COMELEC denies alleged violation of PET’s precautionary protection order

admin   •   August 11, 2016   •   3039

File photo.

File photo.

MANILA — COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista denies the allegation that the poll body has conducted stripping activity to the vote counting machines (VCM) used in the 2016 elections to be able to back up the data stored in the SD cards of the VCM.

This, after the camp of losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wrote COMELEC asking for an explanation on why they did not comply with the precautionary protection order (PPO) of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to preserve and protect all election paraphernalia relevant to Marcos’ electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

The letter states that COMELEC commenced with the stripping of the VCM last July 16 based on a resolution dated July 12.

The PPO of the PET was issued July 12.

“The order is clear. Do not touch it and yet any action to the contrary by the COMELEC, of course, it is an express and clear violation of the PET order,” Atty. Victor Rodriguez said, Marcos’ spokesperson.

Chairman Bautista says they have not touched a single machine in respect to the order issued by the tribunal.

However, the poll chief stressed that they need to back up the SD cards before returning the leased VCMs to its owner.

The vote counting machines must be returned to smartmatic before December.

This is the reason why the commission also wrote the PET seeking for clarification.

“If by December 1, hindi pa namin maibalik yung mga makina, ‘yung option to purchase will be triggered,” Bautista said.

(If by December 1, we are not yet able to return the machines, the option to purchase will be trigerred.)

“We will do this because the machines belong to Smartmatic, we just rented it. We need to back-up so we can keep it,” he added. — Victor Cosare / UNTV News & Rescue

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)

Opposition open to alliances; must go beyond anti-Duterte platform in 2022 polls – Drilon

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said the opposition group “must go beyond an anti-Duterte platform” in next year’s elections.

“The opposition must go beyond an anti-Duterte platform. The opposition must present a platform, which says that we can do better in the pandemic response because this is where the errors are committed and this is what we are going to do,” Drilon said in a television interview.

When asked to comment on observations that there is no one strong opposition candidate at this point, the senator said that having one opposition candidate is “desirable” but admits to it being a “very difficult task.”

“… [I]t is desirable to have one opposition candidate. That is what the 1Sambayan is trying to do. That is a very difficult task. They have taken upon themselves that difficult task. We support their effort,” he said.

“We do hope that the opposition can come up with only one candidate. As in any election in the past, the administration would always have the advantage. We must exert every effort to have one candidate to oppose the administration candidate,” he added.

Last week, political coalition 1Sambayan revealed their list of presidential and vice-presidential nominees. The list includes Vice President Leni Robredo, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos, Senator Grace Poe, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and CIBAC party-list Representative Eddie Villanueva.

If Robredo decides not to run in 2022 polls, Drilon, who sits as Liberal Party vice chairperson, said the Liberal Party is open to alliances.

“That is the reality of politics today. As we said, we should only have one candidate. We cross our fingers that VP Robredo will decide to run for president and we believe she is the strongest and, hopefully, she can unite all the non-Duterte candidates,” he said.

“If she does not run for the presidency, then the LP will have to meet and see where we will go from there,” he added.

Palace backs Sara Duterte remarks vs Leni Robredo over Davao COVID-19 case surge

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday backed Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s statements against Vice President Leni Robredo over the surge of COVID-19 cases in Davao City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he supports Mayor Sara’s remark that Robredo should stop “politicking” the Davao City’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

“Tigil na muna ni VP Leni ang pamumulitika,” Roque said at a Palace briefing.

“Sasagot naman po si Mayor Sara as Mayor of Davao City kapag po, the VP ‘dares to run for president’. So, abangan po natin ang engkwentro ng dalawa. Parating naman po yan,” he added.

On Monday, Duterte-Carpio told Robredo to “refrain from giving advice” if she knows nothing about the city government’s responses against COVID-19.

Duterte also said that Robredo “should not attack the medical community of Davao City as being inactive when they have been silently suffering and working tirelessly to help save lives since March of last year.”

“The VP should avoid involving the Covid-19 surge in Davao City in her attempt at politicking. There will be a proper time to attack my performance as an LCE in this pandemic if she dares to run for President,” she added.

Robredo earlier said that Davao City should learn from the experience of Cebu City in terms of handling the coronavirus surge when it became the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country.

The vice president’s camp has yet to comment on Duterte-Carpio’s statements. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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