Comelec intensifies campaign vs vote buying as 2019 election nears
by admin | Posted on Friday, 7 December 2018 04:30 PM
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
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 11:32 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday allayed concerns over its decision to declare the whole of Mindanao as a category red election hotspot.
The poll body on Tuesday (March 19) tagged the entire region as poll hotspot in the run-up to the 2019 May Midterm elections due to “serious armed threats” made by the New People’s Army, the Abu Sayyaf Group and other terrorist groups.
Some groups have raised concerns that the declaration may lead the Comelec to favor certain candidates in the coming polls. However, the commission assured that this will not happen.
“With regard to the apprehension that this declaration might lead to partisanship by the COMELEC, the election management body reassures the public that this will not happen,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement.
Jimenez said the decision to place the entirety of Mindanao under Comelec control “was the result of consultation with local Comelec officials, as well as the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).”
“While it cannot be gainsaid that there are areas within Mindanao that are relatively peaceful, the inescapable reality is that election-related violent incidents respect no municipal borders; and that the activities of armed groups and terror organizations are not always clearly demarcated,” he explained.
Jimenez also assured that the results reporting procedures of the automated election system will remain transparent and protected.
“The results reporting procedures of the automated election system are fully transparent and protected by multiple redundancies which, by and large, have been proven successful in preventing cheating in the last three automated elections – 2010, 2013, and 2016,” the Comelec official said.
“There is no reason to fear that it will be otherwise in 2019,” he added.
The assurance followed the call of Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin for Comelec to review its decision, claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte only wants to use the poll body “to subvert the electoral process to [ensure] its favored candidates’ victory” in the coming polls.
However, Jimenez stressed that “the Comelec simply seeks to ensure utmost responsiveness to whatever need may arise” when it placed Mindanao under category red. – Robie de Guzman
by UNTV News | Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 04:35 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday reported to have arrested more than 3,000 people for violating the election gun ban.
Data from the PNP showed that a total of 3,105 gun ban violators were apprehended from January 13, the start of the election period, to March 20, 2019. Arrested persons include 2,924 civilians, 57 security guards, 44 government officials, 32 cops, five soldiers, two Jail and Management Penology officials and seven other members of law enforcement agencies.
According to PNP Spokesperson Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, the policemen were arrested for carrying unlicensed personal firearms.
“They will face illegal possession of firearms for violating the law, their firearms license will also revoked,” Banac told reporters at a press briefing in Camp Crame.
Also arrested for violating the election gun ban were 23 members of threat groups, six from private armed groups, three foreign nationals and two CAFGU members.
The PNP also seized 2,603 firearms, 64 firearm replicas, 1,038 bladed and pointed weapons and 168 grenades. 356 other types of explosives and over 21,000 rounds of ammunition were also confiscated.
The election period in connection with the May midterm elections will last until June 12, 2019. During this time, only police and military on duty and in complete uniform are allowed to carry firearms.
Under election gun ban, permit to carry firearms outside of residence is cancelled and people are prohibited from bearing, carrying and transporting firearms, explosives and other deadly weapons if they have not secured exemptions from the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
The PNP also called on gun owners with expired licences to surrender their firearms to authorities.“We appeal to the responsible gun owners, if your license has expired, surrender your firearms to the nearest police station for temporary custody and safekeeping until you renew your expired license,” Banac urged. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Lea Ylagan)
by UNTV News | Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 05:05 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday assured it will be able to finish the printing of ballots for the 2019 midterm polls earlier than scheduled.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said the printing of ballots may be completed before the start of the Lenten season next month.
The poll body initially targeted to finish the printing by April 25.
As of March 19, Comelec was able to print more than 36 million ballots, which represents 60 percent of the over 63 million total number of ballots that need to be printed.
“Ang ballot printing natin is we’re almost 60% done. Ang ginagawa natin ngayon [ay] Region 2 hanggang NCR na lamang,” Jimenez said.
“We expect the task to be completed right around before the Holy Week, so ahead of schedule talaga tayo,” he added.
More than 61 million registered Filipino voters are expected to participate in the upcoming National and Local Elections set for May 13, 2019.
Around one million of the printed ballots will be used for the final testing and sealing process while the rest will be allotted for vote-counting machine demonstration and other purposes, the Comelec said. – Robie de Guzman(with details from Aiko Miguel)
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