AUGUST 14, 2017
The Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) submits the technology recommendation for the 2019 National and Local Elections (NLE) to the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
The Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) resolution on the technology recommendation of the 2019 National and Local Elections (NLE). CAC Resolution 2017-002 was submitted to the Comelec last August 8, 2017.  Republic Act no. 9369 tasks the CAC to recommend to the Comelec, “the most appropriate, secure, applicable, and cost-effective technology to be applied in the Automation Election System (AES)” for the May 2019 NLE.

The nine-member CAC is headed by the Secretary of the DICT and is composed of representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Philippine Electronics and Telecommunications Federation (PETEF), Chief Information Officers Forum Foundation, Inc. (CIOFF), Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL). NAMFREL is represented in the CAC by council member, Angel “Lito” S. Averia.

NAMFREL Monitors the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Procurement Process for the 2017 Voters Registration and the Barangay & Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE)

A transparent and competitive procurement process is advantageous to government and builds trust among the different election stakeholders. Among measures to promote this, Republic Act no. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (Procurement Law), requires the invitation of observers in all stages of the procurement process and relevant sectors in monitoring adherence and compliance to this law.

In support of the Comelec Bid and Awards Committee (BAC) to hold transparent procurement by opening the process to the public, NAMFREL has been invited to observe the Comelec’s procurement requirement of goods and services for the conduct of the 2017 voter registration and BSKE.

Since March, NAMFREL observed the process involved in the following bids and procurement projects on all required bid items from the pre-bid conference to the post qualification stage except for two items. These were: 1) the provision for courier service (Lot 2) – from lack of bidders due to an insufficient approved budget for contract (ABC) and 2) the failure of bidding for the supply & delivery of desktops for voter registration machines (VRM) due to the failure to comply with the required posting of the bid bulletin on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) website.

Among the procured bid items observed were for the:

Voters registration requirement:
  • Pre-bid conference and opening of bids for the supply and delivery of desktop computers (mini tower) for Voters Registration Machine (VRM) and peripherals to be used for the resumption of continuing registration and validation nationwide.
BSKE requirement:
  • Pre-bid Conference & opening of bids for the supply and delivery of various supplies for the 2017 BSKE.
  • Pre-bid conference & opening of bids for the supply and delivery of Voters Registration Machine (VRM) and peripherals for satellite registration and validation nationwide.
  • Opening of bid for the printing and delivery of envelopes for voting and counting for the 2017 BSKE, ABC = Php 36,534,062.49.
  • Opening of bid for the printing and delivery of various election forms for the 2017 BSKE, ABC = Php 42,945,661.12.
  • Opening of bids for the provision of forwarding services for the deployment of election forms, supplies and paraphernalia for the 2017 BSKE and the Post-qualification of XIMEX (w/o notice) for: Lot 1 = ABC Php 17.436,998.15, Lot 2 = ABC Php 15,349,788.44, Lot 3 = ABC Php 13,455,015.30 and Lot 4 = ABC Php 32,835,677.52.
  • Pre-Bid Conference for the Supply and Delivery of Thumbprint/Fingerprint Taker for the 2017 BSKE, ABC = PhP 3,205,847.40 (372,340 units).
  • Pre-bid conference for the provision for special courier services for Regions IX, X, XI, XII, CARAGA, and ARMM, including priority areas,  ABC = PhP 4,108,257.72.
  • Pre-bid conference for the provision for special courier services for Lot 2 – Regions VI, VII, and VIII (Second Bidding), ABC = Php 3,313,570.66, and the
  • Pre-bid conference for the supply and delivery of Lexmark 2400 series/2581 ribbons for use in the 2017 BSKE, ABC = Php 7,485,623.25 (8,945 units). 
Activity guidelines for barangay, SK polls revised; House sets hearing on deferment
(Interaksyon, Aug. 13, 2017)

MANILA – The House Suffrage committee is set to hold a hearing Monday (Aug. 14) on the October 23 barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan elections, which administration allies want reset.
At least five bills resetting the holding of the Oct. 23 elections will be tackled by the House panel, chaired by Rep. Sherwin Tugna.
This, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) made minor changes in the Calendar of Activities for the Oct. 23 exercise, for which the poll body also started printing of ballots last week, on the premise that the deferment might not be legislated in time, and the poll body will have to go ahead with it as mandated by law.
Group favors postponement of Barangay, SK polls in Mindanao
(PNA, Aug. 5, 2017)

MANILA, Aug. 5 -- Election watchdogs have contradicting opinions regarding the plan to postpone the Oct. 23 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in the whole of Mindanao, which is under Martial Law due to the ongoing fight between government troops and Maute group in Marawi City.
Rene Sarmiento, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) believed that the situation in the region, particularly in the city in Lanao del Sur is enough reason to postpone the scheduled polls. "I agree. The situation in Marawi plus its spill-over effect on the whole of Mindanao ( doctrine of spill-over was mentioned in Lagman vs. Medialdea) justify postponement of barangay elections in Marawi and Mindanao," he said.
On the other hand, Eric Alvia, National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) Secretary General, said they were for the postponement on the village and youth polls but only in areas affected by the crisis. "Only in conflict areas," he said, adding "Physically impossible to prepare & conduct an election and it would expose to harm voters, watchers & election workers." The Namfrel official noted that declaring a place under military rule should not prevent people to exercise their right to vote. "Martial law should not be a basis to suspend or deny the right to suffrage of any person," Alvia added.
Comelec to hold public hearing on SK, barangay polls in Mindanao
(Business Mirror, Aug. 3, 2017)


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to conduct a public hearing in Davao City to determine whether to push through with the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in the whole of Mindanao with martial law still in effect.
In a two-page memorandum, Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista set the date of the public hearing on August 15.
“In view of the declaration of martial law…the commission en banc hereby orders the conduct of a public hearing on August 15 at 2 p.m. at the Marco Polo Davao Hotel in Davao City,” the memorandum stated.
Printing of ballots begins, as Comelec awaits Congress’ move on bgay polls’ deferment
(Interaksyon, Aug. 9, 2017)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections has started the process of printing ballots for the October barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, amid calls by some political leaders to postpone it.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista is presiding over the printing of ballots – starting with those from the island province of Batanes – while Congress has not yet formalized its announced intent to postpone the polls.
Each ballot costs P3, and printing will take 60 days; hence, the need to start printing so as not to derail preparations in case the postponement is not legislated in time.
Robredo: Bongbong failed to abide by PET conference agreements (GMA News, Aug. 7, 2017)
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday slammed former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for his alleged failure to abide by the agreements reached during the preliminary conference before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on July 11.
Robredo's lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo told the PET, which is composed of all 15 Supreme Court justices, that Marcos again did not indicate in his comment the precinct numbers and names of the witnesses for the three provinces he proposed for the pilot recount.
The PET required both camps to submit their comment to aid the tribunal in crafting the preliminary conference order, which aims to limit the "recount, revision and re-appreciation of the ballots" to the issues and witnesses that are the subject of Marcos' protest and Robredo's counter-protest.
Kabayan party-list seeks proclamation of 3rd nominee replacing Harry Roque Jr.
(GMA News, Aug. 8, 2017)

The Kabayan party-list has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proclaim another member to replace its representative in Congress, Harry Roque Jr, after the latter was removed from the party-list last January.
In a statement Tuesday, the party-list said it has filed a petition before the Comelec urging the immediate proclamation of its third nominee, Atty. Ciriaco Calalang, as its new representative and replace Roque.
Roque was removed from the party-list after it found his behavior and statements "inimical to the interest of the party-list and gravely tarnishing its reputation as one engaged in principled advocacy."
Bets for president, VP, senator splurge P5.8B in May 2016 polls
(PCIJ, Aug. 9, 2017)

ELECTIONS 2016’s 50 candidates for national office and the political parties that fielded them spent P5.8 billion across the 90-day campaign period, PCIJ has found in its review of documents submitted to the country’s poll body.
But small and big discrepancies clutter the election-spending reports that the five candidates for president, six for vice president, and 39 for senator, as well as their political parties, had submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

More from the PCIJ's campaign finance series:
Scandal engulfing Comelec chair Bautista expands to compromise of 2016 polls
(Philstar, Aug. 7, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines — Two separate congressional resolutions were filed on Monday calling for an investigation into allegations of illegally obtained wealth against the Commission on Elections chief and the possible compromise of last year’s national election.
On Monday, a scandal straddling family, politics and money arose after Bautista's estranged wife filed an affidavit at the National Bureau of Investigation alleging that the poll chief had bank accounts and bank and real property documents not reflected in his SALN. Patricia claimed that the dubious property and money were between P250 and P300 million in value, more than the P176.3 million reported by Bautista in his SALN. Information and documents that would show that Bautista engaged in “misdealing and corrupt practices” while in government were stated in the affidavit.

Comelec chair says corruption woes aim to discredit 2016 polls
(ABS-CBN, Aug. 7, 2017)

MANILA - Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista claimed Monday that allegations of his supposedly unexplained wealth aim to undermine the integrity of the 2016 national elections that he supervised. 
Bautista's wife, Patricia, claimed Sunday that she discovered bank and real property documents, and several passbooks under her husband's name that were not included in his 2016 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, according a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The accusation came just days after she and Bautista met with President Rodrigo Duterte, whom the poll chief said gave them marital advice. 
De Lima wants to correct ‘flaw’ in politicians’ recall poll bids
(Inquirer, Aug. 5, 2017)

Sen. Leila de Lima has filed a bill to update the grounds for a recall election to stop elective public officials from perpetuating themselves to power.
De Lima, chair of the Senate Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation Committee, filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1526, amending the provision on the power of recall contained in Republic Act No. 7160 or the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC).
The senator said the Local Government Code provisions on the power of recall has provided a way for local officials to immediately return to power after reaching the term limits provided in the Constitution.
COMELEC-G.A.D. strengthens gender equality, inclusiveness among election officers
(Business Mirror, Aug. 1, 2017)

Its murky history with the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community notwithstanding, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is currently taking leaps in the right direction.
On July 31 the Comelec-Gender and Development (Comelec-Gad) held a roundtable discussion among its election commissioners and officers to promote learning on the issues of the LGBTIQ+ sector.
“Our mandate as election officers is to make sure that our policies and programs are socially-inclusive and nondiscriminatory,” said Comelec Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, who gave the welcome message for the roundtable discussion participants in Intramuros, Manila.

Search on for cybersecurity warriors
(Business Mirror, Aug. 6, 2017)

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies Allan S. Cabanlong said his group will be outsourcing cybersecurity services from private firms in line with the agency’s five-year National Cybersecurity Plan (NCSP).
He added the department is looking at tapping local and foreign managed service providers (MSPs) who can provide the needed technology and technical know-how necessary to achieve its goal of fortifying  the country’s cybersecurity defenses.
Duterte wants 24-member body to draft new Charter
(Inquirer, Aug. 11, 2017)

President Duterte on Wednesday night announced he planned to appoint 24 commissioners to draft a Constitution that would shift the country toward federalism and end the Moro secessionist rebellions in Mindanao.
The President for the first time outlined his plan to transform the unitary government with the center of power in Manila a day after the House of Representatives received an 83-page working draft of the “Philippine Federal Constitution.”
He did not give a name to his initiative but recalled that President Corazon Aquino appointed a 50-member commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution.
Kenya on edge after vote fraud claims spark deadly protests
(Straits Times, Aug. 13, 2017)

NAIROBI (AFP) - Tensions remained high in Kenya on Sunday (Aug 13) after 11 people died in violent protests and the opposition stood by its demand that the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta be overturned.
While much of the country was calm, stone-throwing supporters of defeated veteran rival Raila Odinga squared off on Saturday with security forces in opposition strongholds in the country's west and the slums of the capital Nairobi.

Venezuela Election Turnout Manipulated: Voting Tech CEO
(NBC, Aug. 2, 2017)

The CEO of the voting technology company Smartmatic said Wednesday that results of Venezuela's election for an all-powerful constituent assembly were off by at least 1 million votes.
Antonio Mugica said results recorded by his systems and those reported by Venezuela's National Electoral Council indicate "without any doubt" that official turnout figures were inflated.
India: Stop crying foul after you ran away from EVM challenge, Election Commission tells political parties
(India Today, Aug. 10, 2017)

Stop crying foul after you ran away from the EVM challenge - this is what the Election Commission tersely told political parties which have questioned the reliability of the voting machines. In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court - which is hearing complaints by Congress and BSP regarding functioning of EVMs - the poll panel said it had invited all parties to prove that the voting machines can be tampered with, but no one turned up.
US: Former CIA director and free software creator: To Protect Voting, Use Open-Source Software
(New York Times, Aug. 3, 2017)

Since the debacle of the 2000 election (remember hanging chads?) American election machinery has been improved to reduce the chances of mis-tallying votes, outright fraud and attacks by hackers. These improvements brought with them a new concern: lack of software security. Most voting machines’ software can now be easily hacked. This is in large part because the current voting systems use proprietary software based on Microsoft’s operating system.
NAMFREL NEWS is a bi-monthly electronic newsletter published by the
National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Philippines.
National Citizens' Movement For Free Elections (NAMFREL)
Unit 601, DMG Center, Domingo M. Guevarra St.,
Brgy. Mauway, Mandaluyong City, Philippines
E-mail: [email protected]
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