Friday, February 25, 2011

COMELEC to Congress: Decide early on ARMM polls postponement

Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr.
Saying it is doing a delicate balancing act, the Commission on Elections appealed to Congress Monday to decide early on whether to postpone the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao scheduled for Aug. 8.

In a radio interview, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said they stand either to waste some P2 billion in preparations for an election that will be postponed, or scramble at the last minute for an election that will turn out to proceed as scheduled.

"Siguro mapapakiusapan ni Presidente and I hope mapapakiusapan ang leadership ng House na ma-postpone. Ang hingi lang namin bilisan nang kaunti. Ang Senate is another issue. Tingnan natin kung mabibilisan nila ang pag-postpone," Brillantes told radio dwIZ.

(Perhaps President Benigno Aquino III can persuade the House of Representatives to act early to decide whether to postpone the ARMM polls. We only ask that the process be accelerated. The Senate is another issue. We hope to see the moves to postpone the elections move quicker.)

He cited concerns raised earlier by some lawmakers and officials involved in the peace process that holding the ARMM elections now may negatively affect the negotiations.

Brillantes said peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front may touch on the possible expansion of the ARMM.

A conflict may arise if the negotiations lead to changes in the areas covered by the ARMM, but only officials of provinces covered by the present ARMM are elected if the elections push through as originally scheduled on Aug. 8.

Included in the ARMM are the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and the Islamic City of Marawi.

House bill

At the House of Representatives, Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian. Balindong filed House Bill 3542 that seeks to reschedule the ARMM polls to coincide with the May 2013 mid-term elections.

"There is a chance the area covered by the ARMM may expand because of the peace process. Some sectors have thus proposed that we postpone the ARMM elections and synchronize it with the May 2013 elections. In the meantime, the terms of the incumbent ARMM officials can be extended," Brillantes said in Filipino.

Brillantes said he made a courtesy call on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile last week, where he asked the Senate to decide early whether to postpone the ARMM elections.

"Pinakiusapan ko lang magkaroon ng postponement sa House, pakiusap namin sa Comelec bilisan lang sa Senado para di tayo mabitin sa preparation. Kung gagastos na tayo, gagastos tayo sa preparation. Pag na-postpone at tumagal ang postponement, baka malaki na rin ang nagastos natin sa preparation. Gusto natin maaga ang announcement na ma-postpone na para di gumastos masyado at ma-minimize natin ang gastos," he said.

(After I asked the House leadership to make its decision early, I asked the Senate to do the same so we can prepare well. If we are to spend for the preparations, we should do so wisely. We need the announcement to come early so we will not waste funds)," he said.

He said Enrile did not make any commitment but will monitor developments on the debates on the matter at the House of Representatives.

"Di siya nag-commit sa akin. Pero sabi niya tingnan natin pag may postponement sa House and it will go up the Senate, pakikiusapan niya na bilisan ang decision kasi kailangan namin malaman (He made no commitment but said that if the House decides to postpone the elections and the issue goes up to the Senate he will fast-track the decision)," he said.

P2B for ARMM polls preparation

In the same radio interview, Brillantes said the Comelec has set aside P2 billion for the ARMM elections. For now, he said it has spent nearly P50 million for the Aug. 8 polls.

"We don’t want to pay millions, billions ang gastos dito. We’re preparing P2 billion ang gastos sa ARMM elections (We don’t want to pay billions. We are preparing P2 billion for the ARMM elections)," he said.

He said the bulk of the P2 billion may go to buying some 5,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines worth P135 million, and their software and other “consumables."

Brillantes said they will likely buy the PCOS machines from Smartmatic, saying that when the Comelec leased 82,000 machines for the 2010 elections, it had the right to exercise an option to purchase.

He said the PCOS machines will cost only about 30 percent of the cost. — RSJ, GMA News

Sunday, February 20, 2011

VOTER REGISTRATION in the ARMM for the August 8 ARMM Elections


Promulgation: 11 February 2011

Pursuant to the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Republic Act No. 8189 and other related election laws, the Commission on Elections has RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to promulgate the following rules and regulations to govern the resumption of the system of continuing registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in connection with the August 8, 2011 ARMM Elections:

SECTION 1. Declaration of policy. – It is the policy of the Commission to establish a clean, complete, permanent, and updated list of voters through the adoption of biometrics technology (photograph, fingerprints and signature) in the registration process.

SEC. 2. Date, time and place of filing, hearing and approval/disapproval of applications. – Applications for registration, transfer of registration records, change/corrections of entries in the registration records, reactivation of registration records and inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters, shall be personally filed beginning March 21, 2011 to March 31, 2011 at the Office of the Election Officer (OEO) of the city/municipality where the applicant resides, from Monday to Saturday, inclusive of holidays during regular office hours at 8:00 o’clock a.m. to 5:00 o’clock p.m.

The applications shall be heard by the Election Registration Board (ERB) at the OEO, in accordance with the following schedule: 

Period to file applications
Last day to post Notice of Hearing with Lists of Applicant
Last day to file opposition to applications
Hearing and Approval/ Disapproval of applications
March 21, 2011 to March 31, 2011
April 2, 2011
April 5, 2011
April 8, 2011

The Election Officer (EO) shall adopt a system of processing applications to speed up the registration process, minimize queuing and avoid inconvenience.

SEC. 3. Procedure in case of Defective Voters Registration Machine (VRM) and/or its Peripherals. - In case the VRM and/or its peripherals become defective during the registration period, no application for registration, transfer of registration records, change/correction of entries in the registration records/inclusion of registration records/reinstatement of name in the list of voters shall be accepted. The Election Officer (EO) through the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) upon certification by the CVL technician shall inform immediately the Information Technology Department (ITD) and Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD) that the VRM and/or its peripherals are defective. In which case, pending the repair of the VRM or its peripheral, the ITD shall issue a replacement.

The EO shall immediately notify in writing the concerned applicants once the VRM is functional for the taking/capturing of their biometrics data. If the applicant fails to return despite notice in writing, his application shall be considered incomplete and deemed not filed, hence, shall not be submitted for appropriate action by the ERB. The EO shall print and post the list of applicants who failed to return for biometrics data capturing in the city/municipality bulletin boards and EO’s Office.

SEC. 4. Who may register. – Any Filipino citizen residing in the provinces of Basilan (except Isabela City), Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao (except Cotabato City), and Lanao del Sur, may register as a voter provided that:

a) At least eighteen (18) years of age on or before August 8, 2011;
b) A resident of the Philippines for at least one (1) year and in the place wherein he proposes to vote, for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the August 8, 2011 ARMM Elections; and,
c) Not otherwise disqualified by law.

Any person, who has not reached the required voting age or period of residence on the day of registration but will possess such qualifications on or before the August 8, 2011 elections, may register as a voter.

SEC. 5. Who are disqualified to register. - The following are disqualified from registering as a voter:
  1. Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than one (1) year, such disability not having been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty;
  2. Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by a competent court or tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to the duly-constituted government, such as, rebellion, insurrection, violation of the firearms laws, or any crime against national security unless restored to his full civil and political rights in accordance with law; and
  3. Insane or incompetent person as declared by competent authority unless subsequently declared by proper authority that such person is no longer insane or incompetent.
Any person disqualified to register under paragraphs (1) and (2) above shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence.

SEC. 6. Application Forms for Registration (CEF-1A). - Application forms for Registration (CEF-1A) shall be available at the Office of the Election Officer free of charge, or may be downloaded from the Comelec Website,, using long bond paper (preferably substance 20/70 gsm). Sample of the Application is hereto attached as Annex “A” (CEF-1-A – Application for Registration). 


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