Comelec sees rise in vote buying incidents ahead of May polls

Marje Pelayo   •   May 3, 2019   •   961

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is all set for the upcoming May 13 midterm polls.

However, the agency fears of a possible rise in cases of vote buying especially in the local level.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted that even days prior to the elections, they have been receiving reports of vote buying using cash, grocery items and many other valuables from candidates to lure voters.

As always, the poll body advises the public to be wise in choosing their candidates.

“COMELEC has always said do not take the money at all,” Director Jimenez said.

“We believe that you should just say no to the bribe to the vote buying attempt and just vote according to your conscience,” he added.

Comelec, however, admits that guarding against vote buying is a huge challenge that’s why the agency is encouraging the public to report any incident of violations of the election law.

Meanwhile, election officers are doubling their efforts to prepare all election paraphernalia before the midterm polls in May.

Generator sets are already stationed in polling places across the country to serve as back-up source of electricity in any event of power interruptions or outages during the election process.

The poll body is also continuously conducting voter education programs to prepare the voters. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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

SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

Comelec junks poll protest vs Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 2, 2019

Former Pasig City Mayor Bobby Eusebio (left) and incumbent Mayor Vico Sotto (right)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked the poll protest of former Pasig Mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio against incumbent mayor Vico Sotto.

Based on the decision of Comelec 2nd Division promulgated last August 30, the said protest is “insufficient in form and substance.”

“Protestant failed to provide a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts as required by Section 7(g) Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution no. 8804,” the decision states.

The Comelec 2nd Division said Eusebio’s party was not able to provide enough evidence that there was an anomaly during the Pasig City mayoral race last May.

READ: Sotto, Zamora, Moreno topple giants; make history in PH politics

Sotto had 86,500 more votes than Eusebio, ending his 37-year reign as the mayor of Pasig City.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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