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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last Minute Registration Process Post Deadline


Even as various field offices of the COMELEC were already wrapping up at midnight of October 31, 2009, there were still long queues of voter applicants in some areas wanting to  get registered on the deadline of registration.  It was, however, a ministerial duty of Election Officers to receive the filled up forms of these applicants.  


But the dilemma is, if these applicants will still have to undergo the process of biometrics-taking after having submitted their application forms, the bell will have already tolled at midnight of the deadline.  The next second more would render these applicants to have registered out of time, and therefore, not having registered at all, hence not qualified to vote for the National and Local Elections in May 10, 2010. 


What the Election Officers did was just to gather these forms and advised the applicants to come back for the final stage of the process of registration -- the biometrics-taking.  The following day, however, was a holiday.  So, the next working day would be in November 3, 2009.  


But what is the legal basis for Election Officers to take the biometrics of voter applicants three days after the deadline?  This is the purpose for the Minute Resolution No. 09-0741 promulgated by the COMELEC En Banc on November 3, 2009.  The RESOLUTION reads as follows:


MINUTE RESOLUTION No. 09-0741

IN THE MATTER OF COMPLETING THE PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS FOR REGISTRATION 
FILED LAST OCTOBER 31, 2009


Promulgated: 3 November 2009






In order to complete the processing of applications for registration filed last October 31, 2009, the Commission, after due deliberation, RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to direct all Election Officers concerned to continue the biometrics taking of those who filed applications for registration last October 31, 2009, on November 3, 2009, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, same day.
Let the Executive Director implement this resolution.
SO ORDERED.
(Sgd.) JOSE A.R. MELO
Chairman

(Sgd.) RENE V. SARMIENTO
Commissioner

(Sgd.) NICODEMO T. FERRER
Commissioner

(Sgd.) LUCENITO N. TAGLE
Commissioner

(Sgd.) ARMANDO C. VELASCO 
Commissioner

(Sgd.) ELIAS R. YUSOPH
Commissioner

(Sgd.) GREGORIO Y. LARRAZABAL 
Commissioner


PHOTO CREDIT:   philstar.com


Monday, November 9, 2009

May the Commission on Elections Postpone or Continue Elections?

Does the Commission on Elections have the power to postpone or continue elections?


This question is raised after news leaked out the other day saying that the poll chief airs concern over the possible delay in the delivery and configuration of the of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), the machine that will count the ballot at the precinct level.


"I want to be sure that the machines will come on time.  Until I see it, I’m worried," Comelec chair Jose Melo told reporters in an interview.



The Commission on Elections expects the delivery of the first batch of 42, 200 PCOS machines in December, while the remaining 40,000 is to arrive in January.  


Although the poll officials say the preparations for the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections are going smoothly, they have to be ready for major glitches coming up along the way.  


First, if the scheduled delivery of the PCOS machines pushes through smoothly, these machines have yet to undergo battery of tests before being configured for their respective precinct assignments.


"We’re still not out of the woods.  If we haven’t tested all the machines, what do we do?" Chairman Melo said, adding that if worse comes to worst, they would have to conduct a partial manual and partial automated elections.


Another development is now in the offing.  


A group called the Concerned Citizens' Movement is asking the High Court to nullify the P7.2 billion poll automation contract due to two "supervening events" after the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the deal.


In a 25-page supplemental motion filed by lawyer Harry Roque, the movement said the Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) group violated the terms of its contract with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).


The petition said that Smartmatic-TIM had failed to come up with telecommunications facilities and charged that the consortium had subcontracted the manufacture of its counting machines.


While Smartmatic-TIM is supposed to ensure 100-percent coverage for the immediate transmission of election results from precincts nationwide, the petition said that a private study of the contract showed that it did not have the facilities to do this.


While the merits of case will still have to be determined by the High Tribunal, this query is raised:  "May the COMELEC postpone or continue elections?"


The answer is in the affirmative.  


As a matter of fact, in the case of Sanchez vs. Commission on Elections, (114 SCRA 454), the Supreme Court ruled that the Commission on Elections is authorized to declare a failure of election because of the terrorism that attended the counting of the votes and the preparation of the election returns.


Likewise, Section 5 of B.P. Blg. 881 provides that:  


"When for any serious cause such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous cases of such a nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision, the Commission, motu proprio or upon a verified petition by any interested party, and after due notice and hearing, whereby all interested parties are afforded equal opportunity to be heard, shall postpone the election therein to a date which should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect, but not later than thirty days after cessation of the cause for such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How the Automated Election in May 10, 2010 Go?

Yahoo Southeast Asia, together with Smartmatic-TIM has provided us with a demonstration video of the process of how the first automated elections in the Philippines on May 10, 2010 will go.


We suggest that you replay the video over and over again, to 
familiarize yourself with the whole process. 

And, please, help us disseminate the knowledge you have learned from this video. 

If you have some query, please feel FREE to write them hereunder, 
including your COMMENTS or suggestions.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Can COMELEC Annul An Election?

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is vested with the power to enforce and administer all laws relative to the conduct of elections and to insure free, orderly, and honest elections.  Does its power include the authority to annul an election which may not have been free, orderly, and honest?


The Supreme Court, in holding that it does not include such authority, and that Article X, Section 2 of the 1935 Constitution [Guevara vs. Commission on Elections, 55 O.G. 1013] is merely preventive, said:


"It is intended to prevent any and all forms of election fraud or violation of the Election Law, but if it fails to accomplish that purpose, it is not the Commission on Elections that is charged with the duty to cure or remedy the resulting evil, but some other agencies of the Government.  The power to decide decisions involving the right to vote is expressly withheld from the Commission on Elections although, the right to vote is provided in the Election Law, the enforcement and administration of which is placed in the exclusive charge of the Commission.  Parallel to the withholding of such power from the Commission is the vesting in other agencies of the more inclusive power to decide all contests relating to the elections, returns and qualifications of the Members of Congress namely, the Electoral Tribunal of the Senate in the case of the senators, and the Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives in the case of the members of the latter.  Election contests involving provincial and municipal officials are entrusted to the courts."  [Nationalista Party vs. Commission on Elections, 85 Phil. 149]


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Resolution No. 8692

IN THE MATTER OF AMENDING SECTIONS 5 AND 6 OF COMELEC RESOLUTION NO. 8678, PROMULGATED OCTOBER 6, 2009, ENTITLED: "GUIDELINES ON THE FILING OF CERTIFICATES OF CANDIDACY AND NOMINATION OF OFFICIAL CANDIDATES OF REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAY 10, 2010 NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS" 

RESOLUTION No. 8692
(Promulgation:  5 November 2009)




"Sec. 5. Period for filing Certificate of Candidacy. - The certificate of candidacy shall be filed on regular days, from November 20 to 30, 2009, during office hours, except an the last day, which shall be until midnight.


Sec. 6. Certificates of nomination of official candidates by the political party. - The certificate of nomination of registered political parties or coalitions of political parties of their official candidates shall be filed, in five (5) copies, not later than the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy, duly signed and attested under oath by the party president, chairman, secretary-general or any other duly authorized officer and shall bear the acceptance of the nominee by affixing his signature in the space provided therein. If the certificate of nomination of a candidate is filed within the period for filing of certificate of candidacy, but after his certificate of candidacy has been filed, a copy of the certificate of nomination shall be attached to the certificate of candidacy.


For this purpose, all registered political parties shall, not later than November 15, 2009, submit to the Law Department the names and specimen signatures of the authorized signatories to official party nominations.


x x x                             x x x                             x x x


After due deliberation, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to amend Sections 5 and 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 8678, promulgated October 6, 2009, to now read as follows:


"Sec. 5. Period for filing Certificate of Candidacy. - The certificate of candidacy shall be filed from 8:00 o'clock in the morning up to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, beginning November 20, 2009 up to November 30, 2009, and up to midnight on December 1, 2009, inclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.


Sec. 6. Certificates of nomination of official candidates by the political party. - The certificate of nomination of registered political parties or coalitions of political parties of their official candidates shall be filed, in five (5) copies, not later than the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy, duly signed and attested under oath by the party president, chairman, secretary-general or any other duly authorized officer and shall bear the acceptance of the nominee by affixing his signature in the space provided therein. If the certificate of nomination of a candidate is filed within the period for filing of certificate of candidacy, but after his certificate of candidacy has been filed, a copy of the certificate of nomination shall be attached to the certificate of candidacy.


       For this purpose, all registered political parties shall, not later than November 16, 2009, submit to the Law Department the names and specimen signatures of the authorized signatories to official party nominations.


x x x                              x x x                             x x x


The Education and Information Department shall cause the publication of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines and give the same the widest dissemination possible and furnish copies thereof to all Regional Election Directors, Provincial Election Supervisors, Election Officers and accredited political parties and party-list organizations or coalitions participating in the party list system of representation.


SO ORDERED.


(Sgd.) JOSE A.R. MELO
Chairman

(Sgd.) RENE V. SARMIENTO            (Sgd.) NICODEMO T. FERRER
Commissioner                                Commissioner

(Sgd.) LUCENITO N. TAGLE                (Sgd.) ARMANDO C. VELASCO
Commissioner Commissioner

(Sgd.) ELIAS R. YUSOPH             (Sgd.) GREGORIO Y. LARRAZABAL
Commissioner                                    Commissioner

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Politicians To Sabotage 2010 Automated Polls?

Some unscrupulous politicians are planning to sabotage next year’s automated elections, a senator bared on Wednesday.

Senator Richard Gordon however could not substantiate his claims, saying only that he’d been receiving reports that some congressmen are planning to stop the implementation of the automated elections. 





“There are some people who are desperate. Natatakot sila na mahina yung kanilang kandidato (They are afraid that their bets would lose)," he said even as he expressed doubts that these politicians would succeed.

Hindi ko ipaglalaban yan passionately kung hindi ko nakikita na magwo-work yan (I would not have fought for it passionately if I did not see that it will work)," said the author of the Republic Act 9369 or the Amended Automated Elections System Law.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), on the other hand, dismissed the possibility of sabotage.

“Just trust the Comelec that we would ensure clean, honest and orderly elections in 2010," said Commissioner Ferdinand Rafanan in an earlier interview.

The poll body even said the the machines that will be used in the 2010 elections can even run without electricity.

“The machines can work on batteries for a total of sixteenhours, so even with a brownout, the machines will still work," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

The National Power Corporation (Napocor) said that it would require 
six billion pesos to ensure sufficient power supply on election day.

Renato Garcia, IT consultant of Comelec chairman Jose Melo, told reporters that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines work like portable computers, which can run on backup power.

“Since these are practically laptops, backup power is not really a problem and consumption of energy is very low," he said.

A total of 42, 200 PCOS machines will arrive in December while another 40,000 will be delivered in January.
 - GMANews.TV

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