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Duterte vetoes survivorship benefits bill

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed the bill that seeks for survivorship benefits to the children of deceased officials of the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman who were solo parents.

The enrolled Senate Bill 1917/House Bill 7820 sought to amend the Republic Act 10084 and extend the survivorship benefits to the dependent children of a deceased retired government official who was a solo parent.

RA 10084 only provides benefits to the surviving legitimate spouses of the deceased retired officials of the said constitutional offices.

In his letter to the Senate and the House dated April 12, 2019, the President cited several factors for vetoing the said bill.

The President said that while he supports the importance of passing the enrolled bill that authorizes additional benefits to the dependents of the COA, CSC, COMELEC and the Ombudsman, he is apprehensive that such granting of benefits “beyond the current compensation framework for other government offices may prove to be too onerous to the government.”

He further said that this would erode the national government’s salary standardization and rationalization program.

The President added that “it will create too much disparity and inequality in compensation among public servants”, as the benefits specified in the enrolled bill are extraordinary and are not granted to all officials in the government service.

The enrolled bill was transmitted to the Office of the President on March 14. – Maris Federez

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PNP records 6,000 violators as election gun ban ends tomorrow

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Seized firearms from violators

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban will come to a close as the election period ends tomorrow, (June 12).

This gives way for gun owners to carry firearms outside of their homes as long as they have the permit to do so.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded more than six thousand violators of the gun ban since it was launched on January 13.

More than five thousand guns and close to fifty thousand deadly weapons were confiscated by the authorities.

PNP spokesperson PCol Bernard Banac said, “lahat ng mga ito ay nakalaboso at sinampahan ng kaukulang kaso. Doon naman sa mga pulis na lumabag ay meron po silang kinakaharap ngayon na kasong administratibo dahil sa paglabag sa ating mg alituntunin at patakaran [all of them were detained and were filed cases against. The police officers who violated (the gun ban), are now facing administrative cases for violating our rules and regulations].” (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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Pimentel supports President Duterte on replacing Smartmatic

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III has expressed his support to President Rodrigo Duterte when he said he wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “to dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud.”

Read: Duterte wants Smartmatic out of PH election

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms said he holds the same sentiment on the matter.

“I was thinking along the same lines. But we are only up to recommending to the Comelec,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel added that he had long been pushing for hybrid elections which was prompted by the investigation that his committee had conducted on the alleged cheating in the 2010 elections that used the Smartmatic system. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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Untransmitted election returns, crucial in senatorial bet rankings — PPCRV

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) believes that the remaining election returns that haven’t been transmitted yet are critical to the result of the senatorial race.

The citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that the untransmitted ERs could greatly affect the standing of the candidates in the last spots of the Magic 12.

PPCRV executive director Maribel Buenaobra said, “It’s going to be significant for those who are hanging by the scale of thirteen and the fourteen. But for the others from 1 to 10, it’s not going to be significantly changed. The remaining precincts who have yet to transmit might change those who are on the 12th, 13th and 14th.”

The PPCRV said they have encountered challenges in the transmission of the 4th election copy of the election returns to the command center for the validation process.

“Because some of the VCMs malfunctioned, they were unable to print election returns, so we were verifying that with the Commission on Elections,” Buenaobra said.

She added, “The delay in providing us with the election return really depended on how soon that the ERs were printed. Secondly, the physical distance. We were waiting for election returns of Visayas and Mindanao and some of them are coming from island provinces.”

The PPCRV further said it is still early to make an overall assessment of the election process.

Meanwhile, the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) on Wednesday urged Comelec to exert all efforts to transmit all the ERs, believing that the remaining number could greatly affect the senatorial contest.

In a press statement, Namfrel said that “Comelec municipal and provincial election officers should exert all efforts to transmit unreported ERs to reduce the 2.25 percent untransmitted ERs because the numbers are critical in the senatorial contest where the figures among those in Numbers 10 to 14 positions are very close.”

“Assume a 75% turnout rate in the election, one gets an average 541 votes per ER. If there are still 1,930 untransmitted ERs with 541 votes per ER, you get a total unreported 1,043,721 votes,” Namfrel explained.

“This number is large enough to reorder the positions in the senatorial race, and most importantly, define without doubt the No. 12 or the last slot placer. The margin of votes between the current 10th to the 14th placer now stands at 398,000 well within the 1,043,721 unaccounted votes,” it added. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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