COMELEC denies alleged violation of PET’s precautionary protection order

admin   •   August 11, 2016   •   2805

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

OVP purchases P14-M worth of COVID-19 test kits developed by UP scientists

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 24, 2020

The office of Vice President (OVP) Leni Robredo has purchased P14 million worth of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits developed by the scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP).

In a statement, the OVP said the test kits will be delivered to hospitals certified as laboratories for COVID-19 testing. These include San Lazaro Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, V. Luna Hospital, and Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory.

The testing kits will help in conducting a total of 10,000 tests.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) previously said the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) and Philippine Genome Center aim to increase test kit production as well as increase COVID-19 testing capacity per day.

“With the deployment of the test kits, UP-NIH will increase its capacity to run more tests per day, as each unit of the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit can run 25 tests at once and provide results within two hours,” the DOST said in the statement.

Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center Dr. Raul Destura said there is 8,000 to 10,000 tests produced daily and they aim to increase it by 16,000 tests per day by May 1. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

PACC’s Belgica says colleague’s call to probe Robredo’s COVID-19 aid “a personal opinion”

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) commissioner and Spokesperson Greco Belgica on Thursday clarified that the call of one of his colleagues to probe Vice President Leni Robredo’s fund drive and relief operations amid the COVID-19 crisis was just “his personal opinion.”

In a statement, Belgica said Commissioner Manuelito Luna’s statement calling on the National Bureau of Investigation to prove Robredo for allegedly competing with the government’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 “was a personal opinion,” and “does not reflect the body’s sentiments.

“PACC is not asking anyone to investigate VP Leni Robredo. On the other hand, we are grateful to everyone who is helping the frontliners and the needy, including the VP,” he said.

“This is not the time for politicking. We are not concerned with any personality.  Our main concern is to make sure all the needy Filipinos get all the help they need the President promised,” he added.

He also said that the government’s immediate concern right now is to end the coronavirus pandemic, save lives, and rebuild the country and the lives of people after the crisis ends.

“Magtulungan po tayo. Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng tumutulong pati ang hindi lumalabas ng bahay. Tayo po ay nakakatulong sa ating pagsunod,” he said.

Robredo’s camp earlier slammed Luna’s statement, calling it “ridiculous” and “inappropriate” amid the COVID-19 threat.

Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez said VP Leni has mobilized groups and organized free transport to help health workers, government institutions, and ordinary Filipinos overcome the challenges they had to face due to the threat of infection.

“Anyone who insists that bringing much-needed assistance to hospitals, health workers, and poor Filipinos is somehow a ‘competition’ has absolutely no understanding of the gravity of the crisis we are all facing,” he said.

He assured that Robredo will continue to do all she can to help those in need in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Comelec suspends voter registration until March 31 due to COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the voter registration until March 31 amid the rising number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country.

In a statement, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the suspension will begin on Tuesday, March 10.

“As a response to the growing threat to public health posed by COVID-19, voter registration has been suspended by the Comelec until the 31st of March 2020,” he said.

Jimenez said the suspension takes effect nationwide, encompassing voter registration conducted in all Comelec offices in districts, cities, and municipalities, as well as all satellite registration activities.

“The public is advised to take all necessary precautionary measures to limit their exposure to the possibility of COVID-19 infection,” he added.

The poll body opened the voter registration for the 2022 national elections last January. It was initially set to run until September 30, 2021.

As of posting time, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a public health emergency amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The DOH also raised Code Red Sublevel 1 after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus local transmission.

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