Election hot-spots being monitored
As the election period draws near, incidence of election-related violence were noted in many regions and provinces in the country. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Comelec are assessing the areas that are considered as election hot-spots and places where private armies might be present.   continued >>>

COMELEC bid out goods and services for the 2013 elections
The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) has conducted public bidding for a total of nine lots for the goods and services that will be employed or used for the 2013 elections. Following are the items that the Comelec has bid out for and the status of the procurement:   continued >>>

Comelec approves NPO procurement of ballot printing services
For the supply and printing of official ballots for the 2013 elections, the Comelec upheld the awarding of the contract to the Holy Family Printing Corp. (HFPC) and Canon Marketing Philippines by the National Printing Office (NPO)..   continued >>>

A roundup of regional election news
Former Dapitan City mayor disallowed to run for public office
Former Dapitan city mayor Dominador Jalosjos lost his privilege to run for public office as the Supreme Court (SC) affirmed its previous ruling which provides that the former mayor is ineligible to run due to his past criminal conviction.   continued >>>

Dominion's response to Smartmatic (October 17, 2012)

Former Comelec and NAMFREL Chairman Christian Monsod's election contribution recognized through 2012 Baxter Award
The National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) proudly congratulates Mr. Christian Monsod for being the recipient of this year's Joe C. Baxter Award from the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES).  continued >>>

Response of Christian S. Monsod on being given the Joe C. Baxter Award for 2012 by the IFES, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Washington DC, November 5, 2012
I am deeply honored at being given the Joe C. Baxter award for 2012 by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. I thank its Board of Directors and its Philippine Office for this unexpected honor. It is a most welcome boost to the task of nation-building of which IFES has been a valued partner through the years.  continued >>>

Comelec starts preparing for Random Manual Audit for the 2013 elections
October 30, 2012
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), through Resolution no. 9538, reappointed the members of the 2010 Random Manual Audit Committee (RMAC) to carry out the random manual audit for the 2013 automated elections:  continued >>>

Comelec-Smartmatic contract upheld by high court
October 30, 2012
On October 23, 2012, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled with finality that the contract between the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and Smartmatic-TIM Corp. for the counting machines to be used for the 2013 elections is valid. The contract, amounting to PhP 1.8 billion, is for the option to purchase (OTP) availed by the Comelec which is a component of its contract with Smartmatic for the 2010 automated elections.
continued >>>

Ballot samples test conducted as short-listed suppliers are questioned
October 30, 2012
One thousand (1,000) ballot samples were tested at the National Printing Office (NPO) on October 11 and 12, 2012, through the recommendation of the Comelec. The NPO was instructed to have the ballot samples tested if they will be read and accepted by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. Comelec required this testing before the contract is awarded to the winning bidder for paper ballots and security printing.  continued >>>

House approves bill providing for insurance coverage for poll workers
October 30, 2012
Individuals serving as members of the Board of Elections Inspectors (BEI), Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI), Board of Election Tellers (BET) as well as their support staff may likely receive insurance coverage, on top of the usual honoraria given election workers.   continued >>>

Updated list of Senatorial candidates approved by Comelec
October 30, 2012
As of October 30, 2012:  continued >>>

Comelec doubled OAV registrants
October 30, 2012
A year after the registration of overseas Filipinos resumed for the May 2013 elections, the Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs nearly doubled the number of registered overseas Filipino voters, to about 915,000.   continued >>>

A roundup of regional election news
October 30, 2012
Davao del Sur governor plead s to have private armies in the province disbanded
Governor Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur revealed to the members of the media that private armies with political backing is prevalent in their province, thus placing the province under Comelec might prove to be futile to maintain order. .  continued >>>

NAMFREL stalwart Christian Monsod to receive international award for electoral reforms in the Philippines
October 30, 2012
Former Comelec Chairman and NAMFREL pioneer Christian Monsod is this year's recipient of the Joe C. Baxter award. The award, given by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), is presented annually to a professional committed to the principles of ownership, transparency and sustainability  continued >>>

An update on NAMFREL's participation in the Medicine Monitoring Project
October 30, 2012
NAMFREL-MMP (Medicine Monitoring Project) continues to implement monitoring in areas where the local chapters are also performing voluntary work to promote good governance. Currently, monitoring is limited only to public bidding. Outside Metro Manila, 14 hospitals and CHDs (Centers for Health Development) are currently being monitored: 7 in Luzon, 2 in the Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao.  continued >>>

NAMFREL council members participate in world assembly of democracy experts and advocates
Press Statement - October 24, 2012
Three members of NAMFREL's National Council participated in the recently concluded Seventh Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Lima, Peru from October 14-17. The World Movement for Democracy is a non-govenment  continued >>>

Less than 8 months to go before the 2013 elections
October 1, 2012
Filing of COCs
All prospective candidates for the May 2013 national and local elections only have this week (October 1 to 5, 8am to 5pm) to file their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs). According to Comelec Resolution no. 9518 released on September 12, all registered political parties are also to submit to the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) Law Department the names and specimen signatures of their official party nominees not later than October 1.  continued >>>

Comelec disqualifies party list groups
October 1, 2012
After a review by its First and Second Divisions to eliminate dubious groups organized by politicians and influential families, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified last week 17 organizations that sought to be accredited to participate in next year's party list elections. The organizations deemed not qualified for not meeting the standards for Party List groups set forth by the Constitution and the Party List Act are the following: Addicts and Alcoholics Carrying the Message Association, continued >>>

Smartmatic audit report of the July 24-25, 2012 Mock Elections presented last September 5 to the House Committee on Suffrage & Electoral Reform

A Review/ Analysis made by TransparentElections.org / CSOs/ IT groups of Smartmatic-TIM Corp.'s "Mock Elections Summary Report" on the Mock Elections conducted on July 24-25, 2012
The presentation was disallowed last Sept 5. However, this same report was presented to the Senate Oversight Committee on Suffrage on September 10

List of registered Party-list groups which have filed manifestation of intent to participate for the May 2013 Elections with their nominees

List of pending Party-list groups/political parties which have filed manifestation of intent to participate for the May 2013 Elections with their nominees

Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) holds Asia Regional Workshop on Engaging Citizens to Fight Corruption
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
January 24, 2012
As part of its partnership with the PTF through the Medicine Monitoring Project, NAMFREL along with other Philippine NGOs, participated in a regional peer learning and knowledge sharing workshop on Engaging Citizens Against Corruption in Asia. The event was sponsored by PTF in collaboration with its Indian partners the Public Affairs Center, CUTS-International and Transparency International.
continued >>>

CGMA and Abalos: From one case to another
January 24, 2012
After her being on hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for electoral sabotage case in relation to the 2007 elections, the lawyers of former President and currently Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have resigned upon request of their client. Father and son lawyers Jose and Albert Flaminiano and Laurence Arroyo filed before Pasay RTC Judge Jesus Mupas a motion to withdraw as legal counsels of Rep. Arroyo. Only Atty. Benjamin Santos remains as counsel to represent Arroyo in the electoral sabotage case. CGMA requested the three lawyers to concentrate on the graft cases at the Sandiganbayan.  continued >>>

Second generation politicians in Zambales' special election
January 24, 2012
On February 4, 2012, more than 200,000 voters in the province of Zambales will see no new faces in the special election for the second congressional district. The special election was set by Comelec upon the request of the Provincial council of Zambales to replace Rep. Antonio Diaz, who died last year.
continued >>>

Comelec initiates steps to uphold transparency
January 24, 2012
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc promulgated Resolution no. 9307, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct Governing Procurement Activities of the Commission on Elections”. The resolution emphasized Comelec’s staunch commitment to uphold transparency and efficiency in its procurement process.   continued >>>

Assailed Imus Mayor appealed to Comelec, denied
January 24, 2012
Former Imus, Cavite mayor Homer Saquilayan’s appeal for a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was denied. Saquilayan filed for a TRO after his appeal was rejected twice by the Imus Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 22. The Comelec First Division headed by Commissioner Rene Sarmiento denied the petition.
continued >>>

More than 500 election cases face dismissal by Comelec by the end of the year
November 21, 2011
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) posted on their website on November 9 a Notice to the Public signed by Law Department director Atty. Esmeralda Ladra, which states:

"Please be advised that the records of the cases listed hereunder are no longer available at the Law Department. Hence, all parties concerned and/or their counsel may file their manifestation of intention to actively pursue the case and submit copies of all their pleadings and evidence filed with the Investigating Officer for purposes of reconstitution on or before December 31, 2011 at the Investigations and Prosecution Division, Law Department, Commission on Elections, 8th Floor, Palacio del Gobernador Bldg., Intramuros, Manila from 8:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon.  continued >>>

Comelec files electoral sabotage case against Arroyo, et al
November 21, 2011
Voting five out of seven, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) filed on November 18 an electoral sabotage case against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the 2007 senatorial elections. Two commissioners, Lucenito Tagle and Armando Velasco abstained, as they said they had not yet read the resolution.  continued >>>

Roundup of several election cases in connection with the May 2010 elections
November 21, 2011
Retrieval of Taguig ballots ordered

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division set anew the retrieval of ballot boxes in connection with the election protest filed by losing candidate and former Supreme Court Justice Dante Tinga of Taguig City. The protest was filed against the winner, Mayor Ma. Laarni Cayetano. In the resolution issued by the Comelec First Division, the retrieval of the ballot boxes is set from November 22 to November 25, 2011. The previous dates set for the retrieval, through a resolution issued on September 30, were October 27 and 28, and November 2 and 3.  continued >>>

Comelec employees want raise to "fight temptations"
November 21, 2011
In connection with a recent proposal by Bureau of Customs chief Rufino Biazon for a “10-percent to 15-percent” raise in benefits for Customs employees to help them avoid "everyday temptations," a group of Comelec employees similarly want a wage increase. Armando Mallorca, convener of the Comelec Wage Fight Alliance (CWFA), said that a higher pay “may [also] help Comelec employees fight temptations” especially during election period.  continued >>>

Egypt to go to polls, a revolution continues
by  Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
November 21, 2011
On November 28, Egypt will go to the polls to elect members of the lower house of parliament, the first such electoral exercise in the country since the end of the 30-year presidency of Hosni Mubarak, forced to resign in February during the Egypt uprisings which started in January 2011. The Egyptian revolution followed similar protests in Tunisia; these uprisings as well as those in neighboring countries similarly calling for the end of the respective regimes in power, were later dubbed the "Arab Spring." 
continued >>>

Cases filed before the Comelec facing DISMISSAL

Arroyo and company summoned by poll fraud probe team
October 28, 2011
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was served two subpoenas by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the ongoing investigation on the alleged fraud during the 2004 and 2007 elections. The subpoenas were for the election sabotage charges filed by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and for violating the Omnibus Election Code as
recommended by the DOJ-Comelec joint panel that was tasked to investigate the election fraud case. Together with Arroyo, thirty-five (35) other people allegedly involved in the poll irregularities were also summoned.  continued >>>

Stricter penalties for poll offenses pushed
October 28, 2011
A bill proposing stricter penalties for election violations was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives. The bill was authored by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), Erico Aumentado (Bohol) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Abante Mindanao party-list). The bill also intends to amend Section 45 of Republic Act 8189, or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, and portions of section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.  continued >>>

Medicine Monitoring Project 2 concludes this month
by Edgar E. Camenting, NAMFREL Project Coordinator
October 28, 2011
Namfrel's Medicine Monitoring Project 2 ends this October. The project was implemented in 28 Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and Centers for Health Development (CHDs) across the country with a commitment of support from DOH. The implementation of the project was supported through a grant from the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF). The success of the project was due to the participation of Namfrel chapters, partners and individual volunteers in making the process of procurement and contract implementation more transparent and compliant to the provisions of the Government Procurement Reform Act 9184.  continued >>>

West Papua election: to be continued
by  Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
October 28, 2011
After being delayed three times, the West Papua gubernatorial election finally took place on July 20, 2011. However, acting on a lawsuit filed by three losing candidate-pairs in said election, and with voter turnout of only 53% (with the lowest turnouts recorded in West Papua's two major cities - Manokwari and Sorong, with less than 40%), Indonesia's Constitutional Court nullified the results of the election, ordering the holding of another round of election, to be held on November 9, 2011.  continued >>>

The Arab Spring hurdles its first test in Tunisia
October 28, 2011
Tunisia successfully held its Constituent Assembly elections on October 24, its first after the Tunisian Revolution in March; some say it was the country's first free election since gaining independence in 1956. Observers hailed the election as free and fair, peaceful and orderly. The election commission that organized the polls peg the voter turnout at 90% of the total 4.1 million registered voters. Campaign started on October 1, and Tunisians overseas got to vote on October 20 to 22 in their respective embassies and consulates to elect 18 members of the 217-seat Assembly.  continued >>>

Arroyo, Abalos et al to be charged for electoral sabotage
October 21, 2011
The joint fact-finding team of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recommended on October 20 the filing of charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, and several others, for electoral sabotage in connection with the 2007 elections. In a media briefing, members of the fact-finding team, tasked to gather and evaluate evidence regarding the alleged cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections, submitted their report to DOJ secretary Leila De Lima, who said that the report is comprehensive enough to convene the preliminary investigation committee as early as October 24.  continued >>>

Supreme Court affirms ARMM poll postponement
October 21, 2011
Voting 8-7, the Supreme Court ruled on October 18 that the law synchronizing the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with regular elections, is constitutional. Republic Act 10153, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Aquino in June, allows the President to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) for the offices of the ARMM regional governor, vice-governor, and members of the regional legislative assembly, who "shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office."  continued >>>

Sen. Cayetano hails NAMFREL volunteers’ sacrifices
by Nestor D. Malapajo, Jr., NAMFREL Volunteer
October 21, 2011
During the joint hearing on October 18 of the Senate Electoral Reforms Committee, headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, and the Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Sen. Teofisto Guingona, Jr., Committee member Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano hailed the sacrifices of NAMFREL volunteers in the 2004 and 2007 elections, together with other witnesses who allege that the elections were rigged and fraudulent.  continued >>>

COA says Smartmatic delivery charge excessive
October 21, 2011
A Commission on Audit (COA) report released last week showed that the company that supplied the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in the 2010 elections was paid excessively. Smartmatic International Corp. was awarded a contract worth Php 526.62 million for the delivery and transport of ballot boxes.  continued >>>

Atienza’s camp still in hot pursuit
October 21, 2011
After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the protest filed by losing mayoral candidate Lito Atienza of Manila, new issues were raised by his camp as to the integrity of the counting machines used in the 2010 elections. These issues form part of their argument in connection with the Comelec’s decision on the protest filed against Manila mayor Alfredo Lim.  continued >>>

ASEAN Election Management Bodies’ Forum
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
October 21, 2011

The wave of democratization sweeping throughout several regions has allowed the emergence of new democracies. Elections have been recognized as an important process in consolidating and sustaining these new democracies, with electoral management bodies (EMBs) becoming the prominent institution in respective societies. Given the importance and these responsibilities, EMBs felt increasing need to learn and share experiences and knowledge among their peers to share views and discuss common issues leading to the formation of the regional EMB associations. These forums are now regarded as a necessity to continue the improvement of electoral processes and for strengthening democracy.   continued >>>

Overseas Filipino Voters (OFV) Registration Kicks off with Training of Diplomats and Improved Procedures
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
October 21, 2011

In a move to solve recurring problems in the overseas absentee voting (OAV) system, the two Congress Committees on Suffrage and Electoral Reform and the Commission on Elections held in September a multi-sectoral forum to draw up plans to address the low Overseas Filipino Voter (OFV) registration and declining voter turnout.  continued >>>

Internet voting: the Estonian system
by Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
October 21, 2011

Out of the estimated 11 million overseas Filipino workers, only half a million registered for the 2010 elections, and only about 26% of those who registered actually cast their votes, a very low turnout indeed considering that around 80% of Filipinos turned out to vote in May 2010. Filipinos abroad decry the difficulty of access to voting centers to register and vote, as well as the difficulty of taking time out from work to travel for these activities.   continued >>>

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes' reply to CSOs' Statement of Concern on his appointment

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes' Reply-Affidavit re Director Rafanan's accusations

Arroyo linked to 2007 poll fraud
October 10, 2011
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) presented to the public on October 3 a new set of witnesses in connection with the alleged irregularities that marred the 2007 mid-term elections. The witnesses served as election officers (EOs) and provincial administrator from Maguindanao during the 2007 elections. Provincial administrator Norie Unas, along with 14 EOs were presented to members of the press.  continued >>>

Brillantes' appointment confirmed
October 10, 2011
The appointment of Sixto Brillantes, Jr. as Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has finally been confirmed during the fourth hearing on his confirmation at the Commission on Appointments (CA) on October 5. After Brillantes’ confirmation was endorsed by Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, co-chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Offices, no other members of the CA opposed. Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who had been against Brillantes’ confirmation, chose to abstain during the voting.    continued >>>

October 10, 2011
The Global Network for Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), through the initiative of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), saw the need for a “set of standards for self-awareness and accountability among nonpartisan election monitoring organizations.” Thus, a drafting committee was organized sometime in May 2010 and met at Johannesburg, South Africa to “define the activities and delineate ethical obligations concerning impartiality, independence, accuracy transparency, nondiscrimination, respect for the rule of law and cooperation with other electoral stakeholders….”    continued >>>

Golput (Boycott)
by Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
October 10, 2011

Like in any other election I observed in the past, we set out early. With the driver, interpreter, and a local guide, we hit the road before 6:30am because we wanted to observe the opening of polls prior to the prescribed start of voting at 7am. In the Philippines, by 6:30am, the people hired by candidates to distribute sample ballots and campaign materials outside polling centers (in complete disregard for election rules) would already be out in full force. In countries like Nepal and Afghanistan, the voters, mostly men, would already be gathering outside polling places with glasses of tea in hand, to await the start of voting.   continued >>>

Statement of Concern on the Confirmation of Atty. Sixto Brillantes, Jr. as Chairman of Comelec

Ferdinand Rafanan's Affidavit opposing the CA confirmation of Sixto Brillantes, Jr.

Atty. Magdamo and Sen. Pimentel's Motion for Grievance filed before the Ombudsman in connection with the ballot secrecy folder scam

High Court suspends ARMM poll synchronization law
September 13, 2011
The Supreme Court (SC) has issued on September 13 a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implementation of RA 10153 or the law that allows the postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and its synchronization with the midterm elections in 2013. The TRO will entail the deferment of the appointment of ARMM OICs until the new officers are elected.  
continued >>>

WikiLeaks cables raise questions about past elections
September 13, 2011
Recent leaked cables released by anti-secrecy internet group WikiLeaks have caused much discussion and controversy. The documents, mainly confidential and top secret cables sent from the U.S. embassy in Manila to Washington spanning several years, quote not a few individuals including prominent businessmen, and implicate prominent politicians in alleged illegal activities pertaining to past Philippine elections.   continued >>>

Rafanan no longer Comelec Law Department Chief, BAC Chair
by Edward C. Torcuato, NAMFREL Assistant Project Coordinator
September 13, 2011

Former Comelec Law Department chair Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan has been transferred to the Planning Department, after also being removed by the Comelec from the joint DOJ-Comelec committee investigating allegations of fraud in the 2004 and 2007 elections. Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. described Rafanan as "uncontrollable." Prior to this development, Rafanan had been complaining to the media about his transfer from the Law Department to the ad hoc investigation panel. As head of the Law Department, Rafanan spearheaded the investigation on the overpriced secrecy folders in 2010.    continued >>>

Et Tu “Hintuturo” – the Biometrics Voters Registration Law a finger away from a clean voters list? (Part 2)
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General 
September 13, 2011

Currently, registered voters cannot be compelled to undergo biometrics data capture (“finger printing”) since no additional requirement for registration other than those provided under the Voter Registration Act of 1996 (RA 8189) can be imposed. To deal with this inadequacy and to cleanse the list of voters through the use of an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), legislations were filed in Congress to amend RA 8189 to make biometric capture for all voter registrants mandatory.  
continued >>>

A challenge to Filipinos
September 13, 2011
In his lecture on September 2 entitled "Creating Paths for Sustainable Citizen Vigilance In a Young Democracy," Ramon Magsaysay awardee Koul Panha of Cambodia stressed the importance of citizens participation -- not just in safeguarding the electoral process, but more importantly, in monitoring the performance of elected officials -- to ensure that democracy is alive and working. Mr. Panha is the Executive Director of Cambodia's Committee for Free and Fair Elections, a non-partisan network of civil society organizations that work for free and fair elections and good governance in Cambodia.   continued >>>

Members of investigation team to look into alleged poll fraud named
August 27, 2011
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has named the members of the fact-finding team that will assist the joint DOJ-Comelec body that will investigate allegations of fraud in connection with the 2004 and 2007 national elections.  continued >>>

60 vie for OIC-ARMM Governor
by Nestor D. Malapajo, Jr., NAMFREL volunteer
August 27, 2011

At least 60 people have either applied formally or have been nominated to the position of Officer-In-Charge Regional Governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Other OIC positions available are those of the Regional Vice- Governor (1) and the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) composed of 24 members from all the districts in the provinces of Basilain, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.   continued >>>

Puentevella vs. Leonardia recount underway
August 27, 2011
On Monday, August 22, 2011, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) started the manual revision of ballots contested in relation to the protest filed by former Bacolod City representative Monico Puentevella against incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia. The two faced off during the 2010 elections for the mayoralty position of the city.  continued >>>

Freedom of Information Act: A deliberate delay?
by Edward C. Torcuato, NAMFREL Assistant Project Coordinator
August 27, 2011

After it was drafted in 2008, House Bill 3732, otherwise known as the “Freedom of Information Act of 2008,” is yet to be ratified as the 14th congress under the leadership of Speaker Prospero Nograles fell short by seven (7) congressmen to complete the 135 votes needed. Because of this failure, Speaker Nograles drew criticisms from journalists.  continued >>>

Focus on West Papua (Part 2)
by Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
(Mr. Maligaya was in West Papua to observe the July 20, 2011 gubernatorial election for the Asian Network for Free Elections - ANFREL)l
August 27, 2011

In 2003, the Indonesian half of New Guinea -- called "Irian Jaya" (IRIAN said to mean "Ikut Republik Indonesia Anti-Nederland"), and then officially called "Papua" up to that point -- was divided into two administrative provinces: Papua in the east, retaining the city of Jayapura as capital, and West Papua, with the city of Manokwari as capital.  continued >>>

Cambodian free and fair election advocate to receive Ramon Magsaysay Award
August 27, 2011
Namfrel would like to congratulate Mr. Koul Panha, Executive Director of Committee for Free Elections (COMFREL) -- a non-partisan election monitoring organization in Cambodia -- for being named as one of the recipients of this year's prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards. Mr. Panha is being recognized for "his determined and courageous leadership of the sustained campaign to build an enlightened, organized and vigilant citizenry who will ensure fair and free elections -- as well as demand accountable governance by their elected officials -- in Cambodia's nascent democracy." continued >>>

Push Electoral Reforms Now to Protect Votes in the Future
August 18, 2011
Recent events—the resignation of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, the assumption to the Senate of Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III after winning his four-year-old  continued >>>

COMELEC urged to purge voters’ list
August 22, 2011
Malacañang and the House of Representatives are gearing for and have made initial steps to cleanse the voters’ list in time for the 2013 elections.

The House of Representatives approved a bill (HB 3469, with Rep. Susan Yap as principal author) seeking to have the voters’ list purged. Under the bill, registered voters will just have to go to the election officer in their city/municipality to validate their registration. The voters’ biometrics will then be captured using Data Capturing Machines (DCMs),after which the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will produce the list with biometrics data as a security measure..  continued >>>

Et Tu “Hintuturo” – the Biometrics Voters Registration Law a finger away from a clean voters list? (Part 1)
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
August 22, 2011

Initiatives towards improving the integrity and quality of the Philippines' voting registry run parallel to efforts in automating Philippine elections. Using fingerprint biometrics in building and sustaining a cleansed voters' database has been around for many years. The effort has spanned four administrations and six national elections and is still currently being pursued.  continued >>>

Samar recall elections likely to push through
August 22, 2011
On August 5, 2011, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) signed a ruling dismissing the motion for reconsideration filed by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, and her younger brother Vice Governor Stephen James Tan, in connection with the recall petitions filed by concerned registered voters in the province.  continued >>>

Namfrel's copies of election returns help resolve protest cases
by  Nestor Malapajo, Jr., NAMFREL volunteer
August 22, 2011

Four years after the 2007 elections, Atty. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was proclaimed on August 11, 2011, the winner for the 12th senatorial slot in the 2007 elections. The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) decision was hastened with the resignation of Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri. Sen. Pimentel will serve Zubiri's unfinished term of one year and two months.  continued >>>

Focus on West Papua (Part 1)
by  Paolo B. Maligaya, NAMFREL Senior Operations Associate
(Mr. Maligaya was in West Papua to observe the July 20, 2011 gubernatorial election for the Asian Network for Free Elections - ANFREL)

August 22, 2011

Two time zones away from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, Western Papua is the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea, the world's second largest island next to Greenland. Rich in natural resources, most of western Papua is composed of dense forests, with a high degree of biodiversity, home to many endemic species like the cenderawasih (bird of paradise) that Papua is known for.   continued >>>

Poll fraudsters open an electoral "Pandora's box"
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
August 10, 2011

Like in the story of the mythical Greek character Pandora - the first woman on earth - who unleashed evil contained in a jar which was forbidden to be opened, so too had scourge abound after revelations and renewed accusations from former ARMM Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and his cohort Maguindanao Province Election Supervisor Atty. Lintang Bedol of poll fraud perpetrated during the 2004 and 2007 elections.  continued >>>

Cleansing the Computerized Voters List (CVL)
by Eric Jude O. Alvia, NAMFREL Secretary General
August 10, 2011

A forum was conducted by the Comelec - Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD) on “Cleansing the Computerized Voters’ List” on July 11, 2011. Four major concerns were cited by COMELEC on assessing the quality of the voters registry. These are: 1) Multiple registrants, 2) Deceased registered voters still in the list, 3) Illegal registrants such as minors or non/illegible-residents, and 4) Missing names in the CVL.   continued >>>

Medicine Monitoring Project Update
As of July 2011
by Edgar E. Camenting, NAMFREL Project Coordinator

Ten months since the implementation of Medicine Monitoring Project 2, NAMFREL was able to help ensure transparency in the procurement and contract implementation in selected DOH managed hospitals and regional health offices. With active participation of NAMFREL in the BAC procurement proceedings and in the implementation of contract, irregularities were minimized to make the procurement process more transparent and acceptable.   continued >>>

Winning candidates defy law
July 8, 2011
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) came out this week with an in-depth report on the nonsubmission to the Comelec by candidates in the May 2010 elections of Statements of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECEs), as required by law. "If laws on campaign finance were enforced to the letter, (many winning candidates) should not be occupying their seats right now," says PCIJ.   continued >>>

ARMM polls postponement remains challenged
July 8, 2011
The Supreme Court (SC) required the Office of the President (OP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment within 10 days on the oppositions challenging Republic Act 10153, a law postponing the August 8, 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).   continued >>>

Atienza urges for continuation of ballot revision
July 8, 2011
Losing Manila mayoralty candidate Lito Atienza asked the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to continue revising more ballots in connection with the protest he filed against incumbent mayor Alfredo Lim. Atienza, through his counsel Romulo Macalintal, said that the initial revisions done earlier this year on contested ballots from 200 precincts yielded substantial findings for them to urge the COMELEC to continue with the revision of the remaining 1,221 precincts. continued >>>

ANFREL: Peaceful and orderly Thai election
July 8, 2011
The Asian Network for Free Elections, which deployed more than 60 long- and short-term observers from 20 countries throughout Thailand to observe the July 3 parliamentary election, hailed the conduct of the election as peaceful and orderly. In a statement, ANFREL chair and Head of Mission Damaso G. Magbual said, “The election period, in particular Election Day on July 3rd, was managed well and without any major incident which would call into question the election’s results. continued >>>

Electoral violence in Asia
July 8, 2011
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recently released a report entitled "Understanding Electoral Violence in Asia," focusing on the nature of electoral violence in the region, as well as the factors that prevent or perpetuate it. The report presents analysis of case studies commissioned by UNDP in seven countries: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Philippines. continued >>>

President Aquino signs ARMM poll postponement law; SC asked to nullify said law
June 30, 2011
President Aquino signed on June 30 the law postponing the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Republic Act No. 10153 synchronizes the ARMM elections with the national mid-term elections in May 2013.     continued >>>

Unused campaign contributions to be taxed
June 30, 2011
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued on June 14 Revenue Regulation No. 7-2011, outlining the agency's policy on unused campaign contributions. Though the BIR upholds that campaign contributions are non-taxable since "such contributions were given not for personal expenditure/enrichment of the concerned candidate, but for the purpose of utilizing such contributions for his/her campaign," it makes an exception for campaign contributions that were unused.    continued >>>

Elected lady officials retain their posts
June 30, 2011
After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) served a Notice of Vacancy at the Lucena City hall, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a status quo ante order stopping Comelec to remove elected Barbara “Ruby” Talaga from the mayoral post. The Comelec on June 28 then recalled its earlier resolution ordering Talaga to vacate the post.     continued >>>

ANSA Global panel meeting & Social Accountability (SAc) ICT Fiesta
June 30, 2011
The first ANSA (Affiliated Network for Social Accountability) Global advisory panel meeting was held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila from June 27 to 29. With the theme One ANSA – learning from the ANSA Experience & Launching a Global Network, the three-day event brought together global social accountability stakeholders from government, civil society, and other development partners. The gathering aimed to convene the ANSA global panel, the equivalent of Executive Committee to launch the ANSA Global hub; share lessons among regional ANSAs; facilitate information exchange among ANSAs and other regional partners; and discuss future ANSA Global initiatives.     continued >>>

Law postponing ARMM election delayed
June 21, 2011
President Aquino has been accused of delaying the signing into law of the bill postponing the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), originally scheduled for August 8. The President is set to sign four bills into law on June 21, but not among them is the law deferring the polls. In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang said “We’re waiting for the right time to pass that.”     continued >>>

Anti-Political Dynasty bill finally tackled in Congress; would cover all national and local elective positions
June 21, 2011
Before Congress went on recess last week, the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms conducted for the first time on June 1 a hearing on the anti-political dynasty bill filed by Rep. Teddy Casiño, et al. House Bill 3413, filed in October 2010, originally sought to only ban dynasties in the provincial, city and municipal levels where they are most commonly experienced. Casiño said when the bill was formulated, political dynasties had yet to infiltrate the party-list system.    continued >>>

COMELEC acts on election protests in Sarangani and Pangasinan
June 21, 2011
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to act on the election protest filed by a losing candidate for mayor in Maasim, Sarangani.  Mayoralty candidate Arturo Lawa filed a petition before the Comelec alleging that there was an error in the transmission of results during the May 2010 elections. In his petition filed in May 2010, Lawa stated that the “Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) erroneously counted the votes cast during the mock elections,” as the testing and sealing of the counting machines, or PCOS (precinct count optical scan) were conducted in the precinct where the machine was deployed.  continued >>>

FIT4E Conference Resolution: "Support the Filipino IT for Automated Elections"
June 13, 2011

Comelec says ARMM election will be manual
June 2, 2011
During the May 31 hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Local Government on the ARMM election postponement, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said that due to time constraints, the Comelec cannot automate the ARMM election anymore, and would have to use the manual process if the polls are held in August as scheduled.    continued >>>

Bill postponing ARMM election shelved, then retrieved
June 2, 2011
After the Senate Committee on Local Government, upon holding several consultations with stakeholders, concluded that the bills seeking to postpone the ARMM elections violate ARMM's autonomy, and after the Committee had submitted its report that was unfavorable to the proposed bills, the Senate, during its plenary on May 31, sent the bills to its archives. However, just a few minutes after the shelving, several Senators, including Committee chair Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., moved that the bills be revived and placed on the Senate calendar to be deliberated on further.    continued >>>

Special Election in Ilocos Sur held
June 2, 2011
On May 28, 2011, the Commission on Elections held a special election in the province of Ilocos Sur. The election was for the position vacated by former Rep. Ronald Singson after he resigned to serve his sentence of 18-month imprisonment for drug possession in Hong Kong. Ronald’s younger brother, Ryan, won the elections as the 1st district’s representative to the House of Representatives with 71,995 votes, defeating his rival Atty. Bertrand Baterina who garnered 30,445 votes. Singson was proclaimed as the official winner by the COMELEC in the morning of May 29, 2011.    continued >>>

Comelec wants to create new precincts for PWDs and senior citizens
June 2, 2011
In a House Committee on Suffrage hearing on June 1 to discuss a bill mandating the use of ground-floor polling places for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, the Comelec, through Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, recommended that separate precincts be formed for said voters, to be referred to as "highly-accessible polling places." The Comelec said these polling places would have their own separate voters lists, special Boards of Election Inspectors (SBEIS), election paraphernalia, and PCOS machines (should the election be automated using Smartmatic's machines).   continued >>>

Namfrel FINAL Tally, Ilocos Sur Dist. 1 Special Election
May 28, 2011

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