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Some senatorial aspirants to petition against election surveys

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2019

(L-R) Atty. Larry Gadon and Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdez

MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial hopefuls Atty. Larry Gadon and Antonio ‘Butch’ Valdez on Monday (January 21) will file a petition at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against election surveys being conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Gadon argued that surveys prevent voters from choosing wisely as some are swayed to favor candidates based on survey ranking than on
track record and qualifications.

“Ang sinasabi ko dito sa petition, huwag na nilang i-publish dahil ang nangyayari nagiging instrument ito ng mind conditioning, na instead na makapagbigay ng tamang impormasyon sa botante ay parang ginagamit ito para ikondisyon ang isip nila na ito ang iboto niyo,” Gadon said.

The two also questioned the process of the surveys as they are tapping only a small percentage of the entire Philippine population.

They claim that surveys are not valid information but mere propaganda.

However, Jose Ramon Albert, a senior research fellow in the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) belied such claim saying surveys actually reflect the preference of the public.

Albert added that there are many factors that may influence a person’s preference such as the social media.

“The Supreme Court already had a view about this a long time ago about this being a right to information. Surveys are largely a snapshot of what people think. Whether others get influenced by a bandwagon is ultimately an issue of choices of people given information. Even traditional and social media are carriers of information and can influence people, should that mean media should be banned as well?” Albert said.

Valdez, for his part, urges the public to be wise in choosing a candidate and not to depend on surveys.

“We should get out people involved. Lahat po ng mga mamamayan, whatever your party affiliations are, you must get involved to get back the country into the hands of Filipinos,” he said.

The UNTV News and Rescue team sought the Comelec for comments but to no avail.

The poll body previously noted, however, that the public should not depend on surveys when it comes to voting or electing a public official.

“Halimbawa, kung ikaw naniniwala ka sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan, bakit ka pipili ng kandidato na ang mga kilos at mga gawa ay hindi nakatuon sa kababaihan o hindi pumo-protekta sa kababaihan?”
said Comelec spokesperson, James Jimenez .

“Pipili ka ng sumasang- ayon sa iyong paniniwala and I think iyon ang pinakamahalagang standard na ginagamit natin,” he added — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aileen Cerrudo)

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Overseas absentee voting kicks off April 13

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Dubai participates in 2013 Philippine elections through overseas absentee voting (OAV). (Lonix Foto Grafix | PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) has begun today, April 13.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) said there are a total of 1,822,173 overseas voters for this election. Majority of this voters are land-based workers totaling 1,779,140 while 43,033 are sea-based workers.

In photos taken by UNTV News and Rescue team in Singapore (correspondent Queenie Ballon), some of the registered Filipino voters there have lined up early at the Philippine Embassy to cast their votes.

Overseas Filipino worker Bobby Catolos, who has been working in Singapore for 20 years now, said he makes it a point to consistently exercise his right to suffrage since 2007.

In Hongkong, the UNTV News and Rescue team (correspondent Ferdie Petalio) reported that Filipinos there also went to cast their votes early despite the inclement weather.

Comelec-OFOV said most of the registered voters are in the Middle East and African region followed by the Asia Pacific, North and Latin America and European region.

However, there will be no OAV in three areas—Damascus in Syria, Tripoli in Libya and Baghdad in Iraq—due to the ongoing tensions there.

READ: DFA raises alert level 3 in Libya

Comelec said that of the 83 countries or Philippine posts, 41 will use vote counting machines (VCM), while Filipinos abroad within the jurisdictions of the remaining 42 areas will use the manual system of voting, either personal or through postal.

The 41 posts that will use VCMs include Agana, Brunei, Calgary, Chicago, Canberra, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles, Macau, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Wellington, Athens, London, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Beirut, Abu Dhabu, Kuwait, Manama, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Muscat, AL-Khobar, Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

The 42 countries that will use postal voting are Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Bangkok, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzho, Hanoi, Islamad, Mexico, Santiago, Port Moresby, Yangon, Ankara, Berne, Budapes, Berline, Brussels, Budapest, Lusbon, Moscow, Geneva, Oslo, Paris, The Hague, Vienna, Warsaw, Prague, Cairo, Pretoria and Abuja.

Personal voting will be used in Jakarta, Dhaka, Dili, Manado, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Xiamen, Shanghai, Vatican, Amman, Tehran and Nairobi.

Comelec-OFOV hopes for higher voter turnout this election than the 16 percent recorded in 2007 and 2013 polls.

The overseas absentee voting will last until May 13. – Robie de Guzman

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Comelec spox calls on politicians to spare dogs from politicking

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A photo of a dog with a campaign sticker on its body has gone viral on social media.

No less than Commission on Election (Comelec) Spokesperson Director James Jimenez posted the image on his Twitter account with the caption:

“Seriously. Isn’t it enough that politicking has already trashed the country you claim to love, you’ve got to harass dogs too?”

Netizens condemned what they claim as animal cruelty or a form of political gimmickry.

Jimenez did not mention any violation that corresponds the act but at the end of the caption, he called on the public to “Leave.Dogs.Alone.” – Marje Pelayo

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Comelec suspends polls for House seats in Southern Leyte

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold special elections for the two new legislative districts in Southern Leyte after the conduct of the May midterm polls.

Under Comelec Resolution 10513 released on March 25, the election of lawmakers for the two congressional districts can no longer be held on May 13, 2019 following the enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 11198.  

Last February, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the RA 11198 which divided the lone district of Southern Leyte into two.

Under the law, the first district shall be composed of the city of Maasin, and the towns of Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Limasawa, Tomas Oppus, Bontoc and Malitbog.

The second district shall be comprised of Sogod, Libagon, Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, St. Bernard, Anahawan, San Juan, Hinunangan, Hinundayan and Silago.

Comelec said the present configuration of the electoral data for the lone district of the Southern Leyte can no longer be modified.

“The present configuration can no longer be revised or modified in time for the May 13 elections without jeopardizing the preparations for the election of other positions,” the resolution stated.

The poll body said the votes for the said position in the upcoming polls will be considered stray.

“In case the position for member, House of Representatives is voted upon in the May 13 elections, all votes for the said position shall be considered stray,” the commission said.

Comelec noted that the special elections for Southern Leyte Representatives will be conducted within six months after the May 13 polls.

The election in the province for the positions of Senator, Party-list representatives and local elective posts shall proceed as scheduled on May, Comelec said.

“The incumbent Representative of the Lone district of the Province of Southern Leyte, he/she shall continue to represent the legislative district until noon of June 30, 2019,” the resolution said. – Robie de Guzman

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