The senator says the petitioners against the RH law have no legal standing to question it
MANILA, Philippines - Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Christian Monsod on Tuesday, November 6 received the 2012 Joe C. Baxter Award from the US-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Washington D.C. for his efforts to reform the Philippine electoral system.
The program did not only coincide with IFES' US Election Program with the whole world awaiting who will be the next American president, it also marked the organization's 25th anniversary.
In his acceptance speech, Monsod, who is also the founder and honorary chairman of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) and a pioneer of the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), gave tribute to the "spirit of volunteerism" that continues to be "the moving force" for change in the county.
"In the battle for change, legal activism and intelligent advocacy are more effective than sloganeering and street action. Hence, the continuing dialogue with the Comelec on electoral reforms, and civil society’s support for the Comelec’s efforts to overhaul the seriously flawed implementation of the party-list system in the House of Representatives," he said.
Monsod also served as Comelec chairman from 1991 to 1995.
Formed in 2007, Lente is a nationwide network of volunteer lawyers, law students and paralegals, that monitors the the canvassing of votes.
Namfrel, formerly accredited by the Comelec as a poll watchdog, played a key role during the 1986 presidential elections, releasing "quick counts" to the public. Poll watchers eventually accused then President Ferdinand Marcos of rigging election results, sparking a people power revolt that catapulted Corazon Aquino to the presidency.
Monsod commended the automation of the Philippines' electoral system but stressed that truly "free, fair and regular elections" can only be held if there is social justice.
"Guns and goons kill in elections. But poverty also kills. It is slow death from hunger, from diseases that we though no longer existed, from the loneliness of a life with an empty future. It is also the 'dying of dignity.'"
The ceremonies were attended by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca, former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Solita Monsod and other officials of the Philippine Embassy.
Cuisia, who also worked with Monsod in Namfrel, commended Monsod's achievement.
“This award is well deserved because I am personally aware of the significant contributions of Chairman Monsod to the Philippine electoral system starting in his days as a NAMFREL volunteer to the time he assumed as Chair of the Comelec,” Cuisia said in a statement.
IFES presents the award annually to a professional committed to the principles of local ownership, transparency and sustainability of electoral administration. - Rappler.com