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

Maris Federez   •   June 20, 2021   •   306

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)

CA confirms Bulay’s appointment to COMELEC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of lawyer Rey Bulay as a new Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner.

Bulay got unanimous votes from the 25-man panel after the CA committee on constitutional commissions and offices conducted a hearing to determine his experience and capability to hold a sensitive government post.

President Rodrigo Duterte nominated Bulay to COMELEC in November to replace former COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia who retired in February 2020.

Prior to his appointment, Bulay served as Manila chief city prosecutor and a commissioner at the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

He also served as councilor of Muntinlupa City in the early part of his career as a public servant.

Bulay’s tenure in COMELEC will end on February 2, 2027.

Aplikasyon para sa exemption sa election gun ban at security detail recall, simula na sa Dec. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Simula Miyerkules, Disyembre 1, ay tatanggap na ng aplikasyon ang Philippine National Police (PNP) at Commission on Elections para sa exemption sa gun ban at security detail recall kaugnay ng 2022 elections.

Ayon kay PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Augustus Alba, tatagal hanggang Mayo 25 ang application period.

Batay sa Comelec Resolution 10728, ipinagbabawal ang pagdadala ng baril kapag nagsimula na ang election period sa Enero 9 hanggang Hunyo 8, 2022.

Kailangan ding i-recall ang lahat ng security detail na dineploy ng Police Security and Protection Group sa mga pulitiko, opisyal ng pamahalaan at pribadong indibiduwal.

 Tanging ang mga may pahintulot lamang ng Comelec ang bibigyan ng bantay.

Exempted sa recall ng security detail ang Presidente, Bise Presidente, Senate President, House Speaker, Supreme Court Chief Justice, AFP chief of staff at major service commanders, COMELEC chairman, mga kalihim ng Department of National Defense at ng Interior and Local Government, at senior officers ng PNP.

Ang mga ire- recall na security detail o protection security personnel ay isasalang naman sa VIP security and protection refresher course.

Sa lahat ng interesado ay maaaring mag-apply online sa official website ng COMELEC.

Comelec to hold nationwide mock elections before year ends

Maris Federez   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to conduct a nationwide mock election on December 29, 2021 as part of the poll body’s preparations for the 2022 national and local elections.

According to Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teopisto Elnas, Jr., mock elections will be done in Metro Manila and six other provinces.

In Luzon, it shall be conducted in the provinces of Isabela and Albay. In the Visayas, it shall be held in the Negros Oriental and Leyte; while in Mindanao, the mock elections will be conducted in Davao del Sur.

In Metro Manila, the selected cities for the mock elections are Pateros, Taguig, and Pasay; while in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, it will be conducted in Maguindanao province.

In total, the mock elections will be done in 34 barangays nationwide and will target 4,800 registered voters.

Comelec spokesperson, Director James Jimenez, said the commission will meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on December 4.

“To discuss the security preparations for the mock elections. Medyo ano kasi malaki yong mock elections, the mock elections will involve real voters and a real board of election inspectors. So there is a lot of concern about safety and security,” he said.

Jimenez added that the IATF is welcome to give its inputs on how the mock elections must be done.

“Hindi pa kasi final we’re just starting to prepare for it but it will be nationwide so that’s mean that it will have a location in Luzon, Visayas,and Mindanao,” Jimenez said. —/mbmf

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