Philippines Report

Philippines general election, 2016 – Elections Time Table

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_number_counter admin_label=”Number Counter” title=”General Elections Progress” number=”80″ percent_sign=”on” counter_color=”#e00b00″ background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_number_counter][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”” alt=”General Elections Time Table ” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”on” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#e00b00″ border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_accordion admin_label=”Accordion” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” closed_toggle_background_color=”#8300e9″ closed_toggle_text_color=”#ffffff”]

[et_pb_accordion_item title=”Commission on Elections membership”]



On May 4, 2015, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Presidential Commission on Good Government chairman Andres D. Bautista as chairman, and former Commission on Audit member Rowena Ganzon and Bangsamoro Business Club's board chairman Sherif Abas as commissioners. Bautista replaced Sixto Brillantes, while Guanzon and Abbas replaced Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, who all retired in February 2015. All appointees will serve until February 2022.

A few days after the announcement, it was revealed that Abas is a nephew of Mohagher Iqbal, the chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Bautista said the Abas confirmed to him that the latter is Iqbal's nephew. Iqbal neither confirmed nor denied their relationship, calling it is a non-issue, and that there's nothing wrong if he's nephew is appointed to a sensitive position

Bautista was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on September 21; meanwhile, Abas' confirmation was deferred because Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who was not present when Bautista was confirmed, still had questions to ask Abas.

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Voter registration”]

The commission started voter registration for the elections on May 6, 2014 to October 31, 2015. Under the law, the 9.6 million registered voters who do not have biometrics attached their registration will not be allowed to vote.[5] Voter registration was suspended from October 12 to 16 to give way to the filing of candidacies. From October 17 to 31, the commission would extend its hours up to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate last minute registrants.

Voter registration was suspended in Puerto Princesa from April 20 to May 17, 2015 because the 2015 mayoral recall election. The Voters' Registration Act prohibits voter registration during recall elections.

In June 2015, the commission denied reports that some voters' biometrics were lost saying that they were only “degraded,” and that “two thousand” voters would have to have their biometrics taken again. A month later, the commission opened booths in Metro Manila and Luzon to further registration. By that time, there were still 4.3 million voters with incomplete biometrics.  The commission, seeing the successful turnout for registration at the malls, mulled holding the elections itself inside such malls. The commission's en banc had already approved “in principle” the mall voting process. Near the end of the month, the commission said that the number of voters without biometrics has decreased to 3.8 million.

By mid-August, the commission announced that they had purged 1.3 million records from the voters' list, including the deceased and voters who did not vote in the two immediate preceding elections, the 2013 general and 2013 barangay, and that voters without biometrics had fallen to 3.5 million.[13] By August 30, the number of registered voters without biometrics data had fallen to 3.1 million; this was after a Social Weather Stations poll came out that as much as 9.7 million people still had not updated their biometrics yet and could be disenfranchised.[14]

The Commission on Elections concluded the 17-month registration on October 31, and offered no extension, except for voters in Cagayan Valley which was devastated by Typhoon Lando who were given until the next day to finish theirs. This was despite a petition to the Supreme Court by the Kabataan party-list to extend registration until January 8, 2016. Acting on the said petition, the Supreme Court issued a restraining order on the No Bio, No Boto mandatory voters biometrics campaign on December 1.[16] It was later lifted after 16 days.

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The Supreme Court of the Philippines invalidated the 300 million-peso contract between the commission and Smartmatic-TIM for diagnostics and repair of the 80,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in April 2015. The court said that the commission “failed to justify its resort to direct contracting.”

Two months later, the commission conducted a mock election where a “hybrid” system of manual counting and electronic transmission of results was tested out. Gus Lagman, former elections commissioner who is a proponent of the hybrid system, pointed out the system's reliability, as opposed to full automation where the results can be manipulated, and to save money as well.[18] Meanwhile, the commission overturned its self-imposed disqualification of Smartmatic from bidding on counting machines, but said that the company can only proceed with its bidding once they decide on what counting system to use.

Senator Francis Escudero disapproved of the use of the hybrid system, saying “it bring back memories of the Hello Garci controversy”.[20] A few days later, the commission informed the House of Representatives Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms that they had decided not to use the hybrid system. They also limited their options into two: refurbishing 80,000 counting machines and leasing 23,000 more, or lease all machines.

On a House of Representatives committee hearing held on late July, Elections chairman Andres Bautista told lawmakers that the commission had decided to award Smartmatic-TIM a 1.7 billion peso contract to lease 23,000 OMR counting machines. Days later, the commission declared the bidding for the refurbishing 80,000 machines as a failure, after two of the three bidders backed out, while the third was disqualified. The companies that withdrew noted the commission's tight schedule, citing that the project would be unfeasible at that timeline.

On August 13, the commission agreed to lease 94,000 new OMR machines for 7.9 billion pesos, while the old machines used for 2010 and 2013 elections would be used for the 2019 elections.

By September, the commission sought the transfer the site of the construction of the voting machines to Taiwan from China after it received intelligence reports from the military in July that China might sabotage the elections. Smartmatic, the manufacturer of the machines, acquiesced to the request. China, meanwhile, denied any plans of sabotaging the election, calling it “sheer fabrication.” Also, the Smartmatic has bagged the contract worth P500 million for the electronic results transmission services of the voting machines.[26]

The commission partnered with De La Salle University to conduct the source code review starting in October. It was said to be more comprehensive than the 2010 and 2013 reviews, which were done a month and four days before the election, respectively.

The warehouse of the voting machines and the paper bins was moved to the warehouse of bus company Jam Liner in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The commission paid 69 million pesos for renting the warehouse. On March 4, the commission unanimously voted to disallow the issuance of voting receipt to voters, although they allowed onscreen verification, which would last for 15 seconds per voter.

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Debates”]

The Commission on Elections held three debates for presidential candidates–in Mindanao last February 2016, in Visayas last March 2016, and in Luzon last April 2016. A vice-presidential debate was also held in Metro Manila last April 10, 2016.[38]

The commission identified the media entities who had covered the debates: GMA Network (E16: Eleksyon 2016) and Philippine Daily Inquirer (February 21), TV5 (Bilang Pilipino: Boto sa Pagbabago 2016 – English: Count Filipino: Vote for Change 2016) and Philippine Star (March 20), CNN Philippines (The Filipino Votes), Business Mirror, and Rappler(April 10), and ABS-CBN (Halalan 2016: Ipanalo ang Pamilyang Pilipino – English: Election 2016: Winning the Filipino Family) and Manila Bulletin (April 24).[39]

The commission also encourages non-governmental organizations to hold debates for Senate and local positions.

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Bans”]

Gun Ban
The election gun ban was implemented starting from January 9, 2016, the official start of the 90-day election period. Francisco Pobe, regional director of COMELEC-13, also pointed out that the candidate should not bring bodyguards without gun ban exemption. Go Act, a pro-gun group formed by gun owners filed a petition before the Supreme Court to fully stop the implementation of the election gun ban.

[/et_pb_accordion_item][et_pb_accordion_item title=”President and vice president”]

Each voter is entitled to one vote each for the duration of the election. The voter may split his or her ticket. The candidate with the most votes wins the position; there is no run-off election, and the president and vice president may come from different parties. If two or more candidates emerge with an equal and highest number of votes, one of them will be elected by the Senate and the House of Representatives, voting separately.


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