by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019
Over 29,000 individuals participated in the local absentee voting for the 2019 Midterm Elections on Monday (April 29).
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) allows certain individuals to execute their right to vote before the election day on May 13.
According to Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez, these individuals are the ones who need to vote early to be able to perform their duties during elections.
“Ito iyong kaparaanan kung saan kung iyong mga kawani ng gobyerno, (This is the way in which members of the government) members of the military, members of the police, government officials who will be performing duties will be able to vote absentee,” he said.
Over 35,000 submitted their application for the Local Absentee Voting but only more than 29,000 were approved by the poll body.
Comelec expects 50% to 60% voting turnout in the local absentee voting.
“Ang voting turnout natin (Our voting turnout) for [the media] has, I think historically, hovered around 50%. For the rest of LAV medyo mataas naman ang ating voting turnout (Our voting turnout is a bit high) at around 50-60%,” Jimenez said.
For the local absentee voting, voters can only choose the national and the partylist groups. The counting of votes will also be done manually because there will be no vote counting machines to be used.
The ballots for the absentee voting will also be counted after the May 13 elections.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find another service provider for the automated elections.
“I would like to advise Comelec now — hindi ko na lang hintayin — dispose of that Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud,” the President said during his meeting with the Filipino community in Japan on Thursday (May 30).
The poll body, for its part, welcomes the President’s preference for a different firm other than the controversy-stricken technology solutions firm Smartmatic.
“Malinaw naman siguro sa sinabi niya iyon pero malinaw din na hindi niya itinatakuwil ang ating automated system kundi lamang iyong supplier,” Comelec Spokesperon Director James Jimenez said.
(What he [Duterte] said was clear. He is not denouncing the automated system but only the supplier.)
However, the poll body maintained that they cannot just breach their contract and impose a ban on Smartmatic without any strong evidence.
“Kakailanganin natin ng legal basis to ban any supplier so iyon ang titignan natin,” Jimenez said emphasizing that it was Smartmatic that won the contract to handle the needs of the 2019 midterm polls.
(We will need a legal basis to ban any supplier and that is what we are contemplating.)
Aside from Smartmatic’s existing contract, additional funds will also be a concern but still, it is always possible to search for another service provider.
“Dumadaan tayo sa pubic bidding so there’s always a chance for that and the bidding schedules are designed to accommodate a new supplier,” he explained further.
Malacañang, meanwhile, was also quick to clarify the President’s statement saying he (Duterte) did not mean to give the impression that the recently concluded election was not honest nor credible.
“It is,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said referring to the credibility of the 2019 midterm polls.
Panelo explained that President Duterte was just responding to some concerns raised by both the opposition on certain technical glitches that raised questions on the technological competence of Smartmatic.
“The President wants that the future elections will not be subjected to the same aforementioned concerns,” Panelo said.
Panelo calls on Comelec to take President Duterte’s suggestion ‘seriously’ emphasizing that the poll body “should be the first one that should be fiercely protective of its image being the constitutional body mandated to safeguard the sanctity of the ballots.”
by Aileen Cerrudo | Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned winning candidates on Friday (May 24) that they cannot assume office without submitting their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) on or before June 13.
“Under the law, all candidates and political parties are required to submit their SOCE within 30 days after the elections. However, considering that the last day of filing of SOCE is June 12 which is a holiday, the Philippine Independence Day, SOCE can still be submitted the following day, the 13th of June, 2019,” Jimenez said.
Based on the Omnibus Election Code provision, “no person elected to any public office should enter upon the duties of his or her office until he/she has filed the SOCE herein required to be submitted to Comelec within 30 days since the election day.”
This also applies to candidates who were not able to secure a seat in government office.
Candidates who fail to submit their SOCE will face administrative sanctions.
“The submission of the SOCE by mail, courier or any other messenger services will not be accepted, while failure to file the SOCE will result in administrative sanction against the candidates and political parties,” Jimenez said.
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