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Comelec Exec says supplier of ‘faulty’ SD cards shouldn’t be paid in full

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday that the supplier of the secure digital (SD) cards used in the 2019 midterm elections should not be paid in full.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said this during a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race.

“Pero ang gusto kong i-announce, ito ha, this is my personal view, itong supplier ng SD cards ay hindi naman babayaran ng buo,” she said.

“Ipapasuri ko ‘yan, ‘yung proseso ng bidding at ‘yung pagdeliver nila ng cards kasi iyan po talaga ang nagging culprit,” she added.

Guanzon made the remark after the poll body revealed that 1,665 of the SD cards provided by the S1 Technologies and Silicon Valley Computer Group had encountered multiple problems during election day.

The Comelec reported on Tuesday that 1.9 percent of the 85,769 SD cards used in the 2019 midterm national and local elections were defective. The supposed faulty SD cards have been blamed for the errors in 961 vote-counting machines (VCM) during polls.

These figures are higher than the 120 SD cards and 801 VCMs replaced in the 2016 polls.

The S1 company bagged the contract to supply the SD cards for P22.6 million, but according to Guanzon, it would be a waste if they will pay for the damaged cards.

“Under COA (Commission on Audit) rules, even if they deliver and hindi namin nagamit iyan because it would have resulted to chaos. Hindi namin sila kailangang bayaran,” she said.

Guanzon said she will bring up the proposal to withhold the payment before the Comelec en banc, clarifying that the matter has yet to be decided amid ongoing investigation on the suppliers of SD cards, marking pens and VCMs.

She also said that the poll body is open to place its transparency server data logs under a third-party audit to clear the issues over the delay in transmitting of real-time election results, which Comelec earlier attributed to an application error in the transparency server.

Guanzon added that it would be better if the audit will be conducted by an independent party to disprove allegations on poll fraud.

“Yes, third-party audit, pati PPCRV of course, NAMFREL. They are going to have access; we will give them access. I am sure the other commissioners also agree to this suggestion of Commissioner Guia,” she said.

Guanzon also said that they cannot blame others for doubting the integrity of the poll results following the technical glitches that marred the elections.

“They have a right to say that kasi nga 7 to 8 hours iyong delay. Ang sinasabi lang namin you can verify it. Willing naman kami na may third party na audit diyan, ng logs,” she said.

“I can assure that personally na wala pong daya diyan o magic,” she added. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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Comelec says voter registration to resume in August

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Residents search for their names on the voters list

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday that the voter registration for the next election is expected to resume on August 1, 2019 and will run until September 30, 2019.

“Voter registration is expected to run Aug 1 to Sept 30, 2019, inclusive of Saturdays & holidays,”Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a post on Twitter.

Jimenez said approximately two million new voters are expected to register in the said period.

“SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) voters need not register anew upon turning eighteen; their names will automatically be transferred to the regular List of Voters,” he added.

Comelec data showed there were more than 61 million registered voters in the last 2019 May Midterm polls. More than 18 million of the said number are from the youth sector or the so-called Millennials and Generation Z, born in the mid-90s and early 2000s.

The poll body has been urging Filipino voters to go out and exercise their right to suffrage in order to elect honest and deserving officials.

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Youth group files petition in Comelec to disqualify Cardema as youth rep

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Millennials PH, accompanied by Atty. Emil Marañon and Atty. Sixto Brillantes Jr., files petition anew to cancel the substitution bid of ex-NYC Chair Ronald Cardema to become a nominee of Duterte Youth Partylist.

Youth group, Millenials PH, has filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to disqualify former National Youth Commission chairperson Ronald Cardema as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list.

According to Millenials PH, Cardema is already over the age limit to qualify as representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list .

Based on their 17-page petition, Cardema is already 34 years old which is over the set age limit for the party-list representatives of the youth sector which is 25 to 30 years old.

“Makikita na may material misrepresentation talaga na nangyari and ang representation talaga ng Duterte Youth ay youth sector (There really is a material misrepresentation. The representation of the Duterte Youth is the youth sector),” according to Millenials PH Spokesperson Aunell Ross Angcos.

Former Comelec Chairman Atty. Sixto Brillantes Jr., who accompanied the youth group to file the petition said Comelec should withhold Cardema’s certificate of proclamation.

“Dapat matanggal na muna ito at pumalit na ang tunay, iyong legitimate. Kaya kami pumirma rito. Willing kami i-prosecute ito diretso dito sa Comelec hanggang sa Supreme Court kung kailangan (It should be withheld first and should be replaced with the legitimate [representative]. So we signed here. We are willing to prosecute this straight to Comelec up to the Supreme Court if needed),” he said.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon previously said that the Duterte Youth party-list is registered as a youth sector party-list in the 2019 elections.

Meanwhile, Cardema defended that Duterte Youth is registered as a party-list group to uplift the youth and professional sector which has no age limit.

Duterte Youth won one seat in Congress. However, five of the party-list nominees withdrew their nomination, including Cardema’s wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez.

The Comelec poll body is currently conducting a hearing for the petition against Cardema.—AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)

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Five winners of Senate race file SOCE at Comelec

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – At least five of the 12 winners in the 2019 Senatorial race have filed their Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, June 13.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Nancy Binay led the filing of the SOCE based on Comelec records.

Villar, who clinched the number one spot with more than 25 million votes, filed her campaign expense report on June 11 or two days before the deadline set by Comelec.

Binay, who finished 12th in the race also filed her SOCE last June 11.

Poe, who nestled at the second spot, submitted her report in the afternoon of June 13, as well as Senators-elect Bong Go and Pia Cayetano, who finished third and fourth in the Senate race, respectively.

Comelec said that most of the winning and losing candidates in the May midterm polls were able to beat the SOCE filing deadline.

Section 14 of Republic Act 1766 requires every candidate and political party to file with the Commission the full, true and itemized Soce within 30 days after the election day.

Also required to file such document are those whose campaigns were self-funded, those who did not incur any expenditure, and those who did not pursue their campaign activities even after filing their candidacies or those who withdrew their candidacies.

The poll body said that based on Comelec resolution 10505, the office of an elected candidate who failed to submit the required documents shall be considered vacant pursuant to Section 11 of the Omnibus Election Code until he/she has complied within six months from the proclamation.

“They cannot assume office until they submitted their Statement of Contribution and Expenditures,” said Atty. Efraim Bag-id, acting director of Comelec campaign finance office.

The poll body emphasized the importance of the filing of SOCE as this will help them determine whether candidates and political parties followed the set campaign spending limits.

The Comelec resolution also states that winning candidates and party-lists with late SOCE filing but still within the period of six months shall be charged with lower administrative fines, depending on the position sought by the candidate.

Losing candidates, meanwhile, who failed to submit their SOCE will be meted out an administrative fine of P10,000.

“Iyong mga kandidato na natalo at hindi nakapagsumite ng kanilang Soce, depende po ito kung first timer po sila o second timer. Kapag first timer, administrative po iyan. Kapag 2 or more na beses na hindi sila nakapag- file ng kanilang SOCE e maliban sa administrative fine, they are perpetually disqualified to hold public office whether elective or appointed position,” Bag-id said.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, 20 candidates for the Senate., 50 party-list groups and three political parties have already filed their Soce.

Comelec said other candidates and political parties may submit their Soce before the campaign finance office until 8 p.m. of June 13. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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