Comelec hopes to proclaim winning Senators, party-list groups on Tuesday

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2019   •   1402

MANILA, Philippines – Winning senatorial bets and party-list organizations in the 2019 midterm elections may likely be proclaimed on Tuesday (May 21), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday.

Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said the poll body, which sits as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), has yet to complete the canvassing of votes as certificates of canvass (COC) from several areas are yet to come in.

Out of the total 167 COCs, the NBOC is still awaiting five COCs from Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States and Abuja in Nigeria.

The COC from Jones in Isabela, where a special election is being held, has also yet to come in.

Comelec conducted a special election for national and local positions in Jones, Isabela after vote-counting machines (VCM) and ballots deployed there were intentionally torched and destroyed during the May 13 polls.

Around 762 registered voters will participate in the special polls.

The poll body said COCs from the said areas cover more than 1.6 million votes.

“I think at this point, it’s a pretty sure bet that we are going to have a proclamation tomorrow,” Jimenez said in a press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Comelec Director for Education and Information Department Atty. Frances Arabe earlier said the poll body wanted to complete the canvassing of votes before holding a one-day proclamation ceremony.

READ: Proclamation of senators, party-list expected early this week – Comelec

She added that winning party-list groups may be proclaimed in the morning while the senators-elect will be proclaimed in the afternoon.

“The Commission en Banc wants a 100% proclamation. We will try our best to canvass all the COCs so we can only have one event for the proclamation of Senators and the Partylist as well,” Arabe said.

“It will be done in one day but separate schedules. So, party-list will be done in the morning and the proclamation for the Senators in the afternoon,” she added.

Comelec also explained earlier that defective secure digital (SD) cards used in overseas voting have delayed the canvassing of votes by a week.

Arabe said the replacements of corrupted SD cards have to come from their warehouse hub in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

“That’s why it took time because they had to ship the replacement SD cards,” she said.

With the new SD cards, the Comelec office for absentee voting hopes for a smooth transmission of results in order to complete the canvassing of votes.

As of 7:18 p.m. on Sunday, reelectionist senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe still topped the Comelec’s partial and official tally, followed by Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla and Nancy Binay.

The NBOC met at 1:42 p.m. on Monday but the canvassing was suspended immediately as there was no COC to canvass.  

The Board is set to resume the canvassing of votes at 7 p.m. later. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

House OK on Barangay, SK polls deferment ‘no surprise,’ says Comelec

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it is not surprised by the move of the House of Representatives to approve the bill seeking to defer the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to December 5, 2022.

“This does not come as a surprise,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a message to reporters. “The COMELEC had, in fact, slowed down preparations for the Barangay Elections of 2020 in anticipation of this legislation.”

Jimenez said that with the impending approval of Congress on the measure, the poll body is now looking to focus on preparing for the next national and local elections.

“With the approval of the House and the looming decision of the Senate on the same matter, the COMELEC is looking forward to focusing on the process of re-starting the continuing registration and, in the longer term, preparing for the 2022 National and Local Elections,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Lower House gave its nod to a proposal seeking to reschedule the local polls to allow more time for incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials to implement and complete their respective projects.

After the 2022 elections, subsequent barangay and SK elections will be held on the first Monday of December 2025 and every three years thereafter.

The amended version of the House bill is similar to the one that Senate passed on September 30.

President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address in July, called on Congress to postpone the village elections.

Comelec expects influx of registrants amid last-day of voter registration

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expecting an influx of ‘last-minute’ registrants at the voter registration for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Comelec will officially close the voter registration at 5:00 p.m. on Monday (September 30). Comelec Spokesperson Dir. James Jimenez said their office is prepared to handle the number of registrants.

“An influx of registrants is to be expected. The COMELEC has anticipated this, and we are confident that our employees in the field are prepared to handle the last-day registration scenario,” he said.

Based on Comelec Resolution 10549, Comelec will implement the following protocol for the last day of voter registration.

  • If there are still applicants lined up to register within the thirty (30) meter radius from the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) by 3:00 P.M. of September 30, 2019, their names will be promptly and consecutively listed down.
  • Each name will be announced repeatedly three (3) times in the order in which the applicants’ names were listed. Applicants who are not present when their names are called shall no longer be allowed to file their application.
  • When an applicant’s name is called and he/she is present, his/her application will be processed and his/her biometrics data will be captured. The process continues until all those listed shall have been processed.
  • An Express Lane is provided for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Heavily Pregnant Applicants.

There are around 2.6 million registered voters in the country as of August 1 this year, according to Comelec’s data.—AAC

Comelec seeks P9.8-B budget for 2020

Maris Federez   •   September 16, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday (Sept. 16) asked, during the Senate budget hearing, for a P9.8-Billion budget for 2020.

The poll body said this will cover the P5.77-Billion budget for the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE), which they have been preparing for despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement that he wants it postponed.

Comelec said Congress has to enact a law for the postponement of the BSKE.

“Ang pakiusap namin, your honor, is sana mapabilis iyong pagpasa ng batas otherwise we have no choice but to incur some expenses preparatory expenses especially so na tali po kami ng procurement law,” said Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas.

Comelec added that should the BSKE be postponed, they request for it not to be held close to the 2022 elections.

“If postponement happens it would be preferable if it would be one year before or one year after the May 2022 (elections). So, it could be either May 2021 or May 2023,” said Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr.

The Senate budget hearing also focused on the low voter turn-out of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the last election.

Of the five million OFWs who are qualified to vote, only 1.8 million were registered and only 18% of which actually voted.

Comelec pointed out the inadequate information dissemination for voters and the distance of the voting centers in some countries as reasons for the low voter turn-out. (from the report of Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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