Comelec issues guidelines for foreign election observers Created on March 8, 2013, 4:56 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has come out with guidelines for foreigners who wish to monitor the country’s second automated polls on May 13.

In Resolution 9652, the Comelec said any “foreigner or foreign group, organization, committee or association, representing government or private interests,” who may want to observe the elections, must file an application for accreditation with the agency’s Education and Information Department.

The period for the filing of application is from Feb. 1 to April 15.

Duly accredited observers can conduct interview with or attend briefings of candidates and political parties before election day; interview members of the Board of Election Inspectors and voters, document proceedings on election day, and observe counting and transmission of ballots and transport of the precinct count optical scan machines after the election.

The Comelec emphasized that accreditation comes with responsibilities.

“In choosing respondents for interviews, endeavor to apply objective criteria in order to ensure fairness and balance in their observations and conclusions. Ensure that all observers and monitors explicitly state, in all their statements to the media on Election Day, that their observations and monitoring activities, and that the same are not necessarily indicative of conditions throughout the country,” the Comelec added.

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The resolution stated that violators of these provisions face one to six years imprisonment, and deportation after the prison term has been served.

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan called on the Philippine National Police and the Comelec to intensify efforts to curb the rising number of election-related violent in the country despite the enforcement of a gun ban.

“We have yet to hear of an election-related violent case that was investigated and that has led to the conviction of the perpetrators and masterminds,” he said.

Pangilinan recalled the torching in 2007 of a school building in Taysan, Batangas during the elections. The incident killed a teacher and another person.

“Clearly, more needs to be done to curb electoral violence in the country. We urge the PNP and the Comelec to do all they can to arrest those who, in trying to win at all costs, have murder on their minds,” he said.

Poll-related violence has already been reported during the campaign, with the killing of the mayor of Isabela being one of the high-profile cases. Recently, two electoral candidates in Masbate were shot a day apart from each other.

“The Maguindanao massacre where 58 people, including 32 media workers, were killed because of local politics should serve as a grim reminder to our police and election commissioners on how deadly election season can be in the country,” Pangilinan said.

Apart from the Comelec and the PNP, Pangilinan said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) must work double-time and outsmart these perpetrators to pinpoint the masterminds behind election-related violence and electoral fraud.

“It is only when we bring these cases to justice that we will begin to see genuine change in how political campaigns are being run in the country,” he said. – With Christina Mendez

Comelec to reinstate 230,000 OFWs in voters’ list Created on March 7, 2013, 3:21 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines - To avoid disenfranchisement of overseas Filipinos this coming election, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to reinstate more than 230,000 Filipinos abroad in the voter’s lists.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that the agency reconsidered an earlier decision to drop these voters from the lists after meeting with their representatives recently.

“It won’t look good if they travel all the way to the posts only to be told that that their voter’s registration had been deactivated so we decided to reinstate them,” Brillantes said in an interview.

Earlier, the Comelec had deactivated the registration of 238,557 overseas absentee voters after they failed to vote in the 2007 and 2010 national elections.

In Comelec Resolution 9653, the poll body ordered the extension of the period for the filing of “manifestation of intent” to vote by overseas absentee voters up to the last day of voting, which is on May 13.

The voting period for Filipino voters abroad starts one month before May 13, election day in the Philippines.

More Pinoys believe Sabah is Philippines' territory Created on March 7, 2013, 3:20 am Posted by nup

President Benigno Aquino III should be more aggressive in pursuing Sabah, netizens said, as they backed the country's claim on the disputed territory.

More than two out of three (67 percent) of the 11,789 respondents in a Yahoo! poll so far think Sabah belongs to the Philippines.

On the other hand, only 7 percent of Yahoo! poll respondents chose the answer "Sabah belongs to Malaysia."

Peaceful negotiations, meanwhile, is the next step 25 percent of respondents think the government should start looking into.

The survey has been posted on Yahoo! Philippines' front page since Monday when fighting erupted between Malaysian forces and the Sulu sultan's men.

The bloody altercation is the violent escalation of a standoff since Feb. 9 over Sultan Jamalul Kiram III's ancestral claim on the territory.

Malaysia-trained fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front have also reportedly joined the Sulu Sultanate's men Tuesday.

Malaysian authorities have launched an all-out offensive Tuesday to clear out the Filipino group holed out in Sabah.

A total victory declared by Malaysia, however, has been downplayed by supporters of the Sulu Sultanate, even as reports floated the possibility that armed Filipino men had survived and escaped.

The President, meanwhile, stood pat on his calls for the Filipino group to lay down their arms and surrender without condition to Malaysian authorities.

His stand has since drawn mixed reactions from several groups and individuals, including the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The government "refused to act upon the clamor for a resolute effort to pursue the Philippine territorial claim to Sabah," CPP said Tuesday.

The group further accused Aquino of fanning the anger of the Sulu sultan's followers and "abandoning" Filipinos in Sabah.

Superheroes Invade Philippine Elections Created on March 6, 2013, 5:31 am Posted by nup

MANILA, Philippines --- The voters' education material of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) for the May 2013 polls will now include superheroes.

PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said she was inspired to make use of superheroes when she saw the movie ''The Avengers.''

''I was really impressed when I saw the movie Avengers. I said to myself there should also be a character who will fight election anomaly,'' she said in an interview.

And so with the help of the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), De Villa said the CHAMPs komiks-magazine was created.

After the PPCRV's mantra of clean, honest, accurate, meaningful, and peaceful elections, the magazine features the illustrated adventures of four young people as they overcome indifference and get engaged in safeguarding the election.

An article posted on the CFA Web site www.cfamedia.org identified the four young heroes who are mostly students, as Jessica Catapang (a.k.a. Jessa), an 18-year old Pol Sci student and editor of the college paper; Rex Guerrero (a.k.a. Nemesis), the skipper of the varsity taekwondo squad; Marianna Reyes (a.k.a. Lexa), a senior law student who eats, drinks, and breathes law; and Carlito Montes (a.k.a. Cyberoid), a computer, math, and communications wizard.

''Together, they challenge corrupt politicians who are out to manipulate elections by guns, goons, gold and greed, and they mobilize their fellow youngsters to bring about CHAMP elections,'' read the article.

De Villa said she is very happy with the positive feedback that they are getting on the magazine, especially from the youth.

''I'm very happy because the youth find it very attractive,'' she said.

'As of now we are sending this to the provinces for our voter's education there - but we are going to launch this first of March or last week of February,'' added De Villa.

The CHAMPs magazine also features articles that provide information on Philippine elections and PPCRV's role as well as a board game called ''Voters Tsunami,'' which tests the public's knowledge of Philippine voting processes.

Comelec declares 41 local candidates 'nuisance' Created on March 6, 2013, 4:27 am Posted by nup

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has detected 41 suspected “nuisance” candidates running for local positions in the 2013 polls, one of them claiming to own the Philippines, while another saying he has superpowers. According to Minute Resolution 12-1101, the Comelec en banc ruled to uphold the decision of the Comelec Law Department, which detected the candidates – 13 from the National Capital Region (NCR), 27 outside NCR, and one from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among these were six aspirants for the House of Representatives, three gubernatorial bets, 21 running for mayor, four for vice mayor, six for Sangguniang Panlungsod/Bayan, and one for Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Commissioner Lucenito Tagle told GMA News Online that these candidates are just wasting the time of the Comelec. “’Pag mga unusual, ‘pag talagang abnormal, talagang tinatanggal namin ‘yan. Makakagulo lang ‘yan. Mahahalata mo naman kung abnormal,” he said. Comelec Resolution No. 9523 defines a nuisance candidate as someone “who filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by other acts or circumstances is clearly demonstrated to have no bona fide intention to run for office…” One of them is Norgene Jongay Santos, a Sangguniang Panglungsod member aspirant of Parañaque City, who was deemed nuisance because of his “actuations and demeanor.” The Comelec Law Department said that in several instances, Santos was caught talking to himself and saying “ Dapat iyong mga lobo pinapalipad tuwing umuulan para mas magandang tingnan,” and “Magpapa-presscon ako, abangan niyo.” Another is Adolfo Nabayra Padalhin Sr. a mayorial aspirant for Mandaluyong City, who attached in his certificate of candidacy a 1x1 picture instead of the required 2x2 passport size. When told to submit a 2x2 picture, Padalhin reportedly got another 1x1 picture and pasted it beside the already attached picture and “reasoned that 1x1 plus 1x1 equals 2x2.” “We did not accept his reasoning so he was forced to go home to secure the right size of picture,” the Comelec law department said. Meanwhile, mayorial bet Charlie Bucao Talledo of Surigao City claims to have supernatural powers given to him by God. A Sangguniang Panlalawigan bet Eustaquio Buena from Abra meanwhile may lose his chance to run because he allegedly indicated in his COC that he would like to be named in the ballot as “Boy Bueno Aspacio Taking Tacsi” – a name the Comelec found as “weird.” The Comelec law department added that “the Provincial Election Supervisor who is his (Buena) professor caught him talking alone several times and that he often causes irritation even to his classmates as he spreads of nonsense things in class.” Another suspected nuisance candidate is Norberto Ambong Mijares, gubernatorial bet of Davao Del Norte, whose “state of mental health is questionable” because he claims to own the Philippines. He also allegedly indicated in his COC that he works as an “Attorney-in-Fact of Taal Estate.” One snagged his chance to run due to spelling errors in his COC – Bulacan mayorial bet Emmanuel Nicolas Meneses, in his COC, indicated that he works as a “bussines woman.” “[He also] ticked both boxes of natural born and naturalized Filipino citizen referring to his citizenship,” the Comelec said. Meanwhile, Francis Ruedas Monte, vying for Las Piñas representative, was reportedly waiting for her formal nomination with the Lakas-CMD party. “After having filed her COC, she even said ‘Sige ha, hinihintay na ako sa Senate,” Comelec said in the resolution. Others deemed nuisance for various reasons are the following: National Capital Region

Marino Dela Peña Magallanes, mayorial bet for Manila Fidel Carido Cruz, mayorial bet for Manila Onofre Estrada Abad, mayorial bet for Manila Benjamin Polidario Rivera, mayorial bet for Manila James Jaime Marquez Tan, Manila district bet

to the House of Representative Romeo Acebedo, mayorial bet for Quezon City Allan Dilim Bantilo, vice-mayorial bet for Quezon City Fermin Idea, vice-mayorial bet for Quezon City Pilar Fajardo Ebarrete, vice-mayorial bet for San Juan City Cebu Junan Umacob Arenasa, Cebu first district representative aspirant Pablo Doronio, Cebu first district representative aspirant Lea Remedios Ong, mayorial bet for Cebu City Bert Leo Abella, Cebu second district representative aspirant Eliseo Sanjorjo Tumulak, Cebu first district representative aspirant Gumersindo Canoy Cañete, Cebu second district representative aspirant Erlinda Sy Sollano, Cebu second district representative aspirant Ricardo Nacor Adlawan. Cebu first district representative aspirant Jose Cida Cane, Cebu second district representative aspirant Miguel Gonzalve Selim, Cebu City mayorial bet Karina Cabahug, mayorial bet for Lapu-Lapu city, CebuPangasinan Jones Basbas, mayorial bet for Sison, Pangasinan Felipe Gorospe, vice-mayorial bet for Sison, PangasinanIsabela Francisco Flores, mayorial bet for Cabagan, IsabelaBulacan Jaime Almera, gubernatorial bet for BulacanTarlac Marciano Pulido, mayorial bet for Mayantoc, TarlacQuezon Marjorie Asensi, Sangguniang Panglungsod bet of the Liberal Party for Lucena City, QuezonRizal Alejandro Ignacio, mayorial bet for Rodriguez, Rizal Nestor Palugod, mayorial bet for Rodriguez, RizalMisamis Occidental Elsie Cose Monares, mayorial bet for Don Victoriano, Misamis Occidental Benedicto Patiño, mayorial bet for Don Victoriano, Misamis OccidentalSurigao Del Sur Alfonso Godito Cuanan, mayorial bet for Cortes, Surigao del SurBasilan Arsad Kabukisan, mayorial bet for Al Barka, BasilanAbra Joel Bersamina, gubernatorial bet for Abra The Comelec said it is giving these candidates a chance to justify their candidacy not later than three days upon receiving a copy of the resolution. — KBK, GMA News

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