COMELEC denies alleged violation of PET’s precautionary protection order

admin   •   August 11, 2016   •   2892

File photo.

File photo.

MANILA — COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista denies the allegation that the poll body has conducted stripping activity to the vote counting machines (VCM) used in the 2016 elections to be able to back up the data stored in the SD cards of the VCM.

This, after the camp of losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wrote COMELEC asking for an explanation on why they did not comply with the precautionary protection order (PPO) of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to preserve and protect all election paraphernalia relevant to Marcos’ electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

The letter states that COMELEC commenced with the stripping of the VCM last July 16 based on a resolution dated July 12.

The PPO of the PET was issued July 12.

“The order is clear. Do not touch it and yet any action to the contrary by the COMELEC, of course, it is an express and clear violation of the PET order,” Atty. Victor Rodriguez said, Marcos’ spokesperson.

Chairman Bautista says they have not touched a single machine in respect to the order issued by the tribunal.

However, the poll chief stressed that they need to back up the SD cards before returning the leased VCMs to its owner.

The vote counting machines must be returned to smartmatic before December.

This is the reason why the commission also wrote the PET seeking for clarification.

“If by December 1, hindi pa namin maibalik yung mga makina, ‘yung option to purchase will be triggered,” Bautista said.

(If by December 1, we are not yet able to return the machines, the option to purchase will be trigerred.)

“We will do this because the machines belong to Smartmatic, we just rented it. We need to back-up so we can keep it,” he added. — Victor Cosare / UNTV News & Rescue

Comelec announces newly nominated poll commissioner

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2020

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (September 21) announced its newly nominated poll commissioner, Atty. Michael Braganza Peloton.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas in a statement said, Peloton will be able to greatly contribute in further improving and revolutionizing electoral processes due to his vast experience in the field of law and information technology.

“Commissioner Peloton joins Comelec at an exciting and challenging time, as we have already started preparations for the 2022 national and local elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abas said.

Abas also said Peloton will serve as commissioner until February 2, 2027 after replacing Commissioner Luie Guia who retired last February. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)


Robredo urges DepEd to realign budget to fund blended learning, address health concerns

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to realign the items in its budget to finance the distance learning program and respond to the needs of teachers and students as the country shifts to a blending learning system amid the pandemic.

In a letter dated August 10 addressed to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, Robredo said the department must realign its P29-billion budget for rehabilitation of school buildings to procure gadgets and other equipment for distance learning and hazard pay for teachers.

“Around P29.5 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of school buildings for 2020. Given the shift to distance learning, many of these school buildings will be left without children to occupy them, thus deprioritizing the need for the rehabilitation of physical spaces,” she said.

“This amount can be used to procure the needed gadget and equipment for distance learning as well as address the health concerns of educators,” she added.

Robredo also noted that 61% or around 14 million households do not have access to the internet, adding that 74% or some 34,700 schools do not have the infrastructure to engage in online learning.

“While we understand that the department has set up the DepEd Commons learning platform for students to access lessons on their worn, we have received reports that only 7 million students have so far subscribed to this platform,” she said.

“This constitutes only 35% of the estimated 20 million public school students in the country,” she added.

Aside from access to internet connection and self-learning modules, Robredo also called on DepEd to protect the health and safety of educators by conducting mass testing, with testing and distribution of results done before classes start; providing sufficient fund for physical check-up and medicine; providing supplies such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, among others; distributing hazard pay on time, and; establishing a system for the health and wellness needs of the teachers.

She said such initiatives can be funded by realigning DepEd’s P700 million budget allotted for teachers’ trainings.

“Many of these trainings have already, or will be, shifted to online modalities, thus freeing up resources that would otherwise have been used for travel and accommodations,” Robredo said.

“Rest assured that we understand the complexity of the challenges before us. We submit these insights and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity so that we may all, as one nation, build the better normal that our people deserve,” she added.

In response to the vice president’s recommendations, Briones said they cannot just make any significant realignment in their budget without consulting the Department of Budget and Management.

She also said they have allotted P9 billion fund for the reproduction of modules and that these have been forwarded to DepEd regional and division offices.

Briones likewise assured they have laid out programs to ensure the safety and health of educators as she reiterated that no face-to-face classes will be implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been paying hazard pay before COVID-19 for teachers who are in places na malayo ang sasakyan, malayo sa urban area. May standard kasi yan,” she said.

“Ulitin ko walang face-to-face until hangga’t walang vaccine yun ang sinasabi ni president; therefore, the teachers will not be exposed as a result of teaching. If they will be exposed, there might be other causes,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. passes away

Robie de Guzman   •   August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., passed away on Tuesday morning, the poll body’s spokesperson confirmed.

In a message to reporters, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Brillantes passed away around 11 a.m. He was 80 years old.

“He will be fondly remembered by his grateful COMELEC family,” he said in a separate message posted on Twitter.

Jimenez also said that an official statement letter will be issued by the commission later.

He did not disclose the cause of Brillantes’ death but in July, the former official’s family announced that he had been intubated after testing positive for novel coronavirus disease.

Brillantes served as Comelec chair from January 2011 to February 2015.


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