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PPCRV, Namfrel coordination ‘crucial’ in ensuring clean polls—Comelec

/ 07:23 PM December 21, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—While trying to patch up their differences, the two citizen arms’ assigned by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the upcoming elections will work together to ensure fair and clean polls.

Comelec Chief Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Friday noted that coordination between the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) was essential for the success of next year’s midterm polls.

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“They have to be cooperative, and they have to complement each other,” Brillantes said.

“May background ang Namfrel at PPCRV na hindi nagkasundo nung 2010, but they are trying to patch up the differences,” he added.

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Brillantes noted that they would be promulgating on Saturday the resolution affirming the accreditation of Namfrel, as the poll body was still awaiting the signature of one of its commissioners.

PPCRV, meanwhile, had been formally accredited in November.

Both groups figured in a conflict during the 2010 elections after disagreements over “duplication of duties,” and seeking of copies of election returns. Namfrel filed a petition of accreditation as poll watchdog in 2010 but the poll body junked its petition on the ground that its proposed duties and responsibilities have already been reposed to the PPCRV.

Only the PPCRV served as the poll body’s citizen’s arm during the 2010 elections.

On Friday, PPCRV chair Henrietta De Villa and Namfrel chair Corazon dela Paz-Bernardo both went to the Comelec main office in Intramuros and held a meeting with Brillantes.

In an interview with reporters, De La Paz said that she saw no problems with working with the PPCRV, but that the poll body should clearly delineate their duties and responsibilities so that there would be no “overlapping.”

“I have no problem, we’re in a kissing mode with Tita (de Villa), well I guess problems of the past they should remain in the past, we could learn lessons from those,” De La Paz said.

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De La Paz, a certified public accountant and former chair of the Social Security System, said that though they had not yet come up with the guidelines in dealing with campaign finance, they had been notified by the poll body of their interest to give them the task regarding the matter.

“Because many members of the Namfrel board are public accountants, and IT experts….We have also tried and we have sat down with (members of ) the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to get their support,” De La Paz said.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento had earlier been quoted by reports as saying that the poll body was eyeing Namfrel’s help to monitor campaign finances to ensure that candidates in the 2013 balloting won’t be elected through illicit funds.

Meanwhile, Brillantes noted that PPCRV would still be given priority, given their experience in the 2010 national elections. He, however, hoped that the two would still be working together in the 2016 elections.

“Hopefully by 2016 magsama sila ulit para ok na ang lahat ,” he said.

De Villa, for her part, noted that the 2013 mid-term elections would serve as a “dry run” for the 2016 elections, but that the PPCRV would see to it that all preparations for the two elections, especially for the voters’ education, would be properly implemented.

She added that the group had finished its general instruction for the random manual auditing (RMA) and that it had been approved by the poll body’s en banc.

She said that they would start with training by January, and that they would come up with a manual so that the general instructions would be “institutionalized” and would be used for RMAs in succeeding elections.

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TAGS: 2013 elections, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Election Watchdog, Namfrel, PPCRV
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