Comelec on proclamation of winning senators, party-list groups: ‘Not today’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2019   •   1190

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deferred the expected proclamation of winning senators and party-list groups in the 2019 midterm elections on Tuesday.

Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez said in a press briefing that they are still waiting for the certificates of canvass (COC) from Washington, D.C. in the United States.

Jimenez explained the transmission of returns from Los Angeles caused the delay in Washington.

The COC from Washington, D.C. is expected to arrive on Tuesday evening.

He said these votes represent more than 200,000 registered voters, which may still change the rankings in the senatorial race particularly for candidates in the bottom of the top 12.

“In order to make sure na wala nang movement sa rankings ng elected officials natin, we need to get that squared away,” he said in a media briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

He added that even a partial proclamation is still not being considered at this point.

“So not today. We will announce when,” he said.

Jimenez said on Monday that the proclamation of winning senators and party-list organizations may likely be held on May 21.

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

The Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), has so far canvassed 166 out of 167 COCs for the May 13 polls.

As of Tuesday, 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.

Placing outside the winning circle are reelectionist senators JV Ejercito, Bam Aquino, and former senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Although a date has yet to be determined, the poll body is still eyeing to proclaim winning senators and party-list groups on the same day.

“Ang worst case scenario natin, baka ma-split ang dalawa. But again, right now we are confident na mapagsasabay natin,” Jimenez said.

Once the canvassing of votes is completed, Comelec said it will send out invitations to election winners and their families, and other government officials. Senate race winners will only be allowed to bring ten visitors each due to limited space in the venue.

“There will be no interviews by the media yet, that will be done after the ceremony. We can use the press conference area or even along the sides of the venue but after the program,” said Atty. Frances Arabe, Comelec Director for Education and Information Department.

The poll body has yet to confirm whether President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the proclamation ceremony.

A dry run for the upcoming event is also being held. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

9 of 10 Filipinos favor automated election system — Pulse Asia

Maris Federez   •   August 7, 2019

Majority of the Filipinos still favor continuing the holding of elections through an automated system in the future.

Based on Pulse Asia’s recent survey conducted last June, nine of 10 or 91% of Filipinos would still prefer having the elections done electronically.

They said an automated election system is faster and the results are immediately released.

“They feel that faster results made the Elections more credible and then it’s also easier compared to let’s say how we use to vote where you have to write the surname of the candidate,” Pulse Asia president Dr. Ronnie Holmes said.

An election watchdog, however, said that since election results were difficult to manipulate under the AES, reports of vote-buying increased.

“Vote buying became more rampant after we automated our Elections because candidates, politicians did not know how to cheat the machines,” said LENTE executive director Atty. Ona Carritos.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) believes that President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts the automated election system despite his earlier pronouncement in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) favoring the termination of the contract with Smartmatic. (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Comelec 1st division cancels Cardema’s nomination as Duterte Youth party rep

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019

Ronald Cardema

MANILA, Philippines – The first division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday ordered the cancellation of the nomination of former National Youth Commission (NYC) Ronald Cardema as a representative of the Duterte Youth Party-list in the 18th Congress.

Comelec spokesperson, director James Jimenez announced the decision on his Twitter account.

“The nomination of Respondent, Ronald Gian Carlo L. Cardema, as the first nominee of Duterte Youth party-list is hereby cancelled,” read the dispositive portion of the poll body’s first division resolution obtained by UNTV News and Rescue.

Two of the three-member division, Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Marlon Caquejo, voted in favor of the petition while Commissioner Al Parreño was on official business.

In a 25-page resolution, the Comelec 1st division said that Cardema committed material misrepresentation on his age when he filed his nomination bid.

The division said Cardema was not eligible to be nominated as Duterte Youth party representative contrary to the declaration he made in his Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination.

He was also aware that he is already 34 years old, and thus “committed a falsity when he misrepresented that he eligible for nomination” despite not possessing the age qualification provided by law for representatives of the youth sector.

Section 9 of Republic Act 7941 or the Partylist Law provides that a nominee of a youth party-list group must be between 25 to 30 years old.

“In view thereof, this Commission finds respondent to have committed material misrepresentation on his qualifications,” the resolution read.

During hearings, the camp of Cardema claimed that Duterte Youth is a multi-sectoral party representing not only the youth sector but also the young professionals and this, he is eligible to be nominated despite his already being 34 years old.

But taking the petition as a whole, the division said, it can be observed that the party intended to limit its representation of professionals only insofar as “young professionals” are concerned. The division noted that Cardema himself admitted to this effect in the pleadings he filed.

“While it may be true that Duterte Youth Party-list represents both the young and young professionals, it is important to consider that the professionals being represented by the party are the “young ones,” who would necessarily belong to the youth sector,” the resolution stated.

“With this in mind, this Commission finds no reason why the age qualification provided by law for nominees of the youth sector should not be applied to the respondent,” the resolution added.

Election Lawyer Emil Marañon, counsel for petitioners against Cardema’s nomination, welcomed the Comelec division’s decision.

“We are happy to announce that with the vote of 2-0, the Comelec First Division has granted our Petition seeking the cancellation of the nomination of Gian Carlo Cardema as the First Nominee of the Duterte Youth Party-List,” Marañon said on a Twitter post.

“Hopefully, this decision will be the first step towards the reform of the party-list system, that is to bring it back to the truly marginalized and underrepresented sectors,” he said in a separate statement.

Voter registration pushes through despite proposal to postpone Brgy & SK Polls

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 2, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has pushed through with the voters registration despite the proposed postponement of the Barangay and SK elections next year.

According to Comelec Spokesman Dir. James Jimenez, it is better to be prepared in case Congress decides not to postpone the Barangay and SK polls.

Jimenez also said voters can still register even on Saturdays and holidays. The voter registration will run until September 30.

“The commission will open the registration process on Saturdays and even holidays to allow more applicants to be accommodated, especially students and working people who may not have time during weekdays,” Jimenez said.

An estimated two million voters will file their registration in the country.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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