Press Release
June 9, 2015





"A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency." -Barack Obama

I stand before you today to sponsor and humbly seek your support for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1719, AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE MINIMUM CONTENTS OF A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT OF ELECTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT AND TO CONGRESS BY THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, per Committee Report No. 142, taking into consideration Senate Bill No. 1675.

Mr. President, in our Constitution's Preamble, we implored the aid of Almighty God in order to establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations. To attain this, we need genuine representatives in the Government--leaders that we have elected in true, honest, orderly, and free elections.

Transparency in the manner the elections are conducted is vital to the citizens' trust--for it is only when the people's trust is full can a government truly have the mandate and moral ascendancy to lead. This trust is attained when the people believe that their votes have been counted properly such that the results of the elections yield leaders who truly represent the ideals and aspirations of the people.

To ensure transparency in the conduct of our elections, Article IX-C, Section 2, Paragraph 9 requires the Commission on Elections to submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Although the Comelec has been complying with this provision after every regular election, interested parties, candidates, and researchers still find the basic electoral data contained in the report inadequate.

As Chairperson of your Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation and the Senate Panel's Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System Law, this representation witnessed the stakeholders' clamor for more data and information from the Comelec during the hearings before the said Committees. This representation, in fact, even made numerous requests for Comelec to provide the Committees with additional data to aid the crafting of electoral reform laws, such as data on biometrics registration, precincts with unaccounted votes for 2010 and 2013 elections, details on transmission failure, and canvassing for 2010 and 2013 elections, among others.

Moreover, the people are entitled to know how their money is being spent. In 2013, the Department of Budget Management augmented the Comelec's budget to provide PhP 4.14 Billion to prepare for the 2013 elections. Per Comelec's report, the total actual obligations incurred by the Comelec for the conduct of the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections is Eleven Billion Two Hundred Thirty-Nine Million Two Hundred Seventy-Two Thousand One Hundred Thirty-Six Pesos and Forty-Four Centavos (PhP 11,239,272,136.44). Per 2015 Annual General Appropriations Act, the approved budget for the Preparatory of National and Local Elections total Twelve Billion Six Hundred Forty-Two Million Eight Hundred Eighty Thousand Pesos (PhP 12,642,880,000).

Mr. President, the proposed bill, Senate Bill No. 1719, per Committee Report No. 142, taking into consideration Senate Bill No. 1675, seeks to address the problem at hand and also to inform the voting public how their money was spent by providing for the minimum contents of the comprehensive report to be submitted by Comelec.

At present, the contents of the Report to the President and Congress of the Republic of the Philippines on the Conduct of the 2013 Automated National and Local Elections are the following:

  • Historical/Legal Background of the 2013 National and Local Elections

  • Voter Registration, which includes -

    • Resumption of Voter Registration

    • Voter Registration for Overseas Absentee Voting

    • General Voter Registration in the ARMM

    • Local Absentee Voting

  • Pre-election Activities

    • Pre-election Logic and Acceptance Testing

    • Transmission Testing

    • Mock Elections

    • Final Testing and Sealing

    • Voter Education

    • The Campaign, which includes

  • Election Day Report, which includes

    • Voting

    • Absentee Voting

    • Counting o Electronic Transmission and Canvassing and Consolidation

  • Election Results, which includes

    • Senatorial Elections

    • Party-list Elections

    • The Random Manual Audit

    • NSO Findings

  • The Cost of the Elections

The proposed bill upgrades the contents of the current report by requiring the Comelec to submit the following:

  • a narrative assessment which covers the following data:

    • a complete and concise explanation on the context of the elections conducted and the election calendar;

    • the amendments to and salient features of the election code and other laws governing the conduct of the electoral exercise;

    • the cost of administering the particular political exercise; and

    • other information which the Comelec deems important.

  • Basic electoral data which cover various information -

    • on voters

      • number of registered voters per city/municipality

      • number of voters who actually voted (voter's turnout) per city/municipality

      • number of the Voter's Registration Records used and cancelled

      • number of registered voters for overseas absentee voting

      • number of overseas voters who actually voted

      • number of registered voters for local absentee voting

      • number of registered voters who actually voted under the system of local absentee voting o on precincts,

      • number of precincts that functioned by city/municipality

      • number of precincts newly created for the election under consideration by city/municipality

      • total number of precincts for the election under review by city/municipality

      • name and number of precincts that failed or function by city/municipality, specifying the reasons for the said precincts' failure to function, and the grand total number of precincts nationwide

      • observations on the failure to function of the precincts and the appropriate recommendations o on number of ballots, election returns, ballot boxes, and other accountable forms,

      • number of printed ballots, election returns, and other accountable forms

      • number of ballots, election results, ballot boxes, and all other accountable forms actually used, spoiled, and unused o on candidates,

      • list of all candidates, party affiliation, and their profession

      • number of votes each candidate garnered by type of position

        • for President and Vice-President - the results by province and city in all other regions except the National Capital Region where it is by city and municipality

        • for Senators - the results by province

        • for Members of the House of Representatives - the results by district

        • for Governors, Vice-Governors, and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan - the results by province

        • for Mayors, Vice-Mayors, and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan/Panlungsod - the result by city/municipality or district

      • Amount and source of campaign funds, if already available

    • on election protests, violence, and other election violations and offenses,

      • list and status of election protests filed with regard to the elections being reported

      • number of election-related incidents of violence, offenses, and violations of the election law by provinces and cities for all regions except for NCR where it will be by cities and municipalities

      • on transmission,

        • number of precincts that transmitted the results without issue

        • name and number of precincts that transmitted results with issue and the reasons for the issue on transmission

        • name and number of precincts that failed to transmit results and the reasons for such failure of transmission

        • observation on the issue and failure of transmission and the appropriate recommendations

      • official election results

      • the random manual audit

      • the National Statistics Office findings, and

      • other data which the Comelec deems important

To cope with the modern times, and also for practicality, and since your Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation understands that the statistical data required under the bill are, in fact, voluminous, the bill allows the Comelec to submit such statistical data in digital form stored in a compact disc or other suitable digital storage device, which shall be attached to, and shall form part of, the Comprehensive Comelec Report.

As mentioned earlier, to truly attain the citizens' trust, it is crucial that we can provide transparency in the conduct of our elections. To take transparency one step further, the bill requires accessibility of the Comprehensive Comelec Report to the people by lodging a copy thereof with the University of the Philippines Law Center. The report shall likewise be posted on the official website of the Comelec.

In addition, the bill requires Comelec to also post in its website the official results of the election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall until the official results of the immediately succeeding election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall are released.

When the citizenry is provided with transparency, they become armed with a weapon against the dishonest and corrupt officials whose aim is to defraud or manipulate elections.

This representation asks you, Mr. President, my dear colleagues, to protect and arm the citizenry by approving this bill.

Thank you very much.

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