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Opposition senatorial bets cast vote on election day

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019

Senatorial aspirant and Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano (left), Muslim candidate Samira Gutoc (upper photo center), re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino (lower photo center), former solicitor general, Pilo Hilbay (right)

MANILA, Philippines – Some of the candidates of opposition slate ‘Otso Diretso’ went to their respective hometowns to cast their votes for the 2019 National and local elections on Monday morning.

Senatorial aspirant and Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano voted in his hometown in Negros Occidental.

The former soldier cast his ballot at precinct 0012A in Barangay 3 in Sipalay town.

Alejano believes the midterm polls will be a test to the relevance of the Magdalo party.

“Puwede naming sabihin na relevant kami, pero sabihin ng tao na you’re done. Then we will just die a natural death. Iyun din ang usapan namin sa kulungan, tumakbo si Trillanes,” he said. 

“Pag tumakbo ka, ‘pag natalo ka, e di pahinga na. Ganoon din kami, tumatakbo kami, ito ang aming tayo, kung ayaw nila sa amin, so be it,” the lawmaker said. 

In the last Pulse Asia pre-election survey conducted from May 3 to 5, Alejano placed 21st to 32nd.

Meanwhile, Otso Diretso’s lone female and Muslim candidate Samira Gutoc went back to her hometown in Marawi City to cast her ballot.

She voted in Precinct No. 0019A at the Cauayan Elementary School in Lanao del Sur.

Gutoc ranked 21st to 32nd in the latest pre-election survey of Pulse Asia.

Former Solicitor General Pilo Hilbay, on the other hand, voted at Jose Corazon De Jesus Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Monday morning.

While Mar Roxas cast his ballot in Conrado Barrios Memorial Elementary School in Baybay, Roxas City a few minutes past 6 a.m., making him among the early birds.

Roxas, who served as Interior and Local Government Secretary under the administration of Former President Benigno Aquino III, is seeking to return to the Senate.

Roxas placed 16th to 17th in the latest Pulse Asia survey.

READ: Escudero, Pimentel, Roxas among first voters on Election day

Meanwhile, re-electionist Senator Bam Aquino voted at the South Central Elementary School in Concepcion, Tarlac at past 7 a.m., Monday.

Aquino was accompanied by his wife, Mary Fatima Gomez Aquino, when they voted in precinct no. 0225A, no. 75 clustered precinct.

Aquino was the only opposition candidate who was able to make it to the list of possible winners, ranking 9th to 15th in the survey.

In an interview, Vice President Leni Robredo described the opposition senatorial bets’ bid to win the elections as an uphill battle, but she took solace in the passion of their volunteers and supporters.

“Napaka-uphill ng battle, pero in the last several weeks, nakita namin ‘yung passion ng mga volunteers, ano ‘yun, unrivaled,” she told reporters after casting her vote in Naga, Camarines Sur.

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Opposition supporters question Comelec over alleged anomalies

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Silent Majority protesting the technical glitches that were encountered during the May 13, 2019 polls Courtesy : FB page of Now You Know

MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of the opposition group on Friday questioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on alleged anomalies in the May 13 midterm elections.

Members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Silent Majority gathered in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City where the Comelec is canvassing votes for the senatorial and party-list elections.

The groups were protesting the technical glitches that were encountered during the polls, such as defective secure digital (SD) cards and vote-counting machines (VCM), as well as the seven-hour delay in transmitting data from Comelec’s transparency server.

Members of said cause-oriented groups, who were chanting “what happened to the midterm elections, Comelec?” repeatedly during their picket, were also demanding the poll body to explain the alleged irregularities that cast doubts on the credibility of the midterm polls.

They also sought to question the poll body for its alleged mishandling and inaction of supposed anomalies observed, including the designation of Nacionalista Party as the minority party, the disenfranchisement of voters, and the “blatant commission” of pre-campaign and campaign violations of some candidates such as electioneering and vote-buying.

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Malacañang expects Go, Bato, Tolentino to be independent as senators

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

(L-R) Former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.

Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.

These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.

Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.

Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.

 “It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.

“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.

Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.

“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.

Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Guanzon questions NPO on ‘subcontracted’ printing of voter info sheet

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

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday questioned the National Printing Office (NPO) on its alleged subcontracting of the printing of the voter’s information sheet for the 2019 midterm polls.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they are seeking clarification from the NPO following the discovery of some errors in the printed information sheet just days before the elections.

“Dahil government to government eh walang bidding, tapos nalaman ko at sagutin nila ako kung totoo. Tanungin niyo sila, pina-subcontract ba nila sa Holy Family Printing Press ang voter information sheet namin?” Guanzon said at a chance interview at the National Board of Canvassers for the Senate and party-list race on Wednesday.

She noted that NPO’s alleged subcontracting is against the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA). Under the law, the NPO is mandated to provide printing services to government agencies and instrumentalities.

“Kaya nga sila ang pinili namin para wala na kaming bidding,” she said.

The poll official said the errors contained in the printed voter information sheets could have confused voters and resulted in a failure of elections.

“Mabuti na lang naagapan and the Comelec en banc ordered na huwag i-distribute ‘yung voter information sheets,” she said.

Guanzon added that the NPO should clarify the issue because they may be held liable for it.

“NPO should be asked because they are accountable for this. Siningil nila kami ng P4.00 per voter information sheet na napakaliit ng print,” she said.

“Kung totoo iyan, and some directors answer my question, Holy Family Printing ang nag-deliver sa kanila at mali-mali,” she added.

The NPO has yet to issue any comment on the matter as of posting time. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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