By Manuel T. Cayon & Samuel P. Medenilla, October 26 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY—The election watch group Kontra Daya is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to bare to the public the details of certificates of nomination and certificates of acceptance of nomination of party-list groups.

The group said it deems it necessary to analyze ahead of the 2019 midterm elections the qualifications of the reported 185 party-list groups, particularly the list of nominees and their programs of action, even if the Comelec has announced it would start posting the tentative list of candidates on November 5.

The Comelec has set from October 11 to 17 as the period for certificates of nomination and certificates of acceptance of nomination of party-list groups.

The Comelec should release this information online for all the world to see and scrutinize, the group said, adding that by this move, it would show the Comelec’s “adherence to transparency and accountability.”

Kontra Daya added that doing so “would also help bolster the Comelec’s commitment in making the elections clean and honest.”

Motu propio purge

The Comelec, meanwhile, announced that the purging of the final list of candidates for the 2019 midterm elections is being undertaken motu propio. The Comelec said the move aims to scrutinize further—and if its so warrants —cancel the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) of 95 candidates.

Comelec Spokesman James B. Jimenez said their legal department filed a petition to deny due course against the said political aspirants for committing material misrepresentation in their COCs.

This is in addition to the 78 disqualification cases filed by private individuals before the poll body as of Wednesday.

Jimenez said the cases of the 95 candidates will be raffled to the first or second division of the poll body for processing. He said this usually takes 30 days, but it could take longer depending on the nature of each case.

If the respondents fail to defend themselves in the proceeding, they will be disqualified by the Comelec from participating in the 2019 polls.

“What we will be looking at in assessing the eligibility [of a candidate] is based on the requirementsin the Constitution and the laws. Not if a person is good or bad. As long as they are eligible, they will be allowed to run,” Jimenez said.

The Kontra Daya added that even if there had been news media organizations that already reported on the nominees of some party-list groups, “the media, election monitoring groups and the public could benefit from a more exhaustive information coming from the Comelec itself, particularly if readily accessible from its web site.”

Being transparent with information on party-list groups “is consistent with enhancing the 2019 elections, a promise that was made by Sheriff Abas when he was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments as Comelec chair last May 23,” the group said.

In Mindanao the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had embarked on a road show on federalism, gathering information of various ARMM agencies and media practitioners, as well as the holding of a convention on issues besetting the Maguindanao province.

DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya has assured that federalism “would not undo the developments of the Bangsamoro Organic Law [BOL], but rather would serve as the necessary push and support that the Bangsamoro people need for the autonomy they have been fighting for.”

Secretary Gary Olivar of the Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform said the proposed system—its principles and advantages—vis-à-vis the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the policy direction of President Duterte on shift to federal form of government are consistent with each other. He also urged the participants to take part in the upcoming plebiscite on the BOL.

The ARMM Bureau of Public Information also quoted one professor, Eddie Alih, a member of the Consultative Committee, to review the 1987 Constitution, as saying that while federalism “is not a panacea to all the problems of the Filipino people, it is a step along the way in our journey for better governance and progressive Philippines.”

He said the result of surveys indicating a number of Filipinos did not favor federalism was “because they don’t have a broad and deep idea on federalism that’s why we are doing this information drive to build their understanding toward federalism.”

A convention on federalism was also held last week in Maguindanao.