Monday, April 16 , 2018
PHILIPPINES
DILG supports NAMFREL proposal requiring candidates in village polls to submit resume (Zamboanga Today, Apr 14, 2018)
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional office yesterday supported the proposal of the National Movement for Free Election (NAMFREL) calling the Commission on Election (Comelec) to require the candidates running for the Barangay and SK elections to submit their resume upon filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COC).

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READ the DILG's position on NAMFREL's proposal requiring BSKE candidates to submit a document highlighting their readiness to serve: https://bit.ly/2HC5Dji


 
Barangay, SK poll season starts: Gun ban on; over 5K hot spots watched
(Inquirer, Apr 14, 2018)


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will begin accepting certificates of candidacy (COCs) for next month’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on Saturday, April 14.

The Comelec on Friday said a nationwide gun ban would be imposed starting on Saturday and throughout the election period until May 21, during which employing bodyguards would also be prohibited.

Aspirants have to submit their COCs by April 20.

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Duterte orders AFP, PNP to assist Comelec in conduct of SK, barangay elections
(GMA News, Apr 16, 2018)


President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

Signed on April 13, Memorandum Order 21 provided Duterte’s concurrence with Comelec Resolution 10207 deputizing the military and police to ensure “the free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible conduct” of the village polls.

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Local bets need not submit biodata, platform – Comelec
(Inquirer, Apr 16, 2018)


Candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls need not attach their biodata or resumés and campaign platform to their certificates of candidacy (COCs), according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“It actually has no bearing in the filing of COCs. The election officer will accept the COC forms, with or without biodata and program of government,” the Comelec said on its Twitter account in response to several queries on the matter.

An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier urged the Comelec to require barangay and SK candidates to submit their resumés and campaign platforms.

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Barangay bets warned: Be truthful in declaring party affiliation or face consequences (Inquirer, Apr 12, 2018)

BACOLOD CITY-Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections has warned candidates for barangay posts to be truthful in their certificates of candidacy (CoC), especially their affiliations with political parties, or face the consequences.

She cited Item Number 10 on the CoC that candidates sign under oath, that states “I am not a member of any political party, group or coalition of political parties.”

“I am cautioning that they have to answer truthfully, because if they don’t there will be consequences,” she said.

Membership of a barangay candidate in a political party under Section 51 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) is a prohibited act, and shall be prosecuted and penalized, in accordance with the provisions of the OEC, as a criminal offense, she said.

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DILG, Comelec on guard vs. 3rd-term village execs
(Northbound Philippines, Apr 15, 2018)


In a statement on Friday, DILG Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año said under the Local Government Code, “no local elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.”

In a report of the 17 DILG Regional Offices, as collated by the DILG National Barangay Operations Office, there are 8,927 third-term incumbent barangay chairmen in the country and 51,273 third-term Sangguniang Barangay (SB) members.

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Be non-partisan, Comelec reminds military, gov’t execs
(Manila Bulletin, Apr 12, 2018)


Butuan City – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here on Thursday reminded government troops and civil service employees to be non-partisan during the conduct of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on May 14, 2018.

Comelec 13 Regional Director Atty. Francisco R. Pobe also warned policemen, soldiers and civil service employees to stay away from partisan politics during the election or face election-related offenses.

“We are very strict on this,” stressed Pobe during an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin on Thursday.

He said that under Comelec laws, any partisan civil service employee and government soldier will be charged in court.

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Comelec: Mandatory drug tests for candidates unconstitutional
(ABS-CBN News, Apr 6, 2018)


MANILA - There is no law requiring electoral candidates to take mandatory drug tests, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reiterated Friday.

The reminder came amid Liga ng mga Barangay President Edmund Abesamis' call for the mandatory drug testing of all local government officials, particularly candidates in the upcoming May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

This even as the Supreme Court in 2008 ruled that requiring government officials, specifically lawmakers, to take a drug test is unconstitutional.

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Namfrel to village polls bets: File your COC early (PTV News, Apr 12, 2018)

MANILA — An election watchdog has advised those who intend to run in May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls to submit their respective Certificate of Candidacy (COC) ahead of the deadline.

“This coming Saturday, April 14, 2018, is the start of the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) for the Barangay and SK Elections, which is set to be held on May 14, 2018. Until April 20 is the filing, do not wait for the deadline,” the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said in a public advisory posted on its Facebook account.

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DILG readies SK mandatory training, pushes for resumé submission of SK candidates
(DILG, Apr 11, 2018)


DILG Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said in a joint press conference on Wednesday with the NYC and Commission on Elections (Comelec) that the DILG has released guidelines regarding the implementation of the SK mandatory and continuing training programs to be jointly implemented by the DILG and NYC.

“For the first time in the history of SK, a mandatory training program must be participated in by elected SK officials before he or she can assume office,” he said.

“Non-attendance to the training without any valid reason shall be considered as an instance of deliberate failure to attend shall constitute sufficient ground to disqualify SK officials or subject them to disciplinary actions as per Section 27 of the SK Reform Act,” he pointed out.

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Graduation season welcomed by politicos’ greetings
(Interaksyon, Apr 5, 2018)


Graduation season in the Philippines doesn’t just mean students sending friends tearful goodbyes and scrambling to prepare their resumes.

A recently viral tweet reminded Filipinos of one curious practice that is perhaps endemic to the Philippines: politicians’ uninhibited propensity for public messages of congratulations for new graduates every year.

In 2016, environmental group EcoWaste Coaltion pleaded for candidates in the national elections that year to refrain from attaching congratulatory messages for new graduates.

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Manual village, youth polls turn some teachers off
(Inquirer, Apr 11, 2018)


Some public school teachers have begged off from serving in the May 14 village and youth council elections.

But the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said there was no shortage of teachers who could serve as election tellers.

James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson, said in an interview that the reason cited by teachers in begging off from election duty was the manual process of the voting.

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Pimentel wants media to cut rates for political ads
(Manila Times, Apr 13, 2018)


Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd on Thursday called on broadcast and print media companies to lower rates for political advertisements to give access to poor candidates.

He filed Senate Bill 1777 on April 4, which seeks to lower the rates for political advertisements by 50 percent for television, 30 percent for radio, and 20 percent for print ads.

The Senate chief cited Article 2, Section 26 of the Constitution, which states that “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service.”
Why the Philippines’ Vice-Presidential Election Recount Matters
(The Diplomat, Apr 6, 2018)


This week, the Philippines began a manual recount of votes from the hotly contested May 2016 vice-presidential election. The recount has once again put the spotlight on the Philippines’ political history as well as the controversy surrounding current President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the Philippines, where voters cast ballots for president and vice president separately, the vice-presidential election in 2016 attracted much more attention than is often the case. And it also ended up being a much closer affair than the presidential election, which saw then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte win handily.

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PET orders Leni, Bongbong camps to explain disclosure of info on VP vote recount
(GMA News, Apr 12, 2018)


The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) wants to know why the camps of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo have disclosed "sensitive" information in the ongoing vice presidential vote recount despite being ordered not to.

In a notice of resolution dated April 10, the PET gave both parties 10 days from receipt of notice to show cause and explain "why they should not be cited in contempt for violating the Resolutions dated February 13, 2018, and March 20, 2018."

The resolutions ordered the parties to "strictly observe the sub judice rule pending the proceedings" of Marcos' poll protest.

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PET denies Robredo bid for 25% oval shade threshold in recount
(GMA News, Apr 12, 2018)


The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) has denied Vice President Leni Robredo's motion asking that it follow the shading threshold set by the Commission on Elections to consider votes as valid.

Robredo's legal team last week asked the PET to apply the 25 percent threshold for ballot shading as it embarks on its manual recount of vice presidential votes from over 5,000 ballot boxes from three provinces as part of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s challenge to her 2016 poll victory.

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Comelec resolution disproves SC claim on ballot shading
(Rappler, Apr 15, 2018)


MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had issued a resolution setting the ballot oval shading threshold at 25% for the 2016 elections.

Why it matters: The SC, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), had denied Vice President Leni Robredo's motion to consider ballot ovals shaded by a minimum of 25% as valid votes in the ongoing ballot recount for the electoral protest filed against her by ex-senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The PET said it is "not aware" of any resolution issued by the Comelec that states the applicability of the 25% minimum threshold for the 2016 polls. The High Court said it has "no basis," therefore, to impose a 25% threshold for the ballot recount.

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Publicity for 2019 hopefuls starts mounting and all of it is legal
(Interaksyon, Apr 9, 2018)


Interaksyon has reached out to a member of the Commission on Elections to ask for some insight on what the current election laws can provide for alleged incidents of “premature campaigning.”

Lawyer Gregorio Bonifacio, Election Officer IV of San Juan City, believes that there is nothing illegal about the apparent publicity next year’s possible candidates have been receiving.

“As long as the person has not yet filed any certificate of candidacy, then he is not yet technically a candidate. As such you cannot consider it as premature campaigning because he is not yet running for any position,” said Bonifacio in an email interview.

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Duterte directs Congress party-mates to impeach Sereno
(CNN Philippines, Apr 13, 2018)


President Rodrigo Duterte is not letting up on his call to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying she should have resigned a long ago. 

"I am directing my party-mates," he said upon arriving in Davao City early Friday morning. "I am asking you to impeach the Chief Justice."

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International group of jurists assails Duterte for slamming Sereno
(PhilStar, Apr 12, 2018)


MANILA, Philippines — An international group of judges and lawyers has recently condemned President Rodrigo Duterte for railing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, calling it an “assault” on both the chief magistrate and judiciary’s independence.

Reacting to Sereno’s insinuations that the Philippine leader is directly behind efforts to dislodge her from office, Duterte on Monday declared that he was already the chief justice’s enemy.

The International Commission of Jurists assailed Duterte’s pronouncement and urged him to respect the independence of the Philippine judiciary.
It also called on the president to refrain from exerting political pressure on any government official or agency to undermine the judicial branch of government.

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4-year term with one reelection for President, other gov’t officials proposed (GMA News, Apr 12, 2018)

The Subcommittee on the Structure of the Federal Government of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution proposed a four-year term with one reelection for government officials.

Subcommittee Chair Antonio Eduardo Nachura, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, on Thursday said the proposal covers the President, vice president, senators and congressmen.

Also, the subcommittee recommended that the current constitutional provision requiring candidates to simply be able to read and write be changed to requiring them to have a college degree.


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Con-Com eyes party-appointed lawmakers under amended charter to rid House of ‘balimbings’
(GMA News, Apr 12, 2018)


A sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution is looking to somehow address the issue of political turncoatism particularly in the legislature.

Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Eduardo Nachura, chair of the Subcommittee on the Structure of the Federal Government, said the sub-panel was considering a system wherein some lawmakers would be appointed by political parties, in the hopes ridding the chamber of political turncoats or colloquially known as a "balimbing."

Under the subpanel's proposal, 60 percent of the House will be composed of congressmen and women elected from their respective legislative districts, while the remaining 40 percent will consist of "proportional representation," where successful national, regional, or sectoral parties will name their representatives.

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‘Federal shift also requires reforms in recall elections’
(BusinessMirror, Apr 4, 2018)


Election experts voiced the need to strengthen the mechanism for recall elections alongside moves to regulate political dynasties in the proposed federal charter.

Institute for Political and Electoral Reform Executive Director Ramon Casiple said provisions on the recall process of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be updated, as the shift to federalism could result in longer terms for lawmakers and local government officials.

National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) Secretary General Eric Alvia said the Comelec may coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in assesing the credibility of the reasons cited for a recall petition.

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Charter review body wants ‘mandatory’ cabinet post for VP
(ABS-CBN News, Apr 12, 2018)


MANILA—The committee drafting a new federal constitution is looking to require subsequent presidents to appoint the vice president to a cabinet position, with both leaders elected from the same political party or ticket.

The proposal, set to be formalized by President Rodrigo Duterte’s consultative committee on Monday, seeks to address the recurring problem arising whenever the 2 top officials of the country were in conflict.

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How Cambridge Analytica’s parent company helped ‘man of action’ Rodrigo Duterte win the 2016 Philippines election
(SCMP, Apr 4, 2018)


The parent company of Cambridge Analytica helped put Philippines’ leader Rodrigo Duterte into office after already influencing voters in dozens of campaigns across the globe, according to media reports and information pulled from the firm’s website

Strategic Communications Laboratories, or SCL Group, which owns the political consultancy at the centre of a Facebook data harvesting scandal linked to the 2016 US presidential race, boasted on its website that it helped get Duterte elected in 2016 by rebranding him as a tough crime fighter.

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Facebook partners with Rappler, Vera Files for fact-checking program
(Rappler, Apr 12, 2018)


MANILA, Philippines – Facebook on Thursday, April 12, announced its partnership with Rappler and Vera Files for a third-party fact-checking program in the Philippines which aims to prevent false news from spreading on the social media platform.

Rappler and Vera Files have been certified through a non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network and will review news stories on Facebook, check their facts, and rate their accuracy.

“Partnering with third-party fact-checking organizations is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform,” said Clair Deevy, Facebook Director for Community Affairs for Asia Pacific.

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INTERNATIONAL
Cambodia: Electoral Watchdogs Hit Back at Accusations of Undermining Cambodia Ballot
(Radio Free Asia, Apr 11, 2018)


Two independent electoral watchdogs have hit back at accusations that they are seeking to disrupt an upcoming general ballot in Cambodia after expressing concerns over political tensions in the country and the lack of a viable opponent to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

In an interview with RFA’s Khmer Service last week, Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee on Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel), questioned the legitimacy of the July 29 election in the absence of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November after Hun Sen alleged that it was plotting to topple his government.

Koul Panha said Comfrel would wait until the May 14 deadline for political parties to register before deciding whether it would participate as a monitor in the upcoming vote, and also urged would-be international observers to be aware of the political situation in Cambodia before accepting an invitation from the National Election Committee (NEC)—the country’s official electoral body—to do the same.

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Malaysia: Bersih demands transparency on GE14 international observers
(Malaysiakini, Apr 11, 2018)


Electoral reform coalition Bersih wants the Election Commission to be more transparent and provide more information about the international observers they have invited for the 14th general election.

“Transparency of the process is very important. It’s not enough for EC to say we’ve invited other countries and NGOs to observe, but don’t tell us how, or the conduct of the observations,” said Bersih outreach officer Chan Tsu Chong in a press conference at their office in Petaling Jaya today.

Bersih secretariat member Mandeep Singh also had a host of questions for the EC about the international observers. "Why was the Asian Network for Free Elections (Anfrel), a body that is a known independent NGO, not invited? Why was Carter Center and the Commonwealth secretariat not invited? These are bodies that are known internationally for making election observations."

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OSCE: Elections in Azerbaijan were held under limiting democratic norms
(Armenia News, Apr 12, 2018)


Extraordinary presidential elections in Azerbaijan took place in an atmosphere of restriction of the basic rights and freedoms that are necessary for a truly democratic election campaign, stated international observers from the OSCE, the OSCE PA and PACE at

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Facebook CEO responds to concerns over Myanmar hate speech and India election (Nikkei Asian Review, Apr 11, 2018)

Mark Zuckerberg's five-hour testimony to Congress on Tuesday covered a wide range of topics including regulation, privacy and Russian meddling in U.S. elections. The Facebook chief executive also made some significant remarks on issues in Asia, where its service is widely used but is now facing greater scrutiny from local regulators and civil rights groups over its handling of user data. Here is a synopsis of what he said.
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: namfrel.secretariat@namfrel.com.ph
Tel. : (632) 788-3484 / (632) 736-0969
Telefax: (632) 470-4151
Mobile:  (63) 939-1102872 / (63) 927-2443781
 
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