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GO bets lead in initial official canvass Comelec count of overseas votes shows 8-3-1

By E. T. SUAREZ, ELLALYN DE VERA & HANNAH TORREGOZA

Eight Genuine Opposition (GO) bets, three from Team Unity (TU) and one independent candidate occupied the first 12 slots in the senatorial race as the official canvass of votes cast by overseas absentee voters in 15 countries began yesterday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. (More on Manila Bulletin)

Originally Posted at www.mb.com.ph

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20,342 reported precincts
Percentage reported – 7 percent
Total precincts – 288,864

1 Escudero, C 828,942
2 Legarda, L 827,932
3 Villar, M 750,955
(More on Manila Bulletin)

Originally Posted at www.mb.com.ph

The Christian movement Tatak Kristiyano has thrown its support behind the senatorial bid of former Sen. Tessie Oreta, inviting her to speak on its multisectoral forums in various areas nationwide on the role of Christians in politics and governance. (More on Manila Bulletin)

Originally Posted at www.mb.com.ph

Posted April 30, 2007 02:59:00(Mla Time)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Lack of familiarity as a result of tapping security forces outside of Nueva Ecija was seen as the main reason for the clash between groups of bodyguards of candidates belonging to rival camps in the province. (More on Inquirer)

Originally Posted at www.inquirer.net

By LESLIE ANN G. AQUINO

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Angel Lagdameo asked all candidates and the voting public yesterday to respect the sanctity of the ballot by avoiding buying and selling of votes. (More on Manila Bulletin)

Originally Posted at www.mb.com.ph

BSU Mock Election

Florentino A. Tuason Jr.
Commissioner

“Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them” 1987 Constitution

This is the very essence of our democracy. This is the very spirit, the moving force behind our collective desire in clamoring for better life, better institutions, and best leaders.

Recall that in 1986, the people concretely exercise their sovereign authority by toppling the dictatorship through collective effort. That was a direct action of people. Leadership changed and so were the political institutions.

At present, however, the clamor for change and reform persists there is no better way to attend to the demands to the time than through the exercise, again, of our collective might, but this time, through the ballots. Voting is a very potent force in instituting reforms in our political leadership by weeding out unscrupulous leaders and supporting those who present themselves as worthy servants of the people. We choose our leader, as they are not imposed upon us. As the cliche goes bad leaders are elected by those [registered voters] who do not vote.

The right to vote is sacrosanct and the existence of the right of suffrage is a threshold for the preservation and enjoinment of all other rights. It is our sacred obligation to vote in order to protect and preserve other fundamental rights. Without exercising our rights to vote, sovereignty shall always remain a hollow declaration devoid of any meaning, form, and substance.

Failure to vote might even be a cause for the emergence of tyrants who shall rob us of our basic and fundamental rights.

And lest it be forgotten, we owe it our children to provide them with the best leaders who will guide them in charting their future.

As in the case of Geronimo vs. Ramos (1985), the Honorable Supreme Court categorically declared thus:

“the importance o the people’s choice must be the paramount consideration in every election, for the Constitution has vested in the men and women who shall make laws for them or govern in their name and behalf.”

The people have a natural and constitutional right to participate directly in the form of government under which they live. Such a right is among the most important and sacred of the freedoms inherent in a democratic society and one which must be most vigilantly guarded if a people desires to maintain through self government for themselves and their posterity a genuinely functioning democracy in which the individual may, in accordance with law, have a choice in the form of his government and in the choice of the people who will run that government for him. X x x.”

It is our moral obligation to create a collective conscience by electing leaders who truly represent the will of the people. Often times, we are confronted by registered voters lamenting that nothing much will change even if they do or do not vote. Certainly, the attitude is passive and defeatist, and they deserve the kind of leaders they grumble against. Our voters must be constantly reminded that as repositories of sovereign will, they should be active participants in shaping our future.

“Every voter ought not merely to vote, but to vote under the inspiration of a high purpose to serve a nation.” Calvin Coolidge(1924)

I am also very proud to emphasize that our Commission has indeed proven itself to be a worthy partner of the people in the conduct of the elections. We have already created avenues to encourage our registered voters to vote and exercise their sovereign right. As everybody knows, we have already put in place the mechanisms for overseas and local absentee voting to further ensure active participation of our registered voters in the elections. Even the elderly,disabled, and illiterate are afforded sufficient opportunity so that they may also express their will in the election of our leaders.

Indeed, I trust that with the wisdom of our registered voters and the electoral mechanism all in place, the will of the electorate shall prevail in the forthcoming elections.

(Originally posted at www.bagongbotante.com)

Resurreccion Z. Borra
Commissioner

When one registers as a voter, it is taken for granted that one will vote in the elections ensuing. After all, one buys a car o ride in, not to keep it locked up in the garage until it is reduced into a heap of rusting metal.

The analogy presumes that there is no other reason for such registration than to enable one to vote. That is far from being the case. The possibility is by no means remote that the registrant’s intention maybe different from, if at all it has anything to do with voting.

At the Comelec building housing the National Central File Division, you have to jostle your way through a crowd that everyday during office hours, fills the lobby and jams the stairs leading to said office. No, these are not applicants for jobs at the Comelec. They are there only to secure certifications that they are registered voters, having earlier registered as such in their respective localities precisely, for that purpose.

In most cases, the certifications are requested in connection with the registrant’s applications for passports or visas as required by the Department of Foreign Affairs or foreign embassies.

The rest need such documents for various other purposes, thus:

1. As requirement for school entrance examination or board examinations;;
2. For verification of addresses of individuals by different TV programs (Wish Ko Lang. etc.)
3. For verification of dates of birth by the SSS or insurance companies in connection with pension, or other monetary claims;
4. For use as reference in an election or plebiscite by individuals and/or political parties; and
5. For authentication purposes by various interest groups (research/marketing organizations, banks, postal agencies, consular attaches, etc.)

As you can see, a voter’s registration has a versatility that rivals that of a Swiss knife.
According to Ms. Consuelo R. Bernabe, head of said division, her office issues on average of 250 certifications a day for each of which a fee of P75.00 is charged.

The sad thing about the above cited cases is that the registrants concerned may not even bother voting.

And there, as the Bard would say, is the rub.

The law provides that when a registered voter fails to vote in two (2) successive regular elections, his registration records are transferred from the active to the inactive file. This is not likely to have the effect of a sword of Damocles as far as prodding a voter to exercise his right of suffrage is concerned. Actually, the deactivation is less a penalty for non-voting than it is a preventive measure considering that the continued inclusion of such registrant in the voters list may fit well into someone’s plan to commit fraud in the election.

The fact, that the registration drive mounted by the Comelec before a scheduled election brings in a rich harvest of new registrants is no reason for this body to sit back and relax.

Beyond the time it takes for the Comelec to shift gears in its information campaign- from “Register Now” to “Get Out and Vote”, it cannot afford the luxury of a pause in its effort to bring about maximum voters participation in the election, “maximum” in this context translating into a close approximation of voting population estimates.

It is a cause for elation that voters turnout in Philippine elections has been consistently high, surpassing even that of more mature democracies such as the United States.

Consider, for instance the following data on the turnout in the last three national and local elections, as shown in the records of the Records & Statistics Division.:

Election Year – May 11, 1998
Total No. of Registered Voters – 34,117,056
Total No. of Voters Who Actually Votes – 29,474,309
Percentage of Voting – 86.39%

Election Year – May 14, 2001
Total No. of Registered Voters – 36,449,911
Total No. of Voters Who Actually Votes – 27,814,672
Percentage of Voting – 76.31%

Election Year – May 10, 2004
Total No. of Registered Voters – 43,522,634
Total No. of Voters Who Actually Votes – 33,570,092
Percentage of Voting – 76.90%

The above data reflect a deep sense of involvement in the conduct of the electoral process affirming an enduring fidelity to democratic values and precepts. It is however, pointed out that while the people troop to the polls with undiminished interest, the decision they render thereat is not always well-considered as indeed, it is as often wrong as it is right, resulting in the election to public office personages who are later shown to be unworthy of the people’s trust. This assertion can hardly be disputed, given the numerous instances of abuse and misuse of official authority and power for personal gain.

The point to be stressed here is that if the people make a mistake in their choice of leaders, they can always undo or correct such mistake with their vote the next time around. But this blithe remark is bound to invite the acid comment: “That is easier said than done”.

Indeed, one who has been elevated to high public office by the people’s vote and has thus enjoyed the power, influence, perquisites and prerogatives attached thereto, will not be so easily ousted there from, no matter that he has lost the people’s esteem as he is certain to use all the vast resources made available to him by virtue of his office in ways fair or foul, legal or otherwise, to prevent such an eventuality.

Only a united and determined stand by the electorate in his constituency expressed in a resounding vote of rejection, will effect his removal from the seat of political power.

Nature, it is said, abhors a vacuum. To those scheming to subvert the electoral process, nothing is more welcomed than the vacuum resulting from the absence at the polls of an apathetic citizenry. “Vote or someone else will vote in your place” is a warning that is often sounded and with good reason, specially with reference to those who register but do not vote.

The adage “the voice of the people is the voice of God” is not an attribution of infallibility but an acknowledgement of the people’s verdict at the polls as a mandate that brooks no defiance and exacts absolutely fealty. But if the voice of the people is the voice of God in that sense, it must be heard with unmistakable clarity, a condition that is possible only if all those qualified and registered as voters, or at least a great majority thereof, participates in the election.

For if the people so participate in such massive numbers, they make their presence felt in a manner so pervasive and overwhelming that no attempt to frustrate the expression of their will and override their decision, will succeed.

(Originally posted at www.bagongbotante.com)

Rene V. Sarmiento
Commissioner

You want good government? You want leaders who are public servants in the true sense of the word, upright, just and responsible to the needs of many, especially the poor? You want peace and development to go together? You want insurgencies and armed conflicts silenced by social justice and economic progress? You want your children enjoy the fruits of quality education? You want every centavo that you pay as taxes to the government go to social welfare and security, public works, health and sanitation and protection of our environment? You want our civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights enhanced, protected and promoted?

If you want them all, you VOTE.

When you vote, you are exercising your sacred political right to suffrage and your sovereign power to choose those who will govern the country;

When you vote you send the strong message that democracy and republicanism are not mere dry concepts but living realities in the Philippines;

When you vote you tell many that the enduring stability of the Government depends on the consent of the governed;

When you vote you articulate your voice on the sensitive issues that face the Filipino people; and

When you vote, you cleanse the body politic of misfits in public service and ensure the election of the best and brightness;

When you vote, you vote for LIFE, LIBERTY and PROSPERITY!

(Originally posted at www.bagongbotante.com)

WHY EVERY REGISTERED VOTER SHOULD VOTE

Benjamin S. Abalos Sr.
Chairman

A long time ago, our people fought for the right of self-determination – the privilege of shaping our future ourselves. They struggled mightily for that right, and paid for it in blood, sweat, and tears.

Today, we have it easy. By simply writing names on a ballot, we can fight for the right to determine what our future will be like, and how we can get there. Through voting, we can make sure that our leaders are the ones who share our views and values leaders we can trust with everyday decisions that affect us directly and which affect the country as a whole; decisions that can be as simple as how much you should pay to send a single text message, or as deeply significant as how much getting an education cost.

But although voting is much easier than what our forefathers went through, it is no less powerful. After all, with the vote, we can put people in charge of our lives because of the positions of power that we put them in or we can kick people out of office and so send the message to them that we don’t agree with the direction they are setting for our country and our future. And that sort of power should not be wielded lightly.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every voter to ensure that his vote is used and used wisely. Only in this way will we, as the inheritors of the freedom secured for us by our heroes, be able to keep that freedom intact so that we too can, when our turn comes, pass on the liberties we hold so dearly whole and unbroken to our children.

(Originally posted at www.bagongbotante.com)

In the reading and appreciation of ballots, every ballot shall be presumed to be valid unless there is clear and good reason to justify its rejection.

The Board of Election Inspectors shall observe the following rules, bearing in mind that the object of the election is to obtain the expression of the voter’s will:

1. Where only the first name of the candidate or only his surname is written, the vote for such candidate with the same first name or surname for the same office.

2. Where only the first name of a candidate is written on the ballot, which when read, has a sound similar to the surname of another candidate with such surname.

If there are two or more candidates with the same full name, first name or surname, and one of them is the incumbent, and on the ballot is written only such full name, first name or surname, the vote shall be counted in favor of the incumbent.

3. In case the candidate is a woman who uses her maiden or married surname or both and there is another candidate with the same surname, a ballot bearing only such surname shall be counted in favor of the candidate who is an incumbent.

4. When two or more words are written on the same line on the ballot, all of which are the surnames of two or more candidates, the same shall not be counted for any of them, unless one is a surname of an incumbent who has served for at least one year, in which case it shall be counted in favor of the latter.

5. When two or more words are written on different lines on the ballot, all of which are the surnames of two or more candidates bearing the same surname, for an office for which the law authorizes the election of more than one, and there are the same number of such surnames written as there are candidates with that surname.

6. When on the ballot is written a single word, which the first name of a candidate and which ate the same time the surname of another candidate, the vote shall be counted in favor of the latter.

7. When two words are written on the ballot, one of which is the first name of a candidate and the other is the surname of one of his/ her opponent, the vote shall not be counted for either candidate.

8. A name or surname written incorrectly that, when read, has a sound similar to the name or surname of a candidate in his favor.

9. When a name of a candidate appear in a space of the ballot for an office for which he is a candidate, and also in another space for which he is not a candidate, only the vote for the office for which he is not a candidate shall be counted in his favor. The vote for the office for which he is not a candidate shall be considered as a stray, except when it is used as a means to identify the voter, in which case the whole ballot shall be void.

10. If the word or words written on the appropriate lank on the ballot is the identical name or surname or full name of two or more candidates for the same office and none of them is an incumbent, the vote shall be counted in favor of that candidate to whose ticket belong all the other candidates voted for in the same ballot for the same constituency.

11. When in a space in the ballot there appears a name of a candidate that is erased and another clearly written, the vote is valid for the latter.

12. The erroneous initial of the first name which accompanies the correct surname of a candidate, the erroneous initial of the surname accompanying the correct first name of a candidate, or the erroneous middle initial of the candidate shall not annul the vote in favor of the candidate.

13. The fact that a non-candidate has the same first name or surname as a candidate shall not prevent the counting of a valid vote for the candidate.

14. Ballot that contain prefixes such as “Sr.,” “Mr.,” “Datu,” “Don,” “Ginoo,” “Hon.,” “Gob.,” or suffixes like “Hijo’” “Jr.,” “Segundo,” are valid.

15. The use of the nicknames and appellations of affection and friendship, if accompanied by the first name or surname of the candidate, does not annul such vote, except when they were used as a means to identify the voter, in which the case the whole ballot is invalid. If the nickname used is unaccompanied by the name or surname of a candidate and it is the one by which he is generally or popularly known in the locality, but only if there is no other candidate for the same office with the same nickname.

16. Any vote containing initials only, or which is illegible, or which does not sufficiently identify the candidate for whom it is intended, shall be considered as a stray vote but shall not invalidate the whole ballot.

17. if on the ballot the first name of the candidate is correctly written but in the different surname, or the surname of the candidate is correctly written but with a different first name, the vote shall not be counted in favor of any candidate having such first name and/ or surname. The ballot, however, shall be considered valid for the other candidates voted for by the voter.

18. Any ballot written with crayon, lead pencil, or in ink, wholly or in part, shall be valid.

19. Where there are two or more candidates voted for in an office for which the law authorizes the election of only one, the vote shall not be counted only in favor of any of them. This shall not be affect the validity of the other votes therein.

20. If the candidates voted for in a ballot exceed the number of those to be elected, the ballot is valid. But the votes shall be counted in favor of the candidates whose names were firstly written by the voter within the spaces provided for said office in the ballot until the authorized number is covered.

21. Any vote in favor of a person who has not filed a certificate of candidacy or in favor of a candidate for an office for which he did not present himself shall be considered as a stray vote, but shall not invalidate the whole ballot.

22. Ballot containing the name of a candidate printed and paste on a blank space of the ballot of a ballot or affixed thereto through any mechanical process are totally null and void.

23. Circles, crosses or lines put on the spaces on which the voter has not written any name shall be considered as signs to indicate his desistance from voting and shall not invalidate the ballot.

24. Unless it clearly appears that they have been deliberately put the voter to serve as identification marks, the following shall not invalidate the ballot: commas, dots, lines, or hyphen between y\the first name and surname of candidate, or in other parts of the ballot, as well as traces of letters such as “t” and “j”, the first letters or syllables of names that voter does continue, the use of two m\ or more kinds of writing, and unintentional or accidental flourishes strokes, or strains.

25. Any ballot that clearly appears to have been filed by two distinct persons before it was deposited in the ballot box during the voting is totally null and void.

26. Any vote cast in favor of a candidate who has been disqualified by final judgment shall be considered as stray and shall not be counted, but shall not invalidate the ballot.

27. Ballots wholly written in Arabic in localities where it is of general use are valid. To read them, the board of election inspectors may employ an interpreter who shall take an oath that he shall read the votes correctly.

28. The accidental tearing or perforation of a ballot does not annul it.

29. Failure to remove the detachable coupon from the ballot does not annul such ballot.

The tasks and responsibilities of pollwatchers on the day of the elections may be divided into five phases, namely: a) before the voting starts; b) during the voting; c) during the counting of votes; d) after the counting; and e) during the canvassing.

Before the Voting Starts

Things to be remembered by the pollwatcher before the voting starts:

1. Be at the polling place at or before 6:00A.M. The members of the Board of Election Inspectors are expected to arrive at the poling place at or before 6:00A.M and will immediately meet and commence preliminaries to the voting.

2. Before proceeding to the polling place, check the pollwatcher’s kit and make sure that its contents are complete.

3. Upon entering the precinct, present and deliver your written appointment papers and IDs to the Chairman of the BEI and make sure that your name is recorded in the Minutes of Voting with a notation that you are not a disqualified watcher.

Pollwatcher’s Task During the Preliminaries to the Voting

During the preliminaries to the voting, the pollwatcher must already fill up the Inventory Sheet with the necessary information available such as the names of the members of the BEI, the serial numbers of the official ballots, the numbers of plastic seals and their serial numbers , and the serial number of the Minutes of Voting and Counting.

DURING THE VOTING

Rules to Remember during the Voting

1. The following are the only voters who may be allowed to vote:

a. Those whose names are in the Certified Voters List and whose Voter’s Registration Records (VRR) are in the Book Of Voters of the precinct;

b. Those whose inclusion in the Certified Voter’s List was ordered by the court.

In case a voter’s name is not found in the voter’s list, the BEI should refer to the book of voter’s VRR is included there. If not, the voter should not be allowed to vote. The only exception is when there is a court order for the inclusion of his or her name in the Voter’s List.

2. Persons Allowed in the Polling Place. Only the following person’s are allowed inside the polling place:

a. The members of the Board of Election Inspectors;

b. The representative from the Comelec;

c. The voters casting their votes;

d. The voters waiting for their turns to use the booths;

e. The voters waiting for their turn to cast their votes with such period not exceeding twenty (20) at any one time.

3. Persons Not Allowed Inside the Polling Place. Except for the purpose of casting their votes, the following persons are prohibited from entering any polling place:

a. Any officer or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines;

b. Any officer or member of the Philippine National Police;

c. A peace officer or any armed person belonging to any extra legal police agency, special forces, reaction forces, strike forces, home defense units, barangay tanod, or other similar forces or paramilitary forces including special forces, security guards, special policemen, and all other kinds of armed or unarmed extra-legal police officers.

4. No two persons can use the same voting booth or space at any one time.

5. Officials of the barangay are not allowed to stay inside the polling place unless they are there to vote. They should, however, immediately leave the premises of the polling place after voting.

6. A voter is not allowed to fill up his ballot outside the voting booth or outside the area reserved for filling up ballots or without using a Ballot Secrecy Folder;

7. After a voter has cast his vote, he or she must immediately leave the polling place;

8. While the voting is still going on, the BEI is not allowed to make any announcement as to whether a certain registered voter has already voted or not, how many have already voted or how many o far have failed to vote, or any other fact tending to show or showing the state of the polls; neither shall he or she make any statement at any time, except as witness before the court, as to how any person voted.

9. No member of the BEI is allowed to sign any blank election form such as the Certificate of Votes, Minutes of Voting, Election Returns, and other forms.

10. The ballot box should remain locked until the voting is finished and the counting begins. However, if it should become necessary to make room for more ballots, the BEI chairman may open the box in the presence of the rest of the BEI and the watchers. The chairman shall then press down with his hands the ballots contained inside without removing any of them. The BEI Chair shall close the box afterwards and lock it with three padlocks.

Things to be Remembered by the Pollwatcher during the Voting

1. Stay in the area designated for pollwatchers and position yourself in such manner that you are able to closely observe all times the proceedings of the BEI, particularly the giving of ballots to the voter and the dropping of this in the ballot box;

2. Check for ballots with serial numbers different from those listed in your Inventory Sheet and immediately bring such to the attention of the BEI. Ask your runner to immediately report the same to your barangay coordinator. These are “spurious ballots”.

3. Ask the BEI to record in the Minutes of voting the fact of discovery of spurious ballots.

4. Never leave the premises of the polling place without a reliever.

5. File a “challenge” or “protest” using the Challenge Form or Protest Form contend in your pollwatching kit when necessary and see to it that the “challenge” or “protest” is recorded in the Minutes of Voting. Ask from the BEI a “certification” of the filing of protest or challenge as well as its resolution thereon.

6. Should any irregularities, violations, or any untoward incident take place in the polling place, immediately bring these to the attention of the BEI and ask that these be recorded in the Minutes of Voting.

7. Ask the BEI to exclude from the polling place persons not allowed by law to stay there.

8. Ensure that each voter who has voted is marked with indelible ink on his or her right forefinger.

9. Make a report of the irregularities, violations, and other untoward incidents that happen in your precinct of assignment or near and around the polling place and submit it to your barangay coordinator.

Challenge of Illegal Voters (e.g. Flying Voters, Unregistered Voters, Persons using the name of other registered voters)

The pollwatcher must immediately challenge any person offering to vote but is not registered, is using the name of another, or is suffering from existing disqualifications. In case of such a challenge, the BEI shall satisfy itself as to whether or not the ground for the challenge is true by requiring proof of registration or the identity of the voter.

The failure of the voter to produce his voter’s affidavit upon being challenged does not preclude him or her from voting if his or her identity is:

1. Shown from the photograph, fingerprints, or specimen signatures in his approved application in the Book of Voters; or

2. If he is identified under oath by a member of the BEI.

In case a challenged voter is identified by a BEI member, the identification must be made UNDER OATH and reflected in the Minutes of Voting and Counting with the following clearly stated:

a) the name of the voter being challenged;
b) the name of the BEI member who identified him or her;
c) the ground for the challenge against the said voter;
d) the resolution of the BEI on the challenge.

If the identity of the challenged voter is not ascertained by any of the means enumerated above, that voter should be precluded from voting.

In any case, the pollwatcher should ask for a certification of the filing of the challenge and a copy of a resolution of the BEI thereon.

Challenge Based on Certain Illegal Acts

The watcher may also challenge any voter offering to vote on the grounds that he or she has received or expects to receive, has paid, offered or promised to contribute money or anything of value as consideration for his vote or for the vote of another; that he or she has made or received a promise to influence the giving or withholding of any such vote, or that he or she has made a bet or is interested directly or indirectly in a bet that depends upon the result of the election.

The challenged person may take a prescribed oath before BEI that he or she has not committed any of the acts alleged in the challenge. Upon the taking of such oath, however, the challenge shall be sustained and he/ she shall not be allowed to vote.

Record of Challenges and Oaths

The pollwatcher should see to it that the poll clerk keeps a prescribed record of challenges and oaths taken in connection therewith and the resolution of the BEI in each case and, upon the termination of the voting, certifies that it contains all the challenges made. The original of this record shall be attached to the original copy of Minutes of Voting.

Challenge Against Irregularities of the BEI

Should it become apparent that any member of BEI is committing irregularities, the pollwatcher may file a protest against such member. It is the right of the pollwatcher to ask for a certification of such filing and to have this reflected in the minutes. The pollwatcher also has to be furnished a copy of the resolution of the BEI on the protest.

Procedure in Bringing a Protest or Challenge

1. The pollwatcher shall first manifest orally to the BEI that he/ she is filing a protest or challenge and state his/ her grounds for the action.

2. He or she shall thereafter accomplish the prescribed form for the protest or challenges and submit this to the BEI.

3. The pollwatcher shall then ask the BEI that his/ her protest or challenge be recorded in the Minutes of Voting and Counting.

4. The pollwatcher shall next ask from the BEI a certification of the filing of the protest or challenge.

5. The pollwatcher should thereafter ask for a copy of the resolution of the BEI on the challenge or protest.

Close of Voting

The voting shall end at exactly 3:00P.M. However, if there are still voters within 30 meters from the polling place, they should have their names listed shall be allowed to vote after 3:00P.M. deadline.

After the Voting

After the voting, the BEI chair shall prepare a list showing the number of unused ballots together with their serial numbers.

The pollwatcher should see to it that, as required by law, the list is signed by all the members of the BEI. The purpose is to prevent the use of the unused ballots or the replacement of the used ballots with unused ballots.

After the preparation and signing of the list, all the unused ballots should be torn halfway in the presence of the members of the BEI and the watchers.

Procedure to be Observed in case of Excess Ballots

Before the counting starts, the BEI chair must check whether or not the number of ballots cast is equal to the number of voters in the voting record. If the number of the ballots exceeds the number of the voters on record, the poll clerk, without looking at the ballots, must publicly draw out such number of ballots that is equal to the excess. The ballots drawn out, without being unfolded, must be placed in the official envelope marked “excess ballots.” This envelope shall be sealed and signed by the BEI members and shall be placed in the ballot box’s compartment of valid ballots. Its contents, however, shall not be included in the appreciation of ballots.

DURING THE COUNTING OF BALLOTS

Counting to be Public and Without Interruption

As soon as the voting is finished, the BEI shall publicly count in the polling place the votes cast and ascertain the results. The BEI shall not adjourn, postpone, or delay the count, and shall continue with it until it has been fully completed, unless otherwise ordered by the Comelec.

The Comelec, in the interest of free, orderly, and honest elections, may order the BEI to count the votes and to accomplish the election returns and other forms of prescribed under the Election Code in any other place within a public building in the same municipality or city, provided that the said public building is not located within the perimeter pf or inside a military, police camp, or reservation, or inside a prison compound.

Manner of Counting Votes

1. The BEI shall unfold the ballots and form separate piles of one hundred ballots each, which shall be bundled with rubber bands.

2. The BEI chair shall take the ballots of the first pile one by one and read the names of the candidates voted for and the offices which they were voted in the order that they appear on the ballot.

The chair should assume a position that would enable all of the watchers to clearly read names written on each ballot.

3. The BEI chair shall sign and affix his or her right-hand thumbmark at the back of the ballot immediately after it is counted. The poll clerk, and the third member, respectively, shall record on the election returns and the tally board or sheet each vote as the names voted for each office are read.

4. After finishing the first pile of ballots, the BEI shall determine the total number of votes recorded for each candidate, the sum being noted on the tally board or sheet and on the election returns. In case of discrepancy, such recount as may be necessary shall be made.

5. The first 100 ballots already read and counted shall then be grouped together again.

Thereafter, the same procedure shall be followed with the second pile of ballots and so on successively.

6. After all the ballots have been read, the BEI shall sum up the totals recorded for each candidate, and the aggregate sum shall be recorded both on the tally board or sheet and on the election returns.

7. The BEI shall then place the counted ballots in an envelope provided for the purpose, which shall be closed, signed, and deposited in the compartment for valid ballots. The tally board or sheet as accomplished and certified by the BEI shall not changed or destroyed but shall be kept in the compartment for valid ballots.

AFTER THE COUNTING OF VOTES

After all the valid ballots have been read and all the votes counted, the entry of votes in words and figures in the election returns for each candidate shall be closed with the signature and the clear imprint of the right thumbmark of each member of the BEI.

The pollwatcher should see to it that the signing and affixing of thumbmarks by the members of the BEI are done in full view of the public. The importance of closing the entries in the election returns with signatures and thumbmarks is to prevent the addition of any other entries after the completion of the counting of votes.

All BEI members should then sign and affix their thumbmarks on the portion of the election returns allocated for that purpose.

The Pollwatcher should check that the signatures of the members of the BEI are reflected on the original and the other required six copies of the election returns. The thumbmarks must be affixed on all the copies.

The watchers of six principal political parties can then sign and place their thumbmarks on the proper portion of the election returns. The thumbmarks must be made in all copies, and the signatures must be reflected in all said copies.

Should any of the watchers fail to sign and thumbmark the returns, the reason for such failure should be reflected in the Minutes of Voting ad Counting.

The BEI shall then segregate the Election Returns per copy and fold and seal each copy with a paper seal and put in the proper envelope. The envelope shall again be sealed with a paper seal. Take note of all serial numbers of the envelopes and of the paper seals.

At this point, the watcher should have already filled up the Inventory Sheet with all the necessary entries. Remember that the Inventory Sheet is also an important reference for the watchers and the legal counsel during the canvassing.

Certificate of Votes

It is the right of the watcher to e issued a Certificate of Votes by the BEI. The Certificate of Votes, which should have the signature and the thumbmarks of the BEI members, is a very important document as it contains the number of votes cast for candidates.

The watcher should ask the BEI for the issuance of the Certificate of Votes. Remember that the BEI is required to issue the Certificate only UPON THE REQUEST of the candidate or his or her duly accredited watcher.

The Certificate of Votes is a document with evidentiary value. Its availability to the watchers and the legal counsel at the canvassing center is very important.

The Certificate of Votes is admissible in evidence to prove tampering, alteration, falsification, or any anomaly committed in the election returns concerned when duly authenticated by testimonial or documentary evidence presented to the board of canvassers by at least two members of the BEI who issued the certificate. (Section 17, R.A. No. 6646, The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987)

Also make sure that the Certificate of Votes issued is signed and thumbmarked by all the members of the BEI.

Proclamation of Results

Upon the completion of the election returns, the BEI chair shall orally and publicly announce the total number of votes received by each and every candidate in the election in the polling place.

The law requires that the proclamation of results in the polling by the BEI be made only upon completion of the election returns. The watcher should check if all the entries in the election returns have been completed and that these are true and correct.

After the announcement of the result in the polling place, the BEI is no longer allowed to make an alternation or amendment in any of the copies of the election returns. An alternation may be allowed only if there s an order from the Comelec upon petition by all the members of the BEI.

Closing of the Ballot Box

After the proclamation of results, the BEI shall place the following inside the ballot box:

1. Envelope containing used and counted ballots

2. Minutes of Voting and Counting

There should be two copies of the Minutes of Voting and Counting. Only one should be placed in the ballot box. The other copy is to be submitted by the BEI to the election officer.

3. Election Returns

Only one copy should be placed in the ballot box, particularly in its compartment for valid ballots. The other copies are to be distributed among the dominant majority party, and the rest should be submitted by the BEI to the Election Officer.

4. Tally Sheet

5. Stubs of used pads of official ballots (already placed earlier)

6. Envelope containing the other half of the torn ballots, marked ballots, spoiled ballots, and excess ballots

The should see to it that what are inside the ballot box are only those that are suppose to be placed inside it. Remember that once that ballot box is closed, locked, and sealed, it can no longer be opened unless there is written permission from the Comelec.

Ensure that once the ballot box is closed, this is sealed with plastic seals and locked with three padlocks, and that the keys to the three padlocks are placed securely in the envelopes for them.

After termination of the BEI Proceedings

After the termination of the BEI proceedings, the watcher should ensure that all the documents useful to the legal counsel and the canvassing watchers during the canvass are delivered promptly to the Record Team of the canvassing center. These are the Certificate of Votes, the inventory sheet, certificate of challenges and protests, and copies of the resolutions of the BEI. A folder for these documents is provided in the pollwatching kit.

During the Canvassing of Votes

Before the start of the canvassing of votes, the record team designated by the records and documentation committee should already be at the canvassing center to receive and file in a systematic and organized manner the documents that will be submitted by the watchers or their barangay coordinators.

The Record Team shall have a filing system that would facilitate the immediate availability of the appropriate documents as soon as the election returns from each precinct are called for canvass.

Canvassing Committee

The records tem should take note that the board of canvassers may constitute such number of canvassing committees as may be necessary to complete the canvass within the prescribes period. This means that the election returns from several precincts may be canvassed simultaneously. It is thus necessary that the records team devise an efficient system of quickly making the needed documents available to the watchers assigned to each committee as soon as the returns are called for canvass.

Importance of Documents During the Canvassing

The immediate availability of such documents as the certificate of Votes, the Inventory Sheet, the certificates of challenge and protest, and the resolution of the BEI is vital to the legal counsel and watchers during the canvassing of votes. The inventory sheet will be the watcher’s reference as to serial numbers of the election returns, the plastic seals, the minutes of voting and counting, the number of voters in the precinct, etc. the Certificate of Votes is also useful in determining if an entry in the election returns as the results in the precinct, etc. The Certificate of Votes is also useful in determining if entries in the election returns as to the results in the precinct have been tampered with.

All the successful efforts of the precinct watchers may be put to waste if the votes counted for the candidate in his precincts are not guarded during the canvassing of votes. Note that it is during the canvassing where wholesale cheating, such as dagdag-bawas, is perpetrated. If the watchers and the legal counsel are not armed with the pertinent documents that they can use as bases for verifying the veracity of the entries in the election returns being canvassed and the authenticity of the forms submitted to the Board of Canvassers, they might be unable detect fraud and irregularities. Consequently they may fail to seek the proper legal remedies available at the earliest opportunity.

1. The voter shall approach the BEI chair and shall give his name and address together with other data concerning his person. In case any member of the BEI doubts the identity of the voter, the board shall check the voter’s identification card or, if he or she does not have any, the board shall refer to his photograph and signature in the voter’s application for registration.

2. If BEI is satisfied with the identity of the voter, the BEI shall announce his or her name in a manner loud enough to be heard throughout the polling place. If no challenge is raised against the voter or if a challenge has been decided in his or her favor, the voter shall be allowed to sign on the proper space on the Voter’s Registration Record (VRR) and shall be given a ballot. But before the ballot is given to the voter, the BEI chair must first enter in the VRR the serial number of the ballot to be given to the voter.

No other person except the BEI chairperson shall give official ballots to the voters and no more than one (1) ballot shall be given out at any one time.

3. The vote shall then accomplish the ballot in the area designated for accomplishing ballots and using a Ballot Secrecy Folder.

4. After accomplishing the ballot, the voter should return the ballot to the BEI folded in the same manner as it was received.

5. The voter shall then affix his or her thumbmark o the lower detachable portion of the ballot.

6. The Chair, upon receiving the ballot returned by the voter, should check if its serial number matches the serial number entered earlier in the VRR.

The watcher should always keep an eye on this procedure. If the BEI does not verify the serial number of the ballot returned by the voter, to use of spurious ballots may not be detected. Should the BEI forget to check the serial number, the watcher should call its attention to lapse.

7. The voter shall then sign and affix his or her thumbmark on the proper space at the back of his or her VRR.

8. The ballot’s detachable coupon shall then be detached and dropped in the ballot box’s compartment for spoiled ballots.

9. The voter shall then drop his or her ballot box’s compartment for valid ballots.

10. After voting, the voter should immediately leave the polling place.

Illiterate and Disabled Voters

Illiterate or disabled voters may be assisted by a relative within the fourth civil degree or any member of the BEI. This is an exception to the rule that no voter may accomplish a ballot for and in behalf of another voter.

Not every voter representing to be illiterate or disabled may be allowed to vote with assistance from those mentioned above. Only those recorded in the VRR as illiterate or disabled voters shall be assisted.

An assistor of an illiterate or disabled voter should not be allowed to assist unless he or she takes an oath that he or she shall accomplish the ballot strictly in accordance with the instruction of the voter and that he or she shall not disclose the same.

Such oath shall be reflected at the back of the Minutes of Voting.

Except for the members of the BEI, any one assistor can assist only a maximum of three (3) illiterate or disabled voters.

Every registered political party or coalition of political parties and every independent candidate is each entitled to two watchers, to serve alternately, in every polling place. However, the candidates for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panglunsod, or Sangguniang Bayan who belong to the same slate or ticket are entitled to only one watcher.

Minimum Qualifications of Pollwatchers

Official watchers appointed to a polling place must be:

1. A qualified voter of the city or municipality;

2. Of good reputation and shall not have been convicted by final judgment of any election offense or of any other crime;

3. Must know how to read and write Pilipino, English, Spanish or any of the prevailing local dialects; and

4. Without relation within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to the chairman or any member of the board of election inspectors in the polling place where he/ she seeks appointment as a watcher.

Appointment and Assignment of Pollwatchers

Note that aside from the minimum qualifications prescribed by law for a watcher, his or her familiarity with the voters in the precinct where he or she may be assigned is also important. While the law does not require a watcher to be a registered voter of the barangay where he or she may serve, it is crucial that he/ she is assigned to as barangay where he/ she is actually a resident for the following reasons:

1. The watcher can efficiently review the Certified Voters List and identity discrepancies in it such as the retention of names of deceased persons, voters who have long transferred residence and have already registered in other precincts, and those suffering from certain disqualifications.

2. The watcher’s familiarity with the residents of the barangay puts him or her in a better position to detect and challenge illegal voters who may offer to vote but are not registered there, using the name of another person, or suffering from certain disqualifications.

3. The watcher’s proximity to the polling place where he or she is assigned is important as he or she has to be at the polling place on election day before the Board on Election Inspectors (BEI) meets at 6:00A.M.

Rights and Duties of Watchers

The official watchers shall have the right:

1. To stay in the space reserved for them inside the polling place;

2. To witness and inform themselves of the proceedings of the board of election inspectors, including its proceedings during the registration of voters;

3. To take notes of what they may see or hear, to take photographs of the proceedings and any significant incident during the counting of votes, as well as of election returns, tally boards, and ballot boxes;

4. To file a protest against any irregularity or violation of law that they believe may have been committed by the Board of Election Inspectors or by of its members or by any other person or persons;

5. To obtain from the Board of Election Inspectors a certificate as to the filing of such protest and/ or of the resolution thereon;

6. To read the ballots after these have been read by the chairman, as well as the election returns after these have been completed and signed by the members of the board of Election inspectors, although watchers shall refrain from touching ballots and election returns, and are not to speak to any BEI member, or to any voter or among themselves in a manner that would distract the proceedings; and

7. To be furnished with a certificate of the number of votes in words and figures cast for each candidate, duly signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and all the members of the Board of Election Inspectors.

The following are the duties of watchers:

1. To deliver and present to the chairman of the board of Election Inspectors their appointment papers;

2. To affix their signatures and thumbmarks on the election returns for the precinct where they where assigned;

3. To refrain from speaking to any member of the board of Election Inspectors, or to any voter, or among themselves, in a manner that would distract the proceedings.

Born May 13, 1940
up to present Lawyer, Advocates for Constitutional Supremacy (Marcos loyalists)
up to present Counsel of Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang “Commander Robot”, private practice Originally Posted at iVote

Oliver Ocol Lozano is a lawyer based in Quezon City. He filed an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005 which was dismissed by the Supreme Court. He recently filed an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez for “grave abuse of discretion amounting to betrayal of public trust” for clearing Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos and other election officials in the failed P1.3 billion Mega Pacific poll automation deal.

He wants to seize all the Marcoses’ wealth. . He won’t

Melchor G. Chavez is a journalist from Quezon City. He ran for senate in the 2001 national elections but did not succeed. He again filed for candidacy for the same post in 2004 but later withdrew from the race.

Originally Posted at Votester 2007

Born February 01, 1946

High School Attended:

Jose Abad Santos High School

Other Occupation(s):
singer/actor

Originally Posted at iVote

Victor Wood is an iconic singer who built a name for himself in Philippine pop culture in the 1970s. Before venturing into the music industry, he was an actor in productions by movie outfit Sampaguita Pictures.

He thinks he has a chance to break in the senate . . This is his dream . . It still will be . .

Originally Posted Votester 2007

Born May 13, 1940
up to present Lawyer, Advocates for Constitutional Supremacy (Marcos loyalists)
up to present Counsel of Abu Sayyaf leader Ghalib Andang “Commander Robot”, private practice
Originally Posted at iVote

Oliver Ocol Lozano is a lawyer based in Quezon City. He filed an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2005 which was dismissed by the Supreme Court. He recently filed an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez for “grave abuse of discretion amounting to betrayal of public trust” for clearing Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos and other election officials in the failed P1.3 billion Mega Pacific poll automation deal.

He wants to seize all the Marcoses’ wealth. . He won’t.

Originally Posted at Votester 2007

Y! POWER

This campaign is initiated by Student Leaders Forum (SLF), Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas (KALIPI), National Students League (NSL), and Center for Liberal Leadership (CLL)
September 2017
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COMELEC Schedule

January 15, 2007 - Start of filing for Senatorial and Local Candidates --------------------------------------- February 12, 2007 - Deadline of filing for Senatorial Candidates --------------------------------------- February 13, 2007 - Start of Campaign for Senatorial Candidates --------------------------------------- March 29, 2007 - Deadline of filing for Local Candidates --------------------------------------- March 30, 2007 - Start of Campaign for Local Candidates --------------------------------------- May 14, 2007 - Election ---------------------------------------

Organizations Behind

Kabataang Liberal ng Pilipinas --------------------------------------- Center for Liberal Leadership --------------------------------------- Student's Leader Forum --------------------------------------- National Student's League ---------------------------------------

Bloggers

Concept and Project Director: Eric D. Caliboso --------------------------------------- Blog Master: Arlene C. Concepcion / Ivy Ganadillo --------------------------------------- Graphic Designer: Franz Robert dela Vega --------------------------------------- Writers: Reymundo de Guzman, Nysa Tolentino, Joenel Nudo, Shiella Poblete, Bless Alvero, Julie Turqueza, Rachel Bersamera, Francis Urduna, Kare Bernardo, Ace Gomez, Maricris Lorenzo, Fidel Esteban, Agape, Ivy Ganadillo, Alex Sevilla, Cecille Anyayahan, Mel Salise, Carla Vicente, Kathrina Manuel, Mark Anthony de Leon, Lawrence Villamar, RJ Rocks, Analyn Lopez, Donna Babadilla, Jhaecii Fajardo, Claudette Tolentino and Rob Ramos --------------------------------------- Spokesperson: Jan-Argy Y. Tolentino - (+63) 0917-526-2749 --------------------------------------- Contact Numbers: --------------------------------------- Smart No.: +63920 8213221 Globe No.: +63915 3152451 --------------------------------------- Landline Nos.: 7157040, 7158505 local 806 ---------------------------------------