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#PHVote: ‘Philippines, we have your data’

MANILA, Philippines – The final debate is done. Local alliances continue to break apart. And our voter data has been compromised.

As the nation entered the last two weeks of the campaign period for the May 9 elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was attacked online with the setting up of a new site that lets anyone search for names listed in the poll body’s voter registration data. The site, named “Philippines, we have your data,” spread on social media on April 21 but has since been taken down. Hackers were able to access voter registration records though the Comelec website on March 27. 

The data breach is prompting various groups to consider filing cases against Comelec officials, citing betrayal of public trust.

This, on top of the massive preparations that the poll body is burdened with as election day draws near.

On Monday, April 25, Rappler learned that two Comelec officials are opposing the proposal of Comelec boss Andres Bautista to turn some malls into voting precincts. An election watchdog is also wary about the legal implications of such a plan.

Beeline to Iglesia ni Cristo

COURTESY CALL. Vice President Jejomar Binay with INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo on April 21. Screengrab from Eagle News

COURTESY CALL. Vice President Jejomar Binay with INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo on April 21.

Screengrab from Eagle News

Presidential candidates spent the last week calling on key support groups, among them the bloc-voting Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

Previously mum about its meetings with candidates, the INC publicized on its own website the visits made by presidential candidates to Iglesia leader Eduardo Manalo.

Survey front runner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte met with Manalo and other INC leaders on Friday, April 22.

A day before that, April 21, it was Vice President Jejomar Binay’s turn to see Manalo. Two days prior, former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and wife Korina Sanchez met with the INC leader, too. Senator Grace Poe earlier met with the INC’s political affairs chief Eraño Codera.

These visits indicate the candidates’ sense that despite internal troubles and squabbles within the religious organization, the Iglesia remains a formidable voting bloc come election day.

Known to vote according to its leaders’ say-so, 1.37 million voters belong to the INC. They make up 2.4% of the 55 million voting population. The last 3 presidential candidates the INC endorsed – Benigno Aquino III, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Joseph Estrada – all won the elections.

But other INC members who have left the church in a bitter split doubts the power that Iglesia can still wield on election day, saying INC is already deeply divided.

Robredo rises to No 1

As Duterte continues to surge in the surveys, the slow climb of administration vice presidential bet Leni Robredo has put her on top of the polls, based on the latest Social Weather Stations survey released on Monday, April 25.

Jumping 7 percentage points from the last SWS survey two weeks ago, Robredo is now tied with Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr for the top spot.

The survey was held after the two vice presidential debates on April 10 and April 17.  In the first debate, all vice presidential hopefuls were present, while Marcos and Gregorio Honasan were absent in the ABS-CBN-organized face-off.

The same survey was conducted from April 18 to 20, after Duterte’s controversial rape remark went viral. The Davao mayor still gained 6 percentage points, putting him at 33%.

Final showdown

Philippine Game of Thrones 2016

All 5 presidential candidates faced off for the last time on Sunday, April 24, in Pangasinan, home to at least 1.7 million voters. Will their performance help the 4-5% undecided voters? 

Topics tackled at the debate ranged from our maritime dispute with China, to the contractualization of jobs, to peace in Mindanao.

The 3rd most vote-rich province, Pangasinan has some interesting voting history. Two of the current presidential candidates once topped elections there in 2010 and 2013, respectively. While he lost the vice presidency in 2010, Roxas received the most number of votes in Pangasinan, a total of 517, 563 votes. Poe, who ran for the Senate in 2013, also topped the race in Pangasinan, garnering 1,311,540 votes.

How will the province vote this time around?

The ruling Liberal Party is banking on Pangasinan to deliver its much-needed votes for Roxas. But the party has also begun losing allies, led by the party's Albay provincial chairman, Governor Joey Salceda, who over the weekend switched sides to support Poe. In Cagayan de Oro, the LP congressional candidate in the city's first district has abandoned Roxas and Robredo for Poe and Marcos.

Alunan wins Rappler senatorial debate

Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III won the netizens’ favor during the the last leg of the Rappler Senatorial Debate series held at the FEU Institute of Technology on April 22. Alunan was the top bet of 51.85% of the netizens who participated in Rappler's online poll.

Six senatorial candidates faced off during the debate: Alunan, Dante Liban, Allan Montaño, Susan Ople, Samuel Pagdilao, and Diosdado Valeroso. Missed the debate? Watch it: Rappler senatorial debate at FEU. – Rappler.com

Read previous #PHVote weekly wrap stories:

 

Glenda M. Gloria

Glenda Gloria is the managing editor of Rappler and one of its co-founders. A journalist for three decades now, Glenda has been a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and wire agencies, and has run print, online, and TV newsrooms. She is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Class 2018 .

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