MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) accredited two election watchdogs as the citizens’ arms of the poll body for the May 14, 2018, barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
In an excerpt of the minutes of its April 23 special en banc meeting, Comelec adopted a memorandum of Commissioner Luie Tito Guia recommending that the poll body consider the requests of the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) to serve as citizens’ arms.
Namfrel and PPCRV had served as the citizen’s arms of Comelec in past national and local elections.
Guia said that when the polls were rescheduled from October 2017 to May 2018, Comelec adopted related issuances, including Resolution Number 10211, which set the rules for accreditation of citizens’ arms that served in the 2016 polls.
“Unfortunately, it appears that the 9 October 2017 deadline for previously accredited citizens’ arms to submit their manifestation of intent was not adjusted,” explained Guia.
Guia noted that PPCRV sought accreditation through a petition citing a relevant provision in the Comelec Rules of Procedure, while Namfrel filed its manifestation of intent through a letter.
The commissioner then recommended that these requests “be treated as their manifestations of intent to discharge the duties of an accredited citizens’ arm of the Commission.”
“Having them as our citizens’ arm is consistent with our vision to forge stronger partnership with election stakeholders,” continued Guia.
The Comelec en banc agreed, and extended the deadline to accommodate the two manifestations, adding that both PPCRV and Namfrel “have contributed to the conduct of honest, orderly, peaceful elections as such citizens’ arm.”
“Their continuous accreditation shall follow the same duties and responsibilities as provided under their accreditation during the 2016 national and local elections, insofar as it is applicable to the May 14, 2018 [barangay and SK] elections,” Comelec said.
As citizens’ arms, PPCRV and Namfrel will serve as watchers in polling precincts, assist voters on election day, and help Comelec in its information and voter education drives.
In return, Comelec will provide both groups with copies of computerized voters’ list and the project of precincts, as well as a copy of the election returns after the counting and canvassing of votes. – Rappler.com