A note from the Secretariat:

Good day, and thank you for being a part of the NAMFREL network all these years. Starting this week, we are sending out fortnightly a curated package of the most significant among recent election-related news, with emphasis on Philippine election news. We will try to develop this news package further in the coming weeks, and we would be glad to receive your suggestions to improve it.


The NAMFREL National Secretariat Team

Oath-taking of the newly-appointed members of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC). NAMFREL is represented by ICT expert and NAMFREL National Council Member Mr. Lito Averia (4th from right). (Photo: Comelec Twitter)
Newly-appointed members of the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) held on June 13, 2017 their oath-taking and first organizational meeting at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila. NAMFREL is a member of the newly-reconstituted CAC, represented by National Council member and IT expert Mr. Lito Averia.

Republic Act No. 9369 (the Election Automation Law of 2007), which created the CAC, outlines its functions:

1. Recommend the most appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective technology to be applied in the AES, in whole or in part, at that specific point in time.

2. Participate as nonvoting members of the Bids and Awards Committee in the conduct of the bidding process for the AES. Members of the Advisory Council representing the ICT professional organizations are hereby excluded from participating in any manner in the Bids and Awards Committee.

3. Participate as nonvoting members of the steering committee tasked with the implementation of the AES. Members of the Advisory Council representing the ICT professional organizations are hereby excluded from participating in any manner in the steering committee.

4. Provide advice and assistance in the review of the systems planning, inception, development, testing, operationalization, and evaluation stages.

5. Provide advice and/or assistance in the identification, assessment and resolution of systems problems or inadequacies as may surface or resurface in the course of the bidding, acquisition, testing, operationalization, re-use, storage or disposition of the AES equipment and/or resources as the case may be.

6. Provide advice and/or assistance in the risk management of the AES especially when a contingency or disaster situation arises.

7. Prepare and submit a written report, which shall be submitted within six months from the date of the election to the oversight committee, evaluating the use of the AES.

The following are the members of the CAC: Government Agencies - Mr. Rodolfo A. Salalima (CAC Chairman) and Mr. Eliseo M. Rio (Alternate Chairman) from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); Ms. Carol M. Yorobe from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); a representative (TBA) from the Department of Education (DepEd); Academic Institution - Mr. Marlon Lim from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP); ICT Professional Organizations - Mr. George C. Kintanar and Mr. Clarito A. Magsino (Alternate Member) (Chief Information Officers Forum Foundation (CIOFF); Mr. Romulo R. Agatep (Philippine Electronics and Telecommunications Federation, Inc. (PETEF); Mr. Raymond S. Macatangga (Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE); Non-Government Electoral Reform Organizations - Mr. Angel (Lito) S. Averia (NAMFREL); Mr. William Emmanuel S. Yu (PPCRV)
NAMFREL starts information campaign on
youth council elections
NAMFREL has started rolling out on social media its public information campaign on the scheduled sychronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections. The campaign will concentrate first on the SK (youth council) elections, since for the upcoming polls, several reforms to the system will be introduced due to the promulgation of Republic Act No. 10742 (the SK Reform Act of 2016). Some of the reforms include changes in the age of qualified candidates and voters, and important stipulations on qualifications of candidates related to political dynasties.

NAMFREL continues to advocate for the non-postponement of the synchronized Barangay and SK Elections, as stipulated in the Philippine Constitution. If not postponed through legislation, the elections are expected to take place on October 23, 2017. NAMFREL plans to deploy volunteers nationwide to monitor the upcoming polls.

See the campaign so far: http://www.namfrel.com.ph/v2/2017/2017-bgy-sk.php

Read the SK Reform Act: https://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=References/RelatedLaws/ElectionLaws/SynchronizedBarangayandSK/RA10742
No Senate decision on SK, barangay polls until August — Pimentel
(GMA News, June 28, 2017)

The decision on whether or not the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls will push through as scheduled will have to wait until August, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Wednesday.

“The barangay election issue [will] be decided in August at the Senate. I told the Speaker we want the House to act first on this,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters, referring to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Congress will open its second regular session next month.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had called on Congress to decide on the issue to avoid wasting money during the preparations for the conduct of polls.

Comelec to Congress: Decide on bills to postpone local polls
(PDI, June 27, 2017)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has urged lawmakers to act by next month on the proposal to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Comelec Chair Andres Bautista explained that the poll body would simply implement whatever law would be passed regarding the proposed October 2017 polls.

“We will follow the decision of our political leadership [with] respect [to] whether to postpone the polls. We just hope that a decision [will] be made by July,” Bautista said.

This would enable the Comelec to avoid wasting public funds for its preparations should the elections be deferred eventually, he said.

Robredo camp to PET: Direct
Comelec to clarify whether
Marcos should pay 2 Billion
for poll protest

(GMA News, June 21, 2017)

Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should clarify with the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), whether former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. should pay for the expenses the poll body has incurred because of his election protest.


Youth participation urged
in nation-building

(Sunstar, June 21, 2017)

THE National Youth Commission (NYC) is advocating for youth participation in governance and be the government’s partner for change. 

NYC commissioner for Luzon Percival Cendaña, in an interview during the second quarter Cordillera Regional Youth Advisory Council meeting, said the agency’s priority now is for the approval of the, guided by the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PDYP) 2017 to 2022, whose focus is on youth participation. 

Comelec pilot testing upgraded voters’ ID in NCR
(Manila Bulletin, June 23, 2017)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is pilot testing its voters’ ID in the National Capital Region. This is expected to initially enhance voting access in NCR.

The Comelec-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is already looking for a service provider for the printing of 3 million pieces of the upgraded voters ID.


No special election in
Mountain Province

(Sunstar, June 23, 2017)

AFTER the death of Mountain Province Representative Maximo Dalog, there is a prescribed period in filling the void in case a lawmaker is not able to complete his term, an official said. 

Commission on Elections (Comelec) officer Elenita Tanbangin Capuyan said under the law, the void must be filled within a period of not more than 90 days with Congress issuing a resolution asking for a plebiscite or appointing a caretaker for the province until a plebiscite is called. .

Aquino urges youth to oppose postponement of SK elections
(Manila Bulletin, June 28, 2017)

Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV yesterday urged the youth to stamp down any further calls for the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled this October.

Aquino made the call following a renewed announcement to postpone the SK elections, reiterating that Republic Act No. 10742 or the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Reform Act is already in place.

Poll documents found in
school garbage heap

(PhilStar, June 23, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines — At least 60 envelopes containing election paraphernalia, including election returns and poll watchers’ identification cards for the Liberal Party (LP), were recovered by garbage collectors near a school in Mandaluyong City Wednesday, police said yesterday.


PH's longest serving mayor steps down after 22 years in office
(Rappler, June 22, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – After more than two decades in power, he is mayor no more. But he holds the distinction of being the longest-serving mayor in the country.

Mabalacat City Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales stepped down from his post after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) served him a cease and desist order on June 19, Monday.


Ex-Talisay mayor:
We will sustain poll case

(Sunstar, June 23, 2017)

FORMER Talisay City Mayor Eric Saratan on Thursday, June 22, said they will sustain the election protest filed by his wife Shiela, who lost to Mayor Nilo Jesus Antonio Neil Lizares in the May 2016 elections. 

This came after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division junked Saratan’s protest, but since one of the commissioners issued a dissenting opinion, the case was elevated to the Comelec en banc. 

Ministry Kicks Off Situation Room Investigation
(Cambodia Daily, June 30, 2017)

The Interior Ministry called members of the Situation Room “lawbreakers” Wednesday and said authorities were investigating them, refuting claims by the group of NGOs that they had done nothing illegal by temporarily gathering to monitor the June 4 commune elections.

“Those people acted against the law,” ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said. Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered an investigation into the group on Wednesday for failing to register with the ministry, as required of associations and NGOs operating in Cambodia, and accused it of being a staging ground for a “color revolution.”

GNDEM Calls on Government of Cambodia to Stop Pressuring Citizen Election Observers
(GNDEM, June 29, 2017)

The Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM) has learned from credible news reports that Cambodia’s Interior Ministry has been called upon to take measures against The Situation Room (a platform of over 40 nongovernmental organizations) for its election monitoring activities focused on the recent Commune Council elections. Included among those organizations is a GNDEM member, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL).

The Situation Room issued on 24 June 2017 its assessment of the Commune Council elections. That report noted the elections had significantly improved, including that polling, counting, results reporting and other processes were made more transparent than previous elections. It also offered a number of criticisms of the electoral environment, focused on pre-election factors, and concluded that elections in Cambodia cannot yet be considered free and fair, and it offered recommendations for improving elections. On 28 June, the Situation Room issued a press release reaffirming its political impartiality.

Official results confirm Cambodian opposition gains
(Channel News Asia, June 25, 2017)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian election authorities on Sunday released final results from this month's local polls, confirming that the opposition to the country's strongman leader made significant gains.

More than seven million people voted on Jun 4, testing the political temperature of a country rife with tension between Prime Minister Hun Sen and an embattled opposition determined to end his more than three-decade rule.

Hun Sen faces a national election next year and has vowed "civil war" if he is toppled.

The official results released by the National Election Committee on Sunday showed his ruling party won 1,156 out of the country's 1,646 communes. But the opposition party won 489 communes, a more than tenfold increase on the 40 they won five years ago. A third party won one seat.

Russians targeted 21 election systems, U.S. official says
(Reuters, June 21, 2017)

Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. state election systems in the 2016 presidential race and a small number were breached but there was no evidence any votes were manipulated, a Homeland Security Department official told Congress on Wednesday.

Jeanette Manfra, the department's acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Kremlin orchestrated a wide-ranging influence operation that included email hacking and online propaganda to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, a Republican, win the White House in November.

198 million Americans hit by 'largest ever' voter records leak
(ZDNet, June 19, 2017)

A huge trove of voter data, including personal information and voter profiling data on what's thought to be every registered US voter dating back more than a decade, has been found on an exposed and unsecured server, ZDNet has learned.

It's believed to be the largest ever known exposure of voter information to date.

The various databases containing 198 million records on American voters from all political parties were found stored on an open Amazon S3 storage server owned by a Republican data analytics firm, Deep Root Analytics.

UpGuard cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery, who found the exposed server, verified the data. Through his responsible disclosure, the server was secured late last week, and prior to publication.

National Citizens' Movement For Free Elections (NAMFREL)

Unit 601, DMG Center, Domingo M. Guevarra St.,
Brgy. Mauway, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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