Very close fight: New Leyte town mayor beats rival by 1 point

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2019   •   4248

San Isidro mayor-elect, Remedio “Wingbebot” Veloso

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday proclaimed Remedio “Wingbebot” Veloso as the new mayor of San Isidro town in Leyte.

The mayoral race in San Isidro was a very close fight as Veloso won against incumbent mayor Susan Ang by just one point.

Based on the partial unofficial election result from Comelec, Veloso garnered 8,829 votes against Ang’s 8,828.

Veloso said this is the first time that a razor-close election race happened in their town.

“Yung one vote na lamang sa akin ‘yun pinakamahirap talaga, tsaka God’s will. One in a million, [and] it happens in my life and also for the needs of the people of San Isidro,” the mayor-elect said.

He added that he is prepared to face any electoral protest that his opponent may lodge against him before the poll body.

Veloso ran under the United Nationalist Alliance banner while Ang sought a second term as mayor of the fourth-class town under the PDP-Laban party.

It can be recalled that on May 8, Ang’s ally and Leyte town administrator Levi Mabini was killed after a gunman strafed the incumbent mayor’s house.

Authorities have yet to identify the person behind Mabini’s killing. (with details from Jenelyn Gaquit-Valles)

Election watchdog says COC online filing is good, but fears rise of vote-buying via e-transfer apps

Maris Federez   •   June 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is mulling over online filing of certificates of candidacy for the coming elections after Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez said he will file a bill regarding this amid the pandemic.

Election watchdog, Kontra Daya, said the online filing of COCs is a good alternative, but added that authorities should guarantee the public that transparency will be preserved.

“Dapat pag-aralan  itong panukala na ito may bentahe naman kasi kung gawin ito online kasi yung visual spectable ng parada, pag pumunta ka sa tapat ng Comelec office ay mawawala at saka may risk kasi ng superspreader,” said Danilo Arao, Kontra Daya convener.

“Yung online na pagpa-file sana naman ay magkaroon mekanismo na parang transparent pa rin ‘yong proseso nito. Ang anomang datos na i-fill out sana online sana maging readily available yan sa publiko,” he added.

Kontra Daya also underscored the importance of providing access to independent groups allowing them to monitor and scrutinize pertinent data in the COC form, such as names, party affiliation, and the candidate’s desired position, for  purposes of transparency.

Arao also urges lawmakers to consider the status of the country’s internet connection in their deliberation on the proposed online filing of COCs, recommending a hybrid system wherein areas that have strong internet connection adopt the online filing, while those that have poor connectivity retain the face-to-face filing.

“Sana may paraan yung Comelec na makapagbigay ng mga kiosk o ng anomang mekanismo para atleast kung kinakailangan online yung submission ay may ganung mekanismo pa rin sa mga nagnanais na tumakbo pero walang internet,” he said.

Meanwhile, the group fears that possible vote-buying might still take place, specifically with the use of various electronic transfer applications.

They said gathering evidence on such practices is difficult especially when face accounts are used by the sender and the receiver.

The group also appeals to the public not to compromise their principle and to never let themselves fall prey to vote-buying.

“Yung susing salig talaga dito ay yung voter education ito ‘yong parati naming ginagawa kaya kapag may nag-iimbita sa amin magbigay ng seminar o mga workshop hinggil sa eleksyon  sa mga election hindi po talaga kami tumatanggi,” Arao said. —/mbmf (with details from Dante Amento)

COMELEC to launch mobile registration app on June 15

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A mobile application that aims to streamline the voter registration process will be launched on Tuesday, June 15, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said Monday.

In a statement, COMELEC said the launching of the Mobile Registration Form App will be held in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

The mobile app can be accessed with any smartphone even when offline, the poll body said.

“The launch of the mobile app is very timely in the face of mobility restrictions brought about by COVID-19, because you will only need a smartphone to accomplish the form. This will save time, effort and money that will otherwise be spent on going to a computer shop to download and print the form, or getting the form at the local COMELEC to fill it out manually,” said COMELEC Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, who conceptualized the project.

“A QR Code is generated upon successful accomplishment of the form. You must save the QR Code on your smartphone, and afterwards, you may visit your local COMELEC office to have your QR Code scanned and your biometrics taken,” he added.

The Mobile Registration Form App is downloadable through the link, bit.ly/MobileFormApp. It can also be shared offline from one Android smartphone to another through SHAREit or any other file-sharing application.

Once installed, the user may already apply for voter registration without need for internet connectivity.

COMELEC said that the app was rolled out in select pilot areas at the start of June.

“It is currently being implemented in more than 500 cities and municipalities nationwide, including National Capital Region (NCR), Cebu City and Davao City,” it added.

Steps on using the Mobile Registration Form App:

  • Open the mobile app, and tap “Get Started”
  • Select the desired type of application and tap “Proceed”
  • Input all the necessary personal information
  • Confirm your personal information by ticking the checkbox
  • Tap “Generate QR Code” and “Save” to save it in your phone gallery
  • Bring a valid ID upon visiting your local COMELEC office for your QR Code scanning.

“For any question or clarification about the mobile app, our Voter Care Center hotlines on mobile (+63 927 5595 926), Facebook (facebook.com/comelec.ph) and Twitter (twitter.com/COMELEC) are open to the public,” Spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Comelec eyes limited face-to-face campaign

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) still has yet to release official guidelines for the campaign in the 2022 national elections.

Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jrsaid the agency will still allow physical campaigning. However, the Comelec commissioner said they will discourage physical interaction which would put the public and the candidates at risk.

“We will probably limit the number of people to attend, the time, as well as ang walang interaction, in the sense that magkaroon ang pagha-handshake, maghahawak ng babies, maghahalik ng mga babies. Idi-discourage na namin iyan,” he said.

(We will also limit interaction. We will discourage handshakes and holding and kissing babies.)

Comelec is also encouraging candidates to campaign using social media. It will also consider limiting the expenses in social media campaigns similar to campaign spending in broadcast advertisements.

The agency is also considering launching a website to accommodate candidates in their campaign activities.

“We will be strict on that matter especially we anticipate that this coming election, social media presence will be a major thing for campaigns. It’s a great equalizer probably for people, for candidates with less funding,” Kho said.

The campaign period for the national candidates will begin on February 8 until May 7, 2022, and that for local candidates will begin on March 27 until May 7, 2022.

Meanwhile, Comelec is also looking into setting schedules for candidates to file their certificates of candidacy in October to avoid crowding and mass gatherings in their office. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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