SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
NAMFREL attends Congressional Hearings to Support the Conduct of the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BKSE) and the Election of Local and Youth Leaders
On August 24, NAMFREL presented its views and position in a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation on the proposed postponement of the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BKSE) and the hold-over / appointment of village (Barangay) officials.  Earlier, on August 8 and 14, NAMFREL attended the House of Representatives Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms on the initial deliberations and public hearing on filed legislative measures postponing the BKSE.

In both hearings, NAMFREL reiterated its position and upheld it views that “elections should be conducted with certainty and regularity. Doing otherwise undermines a democratic process instituted to ensure every citizens right to choose their leaders and make them accountable. Regularity of elections is important to establish this mandate, legitimacy and moral authority” and “does not think that the current anti-drug campaign is enough reason to postpone the BKSE and urges that it push through as scheduled this Oct. 23, 2017”.

NAMFREL believes that “regular elections is a vital exercise in a democracy. In a youth-laden society and the Barangay comprising the most basic political unit, the importance of the polls is more apparent. Postponing elections on a whim could undermine the democratic process of ensuring every citizens’ right to choose their leaders and make them accountable”.

For a copy of the full statement and position on the proposed postponement of the BKSE and the appointment of village and youth leaders, please CLICK HERE.
NAMFREL to assist COMELEC in the Verification of the CVL for the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BKSE)
As part of preparations for the 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BKSE), NAMFREL met with the COMELEC last September 4 to discuss issues on “the Guidelines for the Verification of the Names of Voters; Certification, Sealing and Posting of election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL) and Posted Computerized Voters Lists (PCVL) in connection with the October 23, 2017 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections.” or COMELEC Resolution No. 10188.

A Minute Resolution No. 17-0488 was also issued on the “Proposes Revised Timelines in Connection with the October 23, 2017 BKSE; and Resetting of the Schedule for the Verification of the Precinct Computerized Voters List (PCVL) / Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL) and the Posting of the PCVL”.

The resolution directs the COMELEC Information and Technology Department (ITD) and the local Election Officer (EO) to provide a soft copy (pdf) of the nationwide Precinct Computerized Voters List (PCVL) free of charge to NAMFREL and other NGO / CSO partners to be distributed in the locality.  

The guideline details the verification procedure and certification of the EDCVL and the PCVL using as reference the Voter Registration Sheet (VRS) database and PCVL copy provided to election monitoring and CSO groups. The procedure starts with the local EO sending a notice of schedule of the Election Registration Board (ERB) meetings to NAMFREL and others groups. The EO generates, prints and provides a copy of the EDCVL and PCVL for its verification on or before September 25.  A copy of the PCVL must be posted on or before September 29 at the voting centers and local COMELEC office.
House approves bill postponing barangay, SK polls to May 2018
(Rappler, Sep 11, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 213-10, the House of Representatives of Monday, September 11, approved on final reading a bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October 2017 to May 2018.
In August, the House, through an all-member caucus, voted to postpone the elections, which were supposed to be held in October 2017. The House also decided to have current officials serve on holdover capacity until elections are held.
Sotto, Gordon report allows Duterte to appoint barangay OICs
(Rappler, Sep 11, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – A joint Senate electoral reforms and finance committee report recommended the postponement of barangay elections and allowed President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint officers-in-charge for the barangay on interim basis.
Penned by committee vice chair Senator Richard Gordon and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Committee Report No. 163 sought to postpone the elections to October 22, 2018 or the fourth Monday of October next year.
Duterte discretion over barangay officials questioned
(ABS-CBN News, Sep 12, 2017)

MANILA - Allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to handpick replacements for barangay officials in his so-called drug list will violate the rights of sitting officials, a former election commissioner warned Tuesday.
A Senate committee report postponing barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections to October 2018 allows the President to name officers in charge.
The report released Monday night said inclusion in Duterte's "confirmed and validated" drug list was "sufficient cause" to appoint OICs.
Filing of COCs for SK, barangay polls starts Sept. 23—Comelec
(Inquirer, Sep 7, 2017)
With no law passed yet postponing the October 23 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls, candidates have one week this month to file their candidacy papers.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued the advisory even as it awaits a law from Congress deciding on the deferment of the said polls to 2018.
“The filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) in connection with the October 23 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will start on September 23 and will end on September 30,” it said.
Comelec: Gun ban for barangay, SK elections starts on Sept. 23
(CNN, Sep 7, 2017)

The gun ban for the barangay and sangguniang kabataan (SK) elections begins on September 23, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a statement Thursday, the poll body announced: "No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in all public places...even if he is licensed or authorized to carry the same, unless authorized by the Commission."


SC upholds integrity of 2016 polls, orders ballot boxes retrieved
(Philippine Star, Sep 5, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has upheld the integrity of the 2016 elections, which former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. questioned in his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The PET, however, ordered the retrieval of all the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia in three provinces that Marcos wants included in a pilot recount.

Congress seeks stricter regulation of political ad rates
(ABS-CBN News, Sep 7, 2017)

MANILA — A congressional committee will consolidate 2 bills in a move that seeks to cap advertising rates on political advertisements.
The measures seek to prevent media outlets from increasing rates of political ads beyond the average cost of regular ads. A 50%discount for TV, radio and print ads of bona fide candidates was also sought.
Comelec exec to bets: Spend less, be creative
(Inquirer, Sep 13, 2017)

Are you planning to run in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and you’re not sure if it will push through or not? Try to spend less for your campaign.
A poll official gave this advice to potential candidates who might be having second thoughts since no law on its postponement had been passed yet.
Comelec raises honoraria to encourage more election volunteers
(Manila Bulletin, Sep 10, 2017)

To entice more volunteers to serve during the elections, the Commission on Election (Comelec) has raised its honoraria for people, who will become members of its Electoral Boards (EB).
In its Resolution No. 10194, Comelec opted to raise the honoraria for the Chairperson of the EB to P6,000 from P4,000 in the May 2016 polls.
Poll workers entitled to P50,000 legal aid package
(Inquirer, Sep 12, 2017)

People who render election-related duties and end up getting slapped with lawsuits will now get legal assistance from the government, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The election body would provide poll workers a legal indemnification package worth P50,000, a provision in Comelec resolution No. 10194 said.
Comelec exec charged for P240-M midnight deal
(Philippine Star, Sep 5, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines — A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official was charged yesterday in connection with a P240-million “midnight deal” involving the diagnostics and repair of 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
In a 19-page complaint, former Biliran congressman Glenn Chong urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Commissioner Christian Robert Lim for serious misconduct and the possible filing of an impeachment complaint.

IBP raises concerns over spike in impeachment filings
(SunStar, Sep 6, 2017)
An organization of lawyers has urged the public to exercise restraint from filing impeachment complaints against government officials. 
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo in a statement on Wednesday said that although impeachment is a political exercise, it must be used sparingly as it is, they said, is a "bitter medicine." 
"While impeachment is by and large a political exercise, it should be used sparingly and only in the gravest of instances," said Fajardo. 
House budget debates: Commission on Human Rights (CHR) gets only P1,000 (US$20) for 2018
(Rappler, Sep 12, 2017)

MANILA, Philippines – After a heated debate on a cold and rainy afternoon, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 12, voted to allocate only P1,000 to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for 2018.
Acting on a motion by SAGIP Representative Rodante Marcoleta, 119 voted in favor of giving the Constitutional body a measly P1,000 for the coming year. 32 legislators, a mix of majority, minority, and opposition members, voted against it.
This does not mean, however, that the CHR is sure to get only P1,000 for the coming fiscal year. The budget will be forwarded to the Senate for another round of deliberations.


How Singapore elected a president without a vote
(CNN, Sep 12, 2017)

Singaporeans were meant to go to the polls at the end of next week to vote for a new president, but they'll no longer have the chance, with only one candidate qualifying for the race.

Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob has emerged victorious by default, after other presidential hopefuls fell foul of new rules.

Violent politics and the disintegration of democracy in Cambodia
(The Conversation, Sep 11, 2017)

Kem Sokha, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was charged with treason last week, amid allegations of conspiring with a foreign power to overthrow the government.
In all likelihood, the charges mean the imminent dissolution of the main opposition party, leaving the ruling party – the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) – the only real contender in next year’s general elections.
Kenya sets presidential election rerun for October 17 
(CNN, Sep 4, 2017)

Kenya will hold another presidential election on October 17 after its disputed vote last month was thrown out, the country's election commission said.
This comes after the country's Supreme Court on Friday invalidated the results of the contentious August 8 presidential election and ordered a new vote within 60 days.
President Uhuru Kenyatta won the election over veteran opposition candidate Raila Odinga. But the court upheld a petition by Odinga, who had claimed Kenyatta's re-election was fraudulent.
Kenya shows pitfalls of digital elections
(The Citizen, Sep 7, 2017)

Allegations of computer hacking in Kenya’s August 8 election have reignited a debate around the use of digital technology in national votes, with experts wondering whether sticking to paper may be best.
The discussion is no longer theoretical in Africa where an increasing number of countries are turning to electronic voting or including a digital component in the voting process, such as the biometric voter recognition kits and electronic results transmission system deployed in Kenya.
Kenyan court ruling puts ‘election observer industry’ in a tight spot
(France24, Sep 1, 2017)

Kenya’s Supreme Court Friday ruling nullifying last month’s presidential election has raised questions about international election monitors' assessment that the 2017 polls were free and fair.
Just days after the August 8 Kenyan presidential election, with the opposition crying foul and the death toll from clashes between police and protesters steadily mounting, international election observers pronounced their initial verdicts on the 2017 polls.

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)
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