Poll body stays despite shift to federal form of government

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2017   •   5017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_072717_FEDERAL GOV

“The Comelec cannot be abolished because there is a need for an agency that would supervise the election. The question would be if the Comelec will continue to be a national organization or will it be a state organization.”

This was the explanation of Comelec chairman Andres Bautista when asked about what will happen to the poll body if the proposed shift of government from democracy to federalism pushes through.

In the proposal of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., there will be 11 federal states when the country shifts to federalism – 4 states in Luzon, another four in Visayas, and 3 in Mindanao.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said it will still depend on what kind of federalism the country will adapt.

Bautista said one example of federalism is United States where each state has its own election agency.

“That might possibly happen. There might be a Comelec for Luzon, for Visayas, and Mindanao. That would depend on those who would write the federalism law,” Chairman Andres Bautista said.

Comelec said it is ready to discuss its stance on the matter should congress summon the poll body regarding the proposal.

Comelec also recommends a nationwide discussion among lawmakers to help the public understand the effects of federalism in the country.

“What’s important for me is for the public to be taught and given with proper information regarding the plan to shift to a new form of government,” said Bautista.

Bautista said implementing federalism in the country will not be effective at present especially since the country is being run by a democratic government.

Shifting to a federal form of government will mean each state will be given autonomy to create their own laws like on taxation, and infrastructure.

The National Government, meanwhile, will be in charge of matters pertaining to internal and external defense, as well as foreign affairs. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News and Rescue

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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