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APRIL 28, 1998

 

COMELEC PREDICTS FAILURE OF ELECTIONS

The Commission on Elections is expecting a failure of elections in many parts of the country, particularly in Mindanao , owing to the volatile peace and order situation. Commissioner Manolo Gorospe said such a failure may lead to a delay of the proclamation of national and local candidates, including that of the President. His statement came on the heels of the Comelec reports identifying Central and Northern Mindanao as the most violence-prone areas in the country during the May elections. Opposition parties have also warned of terrorism and massive election fraud in the elections. Gorospe’s remarks followed a threat made by the leftist hit-squad Alex Boncayao Brigade that it will liquidate people involved in cheating, including top Comelec officials if they sanction such fraud. (TODAY)

PRIVATE ARMIES WORRY DILG

The Interior Department, expressing fears that politician’s private armies may spawn chaos in the coming elections, yesterday said it is deploying additional National Police forces in Mindanao. Interior Secretary Epimaco Velasco said "deployment of personnel is already going on in areas identified as hot spots." He identified the provinces of Basilan, Laguna and some parts of Eastern Visayas and Southern Tagalog regions as potential areas of violence. In line with this, he said: "We are also pushing for the full implementation of the gun ban, and the reduction of private armies of politicians." (TODAY)

COMELEC DROPS PETITION VS LIM

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed yesterday a petition for disqualification against Liberal Party presidential candidate Alfredo S. Lim filed by a lawyer who alleged that he (Lim) is not a natural-born Filipino citizen. Comelec Chairman Bernardo Pardo said the Comelec’s second division, voting 2-1, dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction. Commissioners Japal M. Guiani and Amado M. Calderon, both former judges of regional trial courts, voted to dismiss the petition, while Commissioner Julio M. Desamito, a career Comelec official, dissented. The six-page resolution in favor of Lim caused jubilation among his supporters all over the country. They said that although the resolution could be a subject of a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec en banc or still appealable to the Supreme Court, the legal victory could be decisive because a motion for reconsideration of appeal to the Supreme Court may no longer be decided before the May 11 elections. (MANILA BULLETIN)

LAKAS USE OF JIL RALLY VIOLATED ELECTION LAW (?)

The ruling Lakas-NUCD may have violated election rules when it converted a televised prayer rally last Sunday into a campaign extravaganza for its standard-bearer Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. This was disclosed yesterday by a senior official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) who cited Section 86 of the Omnibus Election Code which mandates the poll body to regulate election propaganda through mass media. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said that what Lakas did during the prayer rally sponsored by the Jesus is Lord (JIL) movement was "tantamount to illegal campaigning" since the party failed to seek permission from the Comelec for the event. "To make matters worse, nagkaroon pa ng endorsement [there was even an endorsement], " lamented the official. The source said Lakas may have also breached Section 18-E of Comelec Resolution 2974 issued last Jan. 19 which prohibits "any radio, broadcast and TV stations or any person" from selling or "giving free of charge any airtime for political purposes except those allotted by the Comelec under the Comelec hour." (THE MANILA TIMES)

REPORMA WANTS EQUAL TIME ON PTV-4

If Joe can have it, then Rene must have it, too. Opposition party Reporma-Lapiang Manggagawa wants equal time for its standard bearer, former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, in the government-run People’s Television Network (PTV-4), which broadcast live on Sunday a religious rally at the Rizal Park openly endorsing the candidacy of Speaker Jose de Venecia. The opposition scored the live coverage while the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wanted to know if De Venecia’s endorsement by a religious group violated election rules. Reporma spokesperson Danny Gozo said PTV’s broadcast of the Jesus is Lord (JIL) Movement rally has placed the network into a difficult situation. "Now PTV is obligated to air similar programs from other parties and religious groups. Otherwise it may be accused of violating the Omnibus Election Code which guarantees equal media access to all candidate," Gozo said. "In effect, the Catholic Church or the Iglesia ni Kristo or even the El Shaddai can also request PTV to air any of their rallies and the station cannot turn them down," Gozo added. (THE PHILIPPINE STAR)

LAKAS OKs PACTS FOR HOPE WITH 10 BETS

The ruling Lakas-NUCD-UMDP-Kampi coalition agreed yesterday to sign a covenant with the 10 other political camps to uphold the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections or HOPE on May 11. In a meeting at the Manila Hotel, Lakas-Kampi national campaign manager Cesar Sarino and deputy secretary general Rey Maclang conveyed to National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections chairman Jose Concepcion Jr. the ruling party’s willingness to sign and abode by the provisions of the pact. Namfrel, the official election watchdog group, is spearheading the forging of the agreement. Concepcion said the candidates will be asked to swear that they will not try to undermine the outcome of elections through fraud, intimidation or vote-buying. He said the signatories will be made to accept the sovereign will of the people. (THE PHILIPPINE STAR)

 

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