Comelec withdraws extended liquor ban; will no longer contest SC's TRO
QUEZON CITY, May 9 -- Chairman Sixto Brilliantes can now have his favorite drinks for three more days.
This is what the chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said in jest as he announced to media Thursday that Comelec is withdrawing its minute resolution (Comelec Minute Resolution No. 13-0322) on the extended liquor ban.
Brilliantes made the announcement at the turn-over ceremony of the source code for the 2013 National and Local Elections held at the Comelec Headquarters.
The Supreme Court (SC) issued on Wednesday a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the five-day liquor ban effectively cutting down the ban into two days.
The TRO was granted to petitioners Food and Beverage Inc. and International Wines and Spirits Association who claimed that the poll body failed to hold public hearings on the extended liquor ban that will severely affect their industries.
The two petitioners also said Comelec has over-exercised its rights in rule making by changing certain parts of the Omnibus Election Code.
Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibited “any person who sells, furnishes, offers, buys, serves or takes intoxicating liquor on the days fixed by law for the registration of voters in the polling place, or on the day before the election or on election day.”
Violation of the ban carries a maximum penalty of 6 years imprisonment.
Brilliantes added that the ban was extended based on the suggestion of Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino to have a two-month ban.
The commission granted only five days.
Based on the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, the selling and buying of alcoholic beverages is prohibited from 12 midnight of May 12 up to 11:59 pm of May 13.
Drinking alcoholic beverages within polling places is likewise prohibited.
But it's not going be a two thirsty days for people who love drinking.
Drinking within private properties is allowed.
Foreigners can order their hard drinks in hotels and establishments certified by the Department of Tourism that have liqour ban exemptions from Comelec.
For more information on the liquor ban, check out the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines at http://bit.ly/16bdlKH (Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan).
Comelec issues list of disqualified partylist groups
QUEZON CITY, May 8 -- Have you decided which party-list group you going to vote for?
Make sure your vote will not go to waste by knowing whether the party-list of your choice has the green-light to run in the elections.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will not count votes for partylist groups that were disqualified.
Partylist groups maybe representing marginalized or underrepresented national, regional and sectoral parties, or organizations or coalitions that are registered with Comelec.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes released via twitter a list of approved and cancelled partylists ( tl.gd/n_1rk551d) based on the Supreme Court (SC)’s new "Six-Point Parameters" as held in Atong Paglaum vs. COMELEC.
Belonging to the approved lists are (1)1 CARE; (2) BAYANI; (3) AAMA; (4) AKMA-PTM; (5) AKB; (6) AANI; (7)UNIMAD; (8) ALIM; (9) FIRM 24-K; (10) ARAL; (11)BUTIL; (12) ABROAD; (13) 1BRO PGBI; (14) ARC; (15) 1GANAP; (16) ABLESSED; (17) ABP; (18) ARARO; (19) APEC; (20) AKO BAHAY; (21) AGRI; (22) AANGAT TAYO; (23) GREEN FORCE; and (24) KAKUSA.
These partylist groups were initially disqualified by the commission but filed petitions to SC seeking to reverse the poll body‘s earlier decision on their accreditation.
The high court remanded the cases to Comelec to review the qualifications of the petitioners.
The accreditation of Kaagapay ng Nagkakaisang Agilang Pilipinong Magsasaka (KAP) was not cancelled but was disallowed to join the elections.
For the rest of the partylist groups with approved accreditations, check out the Comelec website.
On the hand, the following partylists groups’ accreditations were cancelled: (1) A-IPRA; (2) ABANG-LINGKOD; (3) ANAD; (4) ANG GALING PINOY; (5) ATONG PAGLAUM; (6) SENIOR CITIZENS; (7) SMART; (8) 1st KABAGIS; (9) BANTAY; (10) COCOFED and (11) BINHI.
Comelec is set to hold hearings for the accreditations of PAC-YAW, 1-UTAK and PASANG MASDA. (Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan).
DOH-NCR holds space spraying, misting vs dengue in MM polling places
QUEZON CITY, May 8 -- The Department of Health on Wednesday conducted space spraying and misting of polling centers in Metro Manila.
“We are targeting schools in time for the coming May 13 elections and the opening of classes in June. This way we can provide immediate protection for voters, teachers and students who will be casting their votes and going to schools for enrolment," Health National Capital Region Director Eduardo C. Janairo Jr. said.
"We do not want to provide any avenue for dengue carrying mosquitoes to thrive and multiply. All areas that we know to be a mosquito zone will be stirred up, sprayed and breeding places will be seek out and destroyed,”DOH National Capital Region reported that there are 2,480 dengue cases in Metro Manila from January 1 – April 27, 2013 with most cases from the cities of Quezon (489), Manila (396) and Caloocan (272).
The DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) reported seven deaths.
Most of the victims were from ages 1 month to 77 years old and most (43%) of those affected were 15 - 49 years age-group.
Majority (53%) of the cases were males.
Although the figures are 62% lower compared to the same period last year, Director Janairo said the DOH will continue its anti-dengue activities such as space spraying in barangays identified with dengue cases and clean-up activities in junk shops, garbage dumps will be done in coordination with the local government unit concerned.
“The DOH-NCR is also on 24/7 duty accepting and processing reports from individuals and health officials regarding suspected dengue cases in their community. I encourage residents to do their share and support our government efforts to eliminate dengue by reporting suspected cases. And if a family member has a fever, bring the patient to the nearest health facility for evaluation,” Dr. Janairo said. (DOH-NCR Press Release/Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan)
Comelec satisfied with on-going FTS, guarantees extra PCOS machines for emergencies
QUEZON CITY, May 8 (PIA) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured anew that there are enough precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the 2013 National and Local Elections.
In a radio interview, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes said the commission has around 3,000 PCOS machines ready for deployment to replace machines that will malfunction on Election Day just in case the need arises.
Chairman Brilliantes admitted there were glitches but he said these were very few and most of the PCOS machines performed as expected in the final testing and sealing (FTS).
FTS, which started last week, is the last step of preparations before the elections. This was done to check whether the results of the test ballots will tally with the election returns.
FTS also will also test the transmission of the election results before sealing the PCOS machines.
So far, Chairman Brilliantes was satisfied with feedback coming from the field.
Even reports from Media ng Bayan, comprising the PIA Information Centers (PIA), the Philippine Broadcasting Network-Radyo ng Bayan (DZRB) and the Philippines News Agency (PNA), complemented Comelec claims of successful FTS in provinces.
Some examples of successful FTS were in Caraga, Pangasinan, Bicol Region and Davao Region.
For instance, PBS-Davao reported Tuesday that out of the 3,000 plus PCOS machines sent to Davao region, only six units had faltered.
Comelec Regional Director Wilfred Jay Balisado said they have time to send the machines back to Manila for repairs.
FTS will continue for the rest of Mindanao and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Wednesday, May 8 and on Friday, May 10.
Hacking PCOS machines not possible
Brilliantes dared critics to show evidence that the PCOS machine can be tampered.
To manipulate a single machine, he said fraud operators will need months of preparation with the unit in their possession and a huge network that would include teachers and comelec staff to conspire with anyone who are interested in rigging the elections.
During the 2010 Presidential Elections, the chairman recalled, not a single protest has proven that the PCOS machines can transfert votes for a certain candidate to another.
The trick is in the shading
Some field reports included incidents of uncounted test votes, but Comelec officials said the problem could be traced to incomplete shading of ovals in the ballot.
In a TV program, Leo Lim of the Comelec-Education and Information Division demonstrated that even Xs can be counted for as long as these marks has covered the whole oval.
Over-shading, likewise, is also acceptable to PCOS machines because it doesn't distinguish the fully shaded ovals from ovals with Xs.
In previous meetings, Chairman Brilliantes said the comission has lowered the threshold of oval shading so even the lightly but completely filled-up ovals can still be counted.
What will not be credited, Lim said, are double shading (or over-voting) for choices that requires only one vote for every oval.
He believed that these double shadings could be one of the reasons for mismatched ballots and election returns.
A ballot is "photographed" (or scanned in computer techspeak) once it is fed into the PCOS machine: the image taken will be stored in Compact Flash (CF) Cards.
Similar to a memory card, the CF card has a back-up card: both can be taken off and delivered to the next venue of canvassing (municipal or capitol) only in cases of failed transmissions of election results.
These cards are tightly sealed and its contents can be printed before the polling takes place to ensure that it has no pre-election data that may affect the results and the credibility of the elections as a whole. (Lyndon Plantilla/Media ng Bayan)