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Comelec intensifies campaign vs vote buying as 2019 election nears

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is busy with its preparations for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.

Aside from this, Comelec reminded the public to vote wisely and warned candidates against vote buying.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said they have coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other groups to keep an eye on said election offense.

Comelec admitted that the battle against vote buying is a tough challenge, however, their work becomes easier with reports that help identify those who are engaged in vote buying.

“Vote buying remains a problem but over the last two elections. We’ve been making advances dahil nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa PNP and sa mga local groups ngayon ang pinanggagalingan ng reports na nakukuha natin,” said Jimenez.

Comelec explained that cash is not the sole means to buy a person’s vote.

In the previous elections, offers ranged from livestock, vegetables, sacks of rice, and grocery items.

Jimenez said a few cash is not worth handing the country’s management over to corrupt officials.

“Kahit sabihin mo ng limang libong worth of something, limang libo lang iyan hindi tatagal iyan pero iyong serbisyo na mawawala sa inyo dahil binigay niyo sa taong walang pakialam sa kapakanan ninyo. Tatlong taon niyong iindahin iyon at kung minalas-malas kayo baka ang umalit sa kaniya kamag-anak  pa rin,” said Jimenez.

Apart from cash and products, election candidates take advantage of government services to score a vote.

“We’ve also had cases of vote buying where being promised were insurance cards, and in some cases membership in government. Dole out programs, those are particularly disturbing,” said the spokesperson.

The Omnibus Election Code states that any candidate who is proven to have engaged in vote buying, may face disqualification, imprisonment and lose the right to vote. —  UNTV News & Rescue

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Comelec: Martial law favorable to BOL plebiscite, 2019 elections in Mindanao

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Philippine army man the checkpoint at the entrance of Maguindanao province, 11 May 2013. Security is tightened as political tension rises two days before the Philippine midterm election in the province. Maguindanao is among the election hot spots tagged by Comelec.

 

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – On January 21 next year, The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold the plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in Isabela City in Basilan, and in Cotabato City.

The plebiscite will determine if residents are in favor of the passage of the Bangasamoro Organic Law that will govern the proposed Bangsamoro region.

According to Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez, a second plebiscite will be held in February in 19 barangays that wish to be included in the new Bangsamoro region.

“Ang unang plebisito ang dedesisyunan niya kung mararatify ba ang BOL o hindi. Ang susunod na eleksyon, ang susunod na plebisito para doon sa mga lugar na gustong sumali kung matutuloy ang pagsali nila sa Bangsamoro,” Jimenez explained in an interview with the program ‘Get It Straight with Daniel Razon’ on Tuesday (December 11).

Jimenez said the poll body has already printed 2.8 million ballots for the plebiscite which they have started distributing in areas where the plebiscite will be held.

Former Commissioner Samira Gutuc of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) hopes that the plebiscite will be a success.

She expressed concern of the possible consequences should the BOL fails citing the impending petition against its passage in the Supreme Court (SC).

“Baka the Supreme Court would look at the petition against the BOL favorably at baka hindi maiakyat ang batas BOL sa implimentasyon. Pagka walang BOL at walang boto ng ‘yes’ ngayong January, ay baka balik tayo sa ARMM at magkakagulo ang Mindanao ulit,” Gutuc explained.

 On the other hand, the former commissioner believes that the recent approval to extend the martial law in Mindanao may not be favorable to the conduct of the plebiscite and the midterm elections in 2019.

“Martial Law will not help a free and shared democratic debate over BOL,” she argued.

Some opposition personalities who are running in next year’s elections agreed with Gutuc on the matter.

“Sa buong panahon na nasa ilalim ng martial law ang Mindanao, hindi umangat ang kabuhayan ng mga kababyan natin doon,” former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said.

“Ang ikinakatakot natin dito, bumababa yung batayan sa pagdedeklara ng Martial Law kaya pwedeng ikasa na yung lahat ng elemento para magdeklara ng isang nationwide Martial Law,” former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay noted.

“Kapag sinabi nating Martial Law, that is an emergency power. May emergency pa ba sa Mindanao?” argued Atty Jose Manuel Diokno, a senatorial candidate in 2019.

Despite the oppositions, the Comelec and the Palace believe that the extension of Martial rule in Mindanao will benefit both the conduct of the plebiscite and the 2019 midterm elections.

“From the point of view of election administration nakabuti pa actually ang martial law. Ang presensya ng military, it pacifies the area and it minimizes yung mga attack yung mga decedent forces,” Director Jimenez said.

I do not see any relation, what is the relation. In fact, martial law is even acceptable to people of Mindanao precisely because the security is kept. If there will be a plebiscite then people who would want to do something to derail the plebiscite, They will think twice because there is martial law. It’s even helpful,” Presidential Spokesperon Salvador Panelo concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Bato eligible for police escorts after receiving death threats — PNP

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2018

Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police chief, PDG Oscar Albayalde said the PNP is ready to assign police escorts to its former chief, PDG Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa despite his intention to run for Senate as he has allegedly been receiving death threats from drug lords.

Comelec has a ruling that candidates and private individuals are not allowed to have police escorts during election period.

Albayalde added that Dela Rosa is allowed to have two security details owing to his former position as chief of PNP.

He explained that based on PNP regulations, all retired generals who hold a two-star rank and higher are allowed to have two police escorts.

Should Dela Rosa wish to have more than two security details, he has to secure the President’s approval. — Lea Ylagan

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Koko Pimentel, Freddie Aguilar, Abner Afuang among first to file COCs

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

(L-R) Former Pagsanjan Mayor Abner Afuang, former Senate President Koko Pimentel, Music icon Freddie Aguilar

MANILA, Philippines — The early birds at the office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Intramuros Manila were filing their certificates of candidacy for the Senate race in 2019.

The first to arrive was former Senate president Koko Pimentel who is seeking reelection. He said decided to file early as he will be busy preparing for his wedding next week with partner, Kathyrna Yu.

“Ito po ang aming campaign color ng partido PDP Laban,” Pimentel said referring to his red shirt. “Pakiusap ko sa mga kapartido ko na pag nag-file o nagkampanya, dalhin ang color red. That is the revolutionary color. Ibig sabhihin nun, PDP entertains even radical ideas on how to solve our problems — out of the box solutions to problems,” he said.

Following Pimentel was musician Freddie Aguilar who said he was compelled to join the Senate race.

“Matagal na nila akong kinukubinsi dahil daw po sa aking mga advocacy sa mga kanta ko for 40 years,” Aguilar said. “Ang nagpapayag sa akin ay mga ordinaryong mamamayan lang po at sa kagustuhan ko pong tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabago, pati ako na walang hilig sa pulitika ay tumakbo na rin para makatulong sa bayan natin.”

Third to arrive was former Pangasinan mayor Abner Afuang who first grabbed headlines in 2009 when he poured water on celebrity doctor Hayden Kho during a Senate probe on a sex video scandal.

“Sabi ko ayaw ko na ng pulitika; kultura pera. Ginawang political dynasty ng nga corrupt na official,” he ranted before members of the press.

Afuang’s COC was reported to have been rejected by Comelec because he used an outdated form. He said he will correct the error and file again. — Nel Maribojoc

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