Monday, May 7, 2018
Comelec accredits NAMFREL as citizens' arm for the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections
In an Excerpt (no. 18-0329, released to Namfrel on May 7, 2018) from the Minutes of the special en banc meeting of the Comelec held on April 23, 2018, the Commission on Elections extended the 2016 accreditation of NAMFREL for the May 14, 2018 Barangay and SK elections.

This is pursuant to Sec. 18 of Comelec Resolution No. 10211 -- the General Instructions for the Members of the Electoral Board and Barangay Board of Canvassers (BBOCs) in connection with the conduct of the October 23, 2017 Synchronized Barangay and SK Elections:

"Sec. 18. Official watchers of candidates and other groups.

"Citizens' arms already accredited during the May 9, 2016 National and Local Elections; do not need to apply for accreditation for purposes of October 23, 2017 Barangay and SK Elections. However, they should file a manifestation of intent to discharge the duties of an accredited citizens' arm to the Commission En Banc not later than October 9, 2017."

When the Barangay and SK Elections were postponed to May 14, 2018, the Comelec adopted the resolutions originally meant for the October 2017 polls. On April 6, NAMFREL wrote the Comelec, manifesting its intent to be accredited for the May 2018 Barangay and SK elections, citing Comelec Resolution No. 10211.

In the Excerpt released by the Comelec, it says,"Their continuous accreditation shall follow the same duties and responsibilities as provided under their accreditation during the 2016 National and Local Elections (NLE), insofar as it is applicable to the May 14, 2018 BSKE."

Read the Comelec's decision accrediting NAMFREL for the 2018 BSKE here:
NAMFREL calls on public to volunteer to observe the Barangay and SK elections
The National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) has issued a general call for volunteers to observe the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this month. Volunteers are encouraged to observe the entire process, from the campaign, up to the voting, counting, and canvassing of votes, in the village where they are registered to vote. However, if volunteers are not able to follow the entire process, they are given the option to observe whichever process they are available to do so.

The volunteers will be guided by an observation manual, which contains observation forms for each step in the election process, which the volunteers would need to fill out and send back to NAMFREL.

As a non-partisan activity, volunteers are required to commit to be non-partisan throughout the election process.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accredited NAMFREL as its citizens' arm for the 2018 barangay and SK elections, extending its accreditation for the 2016 national and local elections. "Their continuous accreditation shall follow the same duties and responsibilities as provided under their accreditation during the 2016 National and Local Elections (NLE), insofar as it is applicable to the May 14, 2018 BSKE." (

The deadline to sign-up as volunteer observer is on May 10, 2018.

Sign-up as a NAMFREL volunteer here (Filipino nationals only):
Download the NAMFREL Observation Manual here:
NAMFREL observes simulation of Barangay and SK Elections
NAMFREL volunteers observed the simulation of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections, conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on April 21 at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila. The volunteers observed the entire process, from the preliminaries until the counting and consolidation of votes.

One hundred pre-selected voters from Barangay 20 in Tondo participated in the simulation. For the 2018 elections, counting will be manual instead of automated. The 2018 polls will also see the initial implementation of the SK reform law, which expands the voting age for Sangguniang Kabataan: voters 18 to 30 years old will be receiving two ballots, one for barangay and one for SK.

Read NAMFREL's report and recommendations here:
PDEA drugs list: Barangay officials linked to illegal drugs (Rappler, Apr 30)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday, April 30, released a drug list containing names of barangay officials they believe to be involved in illegal drugs.

The roll contains over 200 names of village officials from all over the country. The names are listed below.

DILG offers state witness protection to 207 barangay execs on watch list (GMA News, Apr 30)

State protection may be offered to any of the 207 barangay officials who wound up on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's (PDEA) list of village executives with alleged links to illegal drugs.

"Depende kung papano siya gustong tumulong... We want them to become state witness[es], we will provide all the protection," said Interior OIC Eduardo Año on Monday.

PDEA waiting for Duterte’s nod to expose 93 local execs, solons (GMA News, Apr 30)

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) may release next the names of local government officials, including governors, who are linked to the illegal drug trade.

At a press briefing Monday, PDEA head Aaron Aquino said they have a list of 93 drug-linked local officials that they could release once President Rodrigo Duterte ordered it.

"We have 93 [names], from vice mayor up. Vice mayor, mayor, congressman, governor, vice governor. I have 93 in the narco list," Aquino said.


No automatic disqualification for bets on drug list — Comelec (Inquirer, Apr 27)

Having a candidate’s name included in the drug watchlist of the government would not automatically disqualify or bar him from running in an election, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified on Friday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that only a final judgment on the alleged crime—a court conviction—would disqualify a candidate’s bid for public office, apart from other factors of disqualification.

Comelec to use color coding system to identify election hotspots (ABS-CBN News, Apr 27)

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday it would employ a color coding system for identifying election hotspots or watchlist areas.

The color coding system will initially be used for the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a press briefing.

The poll body previously used the terms "areas of concern" and "immediate areas of concern" in labeling election hotspots.

Under the new system, the colors green, yellow, orange and red, will determine the degree of election-related violence linked to a particular area.

PNP places 162 Central Luzon villages under poll watchlist (Inquirer, Apr 26)

CAMP OLIVAS, PAMPANGA— A total of 162 villages in Central Luzon have been placed on the police’s watchlist to ensure the peaceful conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

Supt. Amador Corpus, regional police director, said 102 villages in Nueva Ecija, 27 in Bulacan, 19 in Aurora, nine in Tarlac and five in Zambales, were included in the list as these communities are “affected” by insurgency.

Barangay polls heat up as bet killed in Capiz (Philstar, Apr 29)

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A village chief running for reelection in Capiz became the latest casualty in the increasing poll-related violent incidents with less than a week before the campaign for the barangay elections officially kicks off.

Elvis Asis, 52, chairman of Barangay Lawa-an in Roxas City, was shot and killed by a lone gunman on Friday.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Asis was the latest in 11 cases of election-related violence nationwide since April 14.

3rd bet for chairman in 1 village murdered in Bulacan (Manila Bulletin, Apr 28)

SAN RAFAEL, Bulacan — If there’s any community in Central Luzon eager for this week’s release of the barangay-level narco-list by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), it might well be Barangay Mabalsbalas, here.

And the reason is because many residents here believe narco-politics might have been the root cause of the deaths of three barangay election candidates this month – Kagawad Doro Vasallo, who was killed last April 1; Barangay Captain Rodrigo “Ego” Rodriguez, Jr., killed last April 24; former barangay chief, Rodolfo “Punte” Venturina, who was gunned down last Friday.

Poll bet, 3 others killed in Basilan (Inquirer, Apr 22)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Unidentified gunmen killed a former village chief running for election in the May 14 polls and three members of his family in Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan on Sunday.

Brigadier General Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu, said the incident took place in Barangay Camamburingan at around 5:20 a.m. on Sunday.

PNP wants to declare Masbate under Comelec control (Inquirer, Apr 26)

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put Masbate under the control of the poll body in time for the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections amid intense political rivalries in the province.

PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said that the head of the Bicol regional police, Chief Superintendent Antonio Gardiola Jr., has already requested the Comelec on the matter.

“We have yet to receive the approval of the Comelec on this request,” Bulalacao said in a press briefing on Thursday.

AFP vetting Negros barangay bets (Philstar, Apr 26)

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Background checks on candidates for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in Negros Occidental are being conducted amid reports that some of them have links with the New People’s Army (NPA), a military official said yesterday.

Capt. Emil Charlie Jaudian, 303rd Infantry Brigade (IB) Civil Military Operations chief, said they expect to complete the profiling of candidates before the start of the campaign period on May 4.

A total of 23,548 persons filed their certificates of candidacy for the barangay and SK elections in Negros Occidental.

Cebu: Over 100 cops in region face temporary transfer (SunStar, Apr 24)

THE Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 is reshuffling over 100 policemen with relatives who are running in next month’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to show police impartiality.

PRO 7 Director Chief Supt. Robert Quenery said that a police officer will be temporarily transferred if he is related by blood to a certain degree to a political aspirant or an incumbent official who has filed a certificate of candidacy.

“We have identified around a little over 100 PNP personnel who are relatives of those who have filed their candidacy and it is in the call of our provincial director for them to be reassigned somewhere other than the municipality where they are assigned just to show to the public that our impartiality won’t be questioned,” Quenery said.

QC reminds employees against partisan political activities (Manila Times, Apr 25)

The Quezon City government has warned City Hall employees to avoid engaging in electioneering and partisan political activities during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election period. 

City Administrator Aldrin Cu reminded the employees of Executive Order 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 which provides that “no officer or employee in the Civil Service including members of the Armed Forces, shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity or take part in any election except to vote nor shall he use his official authority or influence to coerce the political activity of any other person or body.”

Bacolod: 36 village chiefs question financial aid (Sunstar, Apr 29)

THIRTY-SIX village chiefs in Bacolod City expressed their grievance on Friday against the current leadership of the City Government for granting financial assistance to only 25 village leaders, ranging from P140,000 to P320,000.

This apparently caught fire among the village leaders in the wake of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

They said they felt insulted why only 25 barangays in the city will benefit from the said financial assistance which they believed is the administration's party's way to lure votes for their allied barangay leaders who sought re-election.

DSWD to political candidates: Don’t use 4Ps for campaign (Panay News, Apr 29)

MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) warned candidates in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections against using the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for political ends as this is strictly prohibited by law.

While 4Ps beneficiaries are free to choose who to vote for, aspiring barangay and SK officials should never use the program to advance their political campaign, said DSWD officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco.

“Government funds should not be used for political purposes,” he stressed.

Village polls still a man’s world, gender rights advocate says (Inquirer, Apr 26)

DAVAO CITY — Men continue to dominate races in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, prompting advocates of gender equality to call for a vigorous campaign to entice more women to join community politics.

“It has not happened yet—men and women becoming equals,” said Dr. Jean Lindo, chair of Gabriela in Southern Mindanao, as the disparity between men and women seeking electoral posts continued to show in the number of aspirants who filed certificates of candidacy (COC) for the May 14 elections.

Of those who filed their COCs for barangay chair nationwide, 69,163 were men and only 17,964 were women, Comelec records showed.

DILG: SK law’s anti-political dynasty provision one reason for low turnout of candidates (GMA News, Apr 25)

Interior Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya on Wednesday said that the anti-political dynasty provision of the Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act is one reason behind the low turnout of candidates for the SK elections on May 14.

"I think (the low turnout) is for various reasons. The first being the anti-political dynasty [provision]. You know, there has been some sort of political capture I would say of some areas in the Philippines where the SK [candidates] are sons, daughters, or relatives of barangay officials," Malaya said in a television interview.

Comelec eyes more simulation activities for village polls (Inquirer, Apr 26)

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) eyes to conduct more simulation activities of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.

Comelec acting Chairman Al Parreño, however, noted that the activities will be at the regional level during the training of teachers who will serve on Election Day.

“It will be held during the training of the teachers. It is better to have the simulation during the training since the teachers are all there already,” he said in an interview Thursday.

EcoWaste Coalition appeals to barangay, SK candidates to minimize use of tarpaulins laced with cadmium (Manila Bulletin, Apr 29)

A waste and pollution watchdog appealed to the candidates for the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election (BSKE) to minimize the use of tarpaulin posters laced with cadmium, a cancer-causing chemical.

Quezon City based EcoWaste Coalition issued the call as the official campaign period for the upcoming election starts on May 4 and ends on May 12.

“Tarpaulins such as those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic often contain cadmium, a chemical that is deemed extremely harmful to human health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

PET asks Marcos, Comelec to comment on threshold level in shading of ballots (Inquirer, Apr 24)

The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has ordered former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to respond on the motion for reconsideration filed by Vice President Leni Robredo in connection with the threshold set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for shading of ballots.

Aside from Marcos, the PET also ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to submit its comment.

FACT CHECK: No ‘dead voters’ for Robredo in Negros Occidental town (Rappler, Apr 25)

Claim: A blog post by on December 26, 2017, claimed that Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo got votes from "dead voters" in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental. The post was referring to individuals who allegedly used the names of deceased people that were still on the voters' list.

This blog post has resurfaced on social media amid the ongoing recount of votes from the 2016 vice presidential polls, in relation to the election protest filed by Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr against Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

At least 3 other blog posts have carried the same story as of this posting.

Rating: FALSE

Partylist groups planning to take part in May 2019 nat’l, local polls have until May 2 (Manila Bulletin, Apr 29)

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said partylist groups planning to participate in the May 2019 National and Local polls now have until May 2 to file their Manifestations of Intent to Participate.

The poll body in Resolution No. 10313 has set the new deadline for the filing of Petitions for Registration and Manifestation of Intent to Participate of registering partylist groups, coalitions, or organizations from April 30 to May 2.

The new deadline for the filing of Manifestation of Intent to Participate of existing partylist groups, coalitions, or organizations is also on May 2.

Charter body eyes ban on political turncoatism (BusinessMirror, Apr 26)

The  consultative  committee (Con-com) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution is eyeing the adoption of a new article with provisions against party switching, or turncoatism, to institutionalize and strengthen political parties.

Con-com member Dean Julio C. Teehankee, subcommittee chairman on leveling the political playing field, said they have already agreed in principle on the subcommittee level to adopt the proposed provisions.

Teehankee said the Philippines has a long history of party-switching, noting that between 70 percent to 75 percent of politicians have switched parties since 1987.

Under the 1987 Constitution, there are no existing provisions on turncoatism.

2019 elections preview: New names and alliances, old faces and surprises (Interaksyon, Apr 24)

With just around a year before the country heads back to the  polls, the recent Pulse Asia survey on possible senatorial hopefuls has set politics-savvy Filipinos abuzz.

The list of 58 possible candidates for next year’s race reveals not just the turning of the tide through new alliances, but an old guard that refuses to be replaced.

CA Justice Inting takes oath as new Comelec commissioner (Inquirer, May 3)

Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Socorro Inting has taken her oath as the newest commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Inting replaced former commissioner Arthur Lim who retired in February 2018. She would serve until February 2, 2025.

The newly-appointed commissioner hails from Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.

Malaysia election to see multi-cornered fights in most seats (The Straits Times, Apr 29)

Malaysia's general election will be the biggest ever with a record 2,333 candidates. It is also one where more than four in five candidates will be facing off in three-or more-cornered fights. This state of affairs could swing the elections towards the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), say analysts.

While there were allegations of bias from the opposition over a handful of seats, Nomination Day proceedings took place smoothly across the country yesterday for 222 parliamentary constituencies and 505 state seats in the May 9 polls, which pits Prime Minister Najib Razak against his one-time mentor and former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Rights Groups Call on ASEAN Members to Halt Cambodia’s Backslide on Democracy (Radio Free Asia, Apr 26)

The governments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must intervene to end Cambodia’s ongoing slide from a democracy into a dictatorship, several human rights organizations said, as member states kicked off the 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore.

In a letter addressed to Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan issued late on Wednesday, seven Cambodian and international rights groups noted that nine of ASEAN’s 10 members signed the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement ending Cambodia’s civil war, obligating them to address “the severe deterioration in the state of human rights and democracy in Cambodia in recent months.”

A bloody start to Afghan election process (DW, Apr 24)

A suicide bomber targeted a voter registration center in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood in the west of Kabul, the Afghan capital, on April 22, leaving more than 50 people dead and around 120 wounded. The victims included women and children who were queuing to receive their voter identity cards ahead of the country's long-delayed parliamentary elections.  

Sunday's explosion is the latest in a series of violent attacks across Afghanistan targeting voter registration centers. Later the same day, the Taliban killed at least seven policemen who were guarding another voter registration center in the northwestern Badghis province.

'If we vote, we'll be killed' - Afghan villages face election threat (Reuters, Apr 28)

CHARBULAK, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Villagers in Afghanistan say the Taliban have been telling them not to vote in elections planned later this year, threatening to burn down the house of anyone who does, in a bid to derail a vote seen as a major test of government credibility.

Parliament and district council elections scheduled for October represent an enormous challenge for a government which is under heavy pressure from its international backers to ensure a fair and credible vote.

But the Taliban, who launched their annual spring offensive this week, have already made it clear that they will not allow the process, seen as a dry run for next year’s presidential election, to go ahead unhindered.
NAMFREL NEWS is a bi-monthly curated package of the most significant Philippine election-related news, distributed by the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) to its network.
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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