang on July 10, 1943, he spent his childhood near the Putongan River Valley in Misamis Occidental, Mindanao.
In the biography he sent us, Pamatong recalled being a naughty boy, adept at crafting tricks and weaving stories. One time, he was whipped by his father with his leather belt for peeping at the ‘white legs and underwear’ of his teacher. As payback, he made a trap for his teacher by digging a hole and covering it with dry leaves. His teacher fell and almost broke her ‘beautiful legs,’ but as Pamatong wrote, ‘the crime was perfect.’
He was later sent to Siliman University where he earned his bachelor in arts, and then to the UP College of Law, where he had an epiphany, he said, and thought he could be the next president of the Philippines.
“Ever since I stepped inside the halls of UP, I dreamt of becoming the president of our country,” he said.
However, that dream never came true after he was declared a nuisance candidate in 2004. “I was the most qualified person for the presidency then. I was not a dropout. Look at the other candidates – Lacson is just a police, and there was Eddie Gil, who may have mental problems,” he said.
Pamatong tried again his luck at public office last year, where he fielded himself against political stalwarts former Pampanga Gov. Mark Lapid, senior board member Lilia “Baby” Pineda and heavy favorite Fr. Ed Panlilio for the gubernatorial seat in Pampanga. He lost with only 600 votes.
We never know what’s next in Pamatong’s bag of antics. For now, he’s providing the Supreme Court comic relief.