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Art. V

1987 Constitution

Sec. 2 (1) The Congress shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad.

(2) The Congress shall also design a procedure for the procedure for the disabled and the illiterates to vote without the assistance of other persons. Until then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules as the Comelec may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

Art. IX (A) Section 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.

Section 2. No member of a Constitutional Commission shall, during his tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall he engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which, in any way, may be affected by the functions of his office, nor shall he be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

Section. 3. The salary of the Chairman and the Commissioners shall be fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure.

Section 4. The Constitutional Commissions shall appoint their officials and employees in accordance with law.

Section 5. The Commission shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

Section 6. Each Commission en banc may promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices. Such rules, however, shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

Section 7. Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members, any case or matter brought before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for decision or resolution. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the rules of the Commission or by the Commission itself. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof.

Section 8. Each Commission shall perform such other functions as may be provided by law.

Art. IX [C]

C. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

Section 1. (1) There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective positions in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

(2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

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Sec. 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.

(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.

(3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.

(4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

(5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens’ arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration.

Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties, organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections, constitute interference in national affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.

(6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

(7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidates.

(8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to, its directive, order, or decision.

(9) Submit to the President and the Congress, a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Section 3. The Commission on Elections may sit en banc or in two divisions, and shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, including pre-proclamation controversies. All such election cases shall be heard and decided in division, provided that motions for reconsideration of decisions shall be decided by the Commission en banc.

Section 4. The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including any government-owned or controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity, time, and space ,and the right to reply, including reasonable, equal rates therefor, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

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Section 5. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted by the President without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.

Section 6. A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of this Article.

Section 7. No votes cast in favor of a political party, organization, or coalition shall be valid, except for those registered under the party-list system as provided in this Constitution.

Section 8. Political parties, or organizations or coalitions registered under the party-list system, shall not be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, or other similar bodies. However, they shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

Section 9. Unless otherwise fixed by the Commission in special cases, the election period shall commence ninety days before the day of election and shall end thirty days thereafter.

Section 10. Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination.

Section 11. Funds certified by the Commission as necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda, and recalls, shall be provided in the regular or special appropriations and, once approved, shall be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of the Commission.

Art. VII

ARTICLE VII THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

Omnibus Election Code

Section 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. - In addition to the powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution, the Commission shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections, and shall:

(a) Exercise direct and immediate supervision and control over national and local officials or employees,

including members of any national or local law enforcement agency and instrumentality of the government required by law to perform duties relative to the conduct of elections. In addition, it may authorize CMT cadets eighteen years of age and above to act as its deputies for the purpose of enforcing its orders.

The Commission may relieve any officer or employee referred to in the preceding paragraph from the performance of his duties relating to electoral processes who violates the election law or fails to comply with its instructions, orders, decisions or rulings, and appoint his substitute. Upon recommendation of the Commission, the corresponding proper authority shall suspend or remove from office any or all of such officers or employees who may, after due process, be found guilty of such violation or failure.

(b) During the period of the campaign and ending thirty days thereafter, when in any area of the country there

are persons committing acts of terrorism to influence people to vote for or against any candidate or political party, the Commission shall have the power to authorize any member or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Integrated National Police or any similar agency or instrumentality of the government, except civilian home defense forces, to act as deputies for the purpose of ensuring the holding of free, orderly and honest elections.

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(c)

Promulgate rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this Code or other laws which the

Commission is required to enforce and administer, and require the payment of legal fees and collect the same

in payment of any business done in the Commission, at rates that it may provide and fix in its rules and regulations.

Rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission to implement the provisions of this Code shall take effect on the sixteenth day after publication in the Official Gazette or in at least daily newspapers of general circulation. Orders and directives issued by the Commission pursuant to said rules and regulations shall be furnished by personal delivery to accredited political parties within forty-eight hours of issuance and shall take effect immediately upon receipt.

In case of conflict between rules, regulations, orders or directives of the Commission in the exercise of its constitutional powers and those issued by any other administrative office or agency of the government concerning the same matter relative to elections, the former shall prevail.

(d) Summon the parties to a controversy pending before it, issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum, and

take testimony in any investigation or hearing before it, and delegate such power to any officer of the Commission who shall be a member of the Philippine Bar. In case of failure of a witness to attend, the Commission, upon proof of service of the subpoena to said witnesses, may issue a warrant to arrest witness and bring him before the Commission or the officer before whom his attendance is required.

Any controversy submitted to the Commission shall, after compliance with the requirements of due process, be immediately heard and decided by it within sixty days from submission thereof. No decision or resolution shall be rendered by the Commission either en banc or by division unless taken up in a formal session properly convened for the purpose.

The Commission may, when necessary, avail of the assistance of any national or local law enforcement agency and/or instrumentality of the government to execute under its direct and immediate supervision any of its final decisions, orders, instructions or rulings.

(e) Punish contempts provided for in the Rules of Court in the same procedure and with the same penalties

provided therein. Any violation of any final and executory decision, order or ruling of the Commission shall

constitute contempt thereof.

(f) Enforce and execute its decisions, directives, orders and instructions which shall have precedence over

those emanating from any other authority, except the Supreme Court and those issued in habeas corpus

proceedings.

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(g)

Prescribe the forms to be used in the election, plebiscite or referendum.

(h)

Procure any supplies, equipment, materials or services needed for the holding of the election by public

bidding: Provided, That, if it finds the requirements of public bidding impractical to observe, then by

negotiations or sealed bids, and in both cases, the accredited parties shall be duly notified.

(i) Prescribe the use or adoption of the latest technological and electronic devices, taking into account the situation prevailing in the area and the funds available for the purpose: Provided, That the Commission shall notify the authorized representatives of accredited political parties and candidates in areas affected by the use or adoption of technological and electronic devices not less than thirty days prior to the effectivity of the use of such devices.

(j) Carry out a continuing and systematic campaign through newspapers of general circulation, radios and other media forms to educate the public and fully inform the electorate about election laws, procedures, decisions, and other matters relative to the work and duties of the Commission and the necessity of clean, free, orderly and honest electoral processes.

(k) Enlist non-partisan group or organizations of citizens from the civic, youth, professional, educational,

business or labor sectors known for their probity, impartiality and integrity with the membership and capability to undertake a coordinated operation and activity to assist it in the implementation of the provisions of this Code and the resolutions, orders and instructions of the Commission for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections in any constituency.

Such groups or organizations shall function under the direct and immediate control and supervision of the Commission and shall perform the following specific functions and duties:

A. Before Election Day:

1. Undertake an information campaign on salient features of this Code and help in the dissemination of the

orders, decisions and resolutions of the Commission relative to the forthcoming election.

2. Wage a registration drive in their respective areas so that all citizens of voting age, not otherwise

disqualified by law may be registered.

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3.

Help cleanse the list of voters of illegal registrants, conduct house-to-house canvass if necessary, and take

the appropriate legal steps towards this end.

4. Report to the Commission violations of the provisions of this Code on the conduct of the political

campaign, election propaganda and electoral expenditures.

B. On Election Day:

1. Exhort all registered voters in their respective areas to go to their polling places and cast their votes.

2. Nominate one watcher for accreditation in each polling place and each place of canvass who shall have the

same duties, functions and rights as the other watchers of political parties and candidates. Members or units of any citizen group or organization so designated by the Commission except its lone duly accredited watcher, shall not be allowed to enter any polling place except to vote, and shall, if they so desire, stay in an area at least fifty meters away from the polling place.

3. Report to the peace authorities and other appropriate agencies all instances of terrorism, intimidation of

voters, and other similar attempts to frustrate the free and orderly casting of votes.

4. Perform such other functions as may be entrusted to such group or organization by the Commission.

The designation of any group or organization made in accordance herewith may be revoked by the Commission upon notice and hearing whenever by its actuations such group or organization has shown partiality to any political party or candidate, or has performed acts in excess or in contravention of the functions and duties herein provided and such others which may be granted by the Commission.

(l) Conduct hearings on controversies pending before it in the cities or provinces upon proper motion of any party, taking into consideration the materiality and number of witnesses to be presented, the situation prevailing in the area and the fund available for the purpose.

(m) Fix other reasonable periods for certain pre-election requirements in order that voters shall not be deprived of their right of suffrage and certain groups of rights granted them in this Code.

Unless indicated in this Code, the Commission is hereby authorized for fix the appropriate period for the various prohibited acts enumerated herein, consistent with the requirements of free, orderly, and honest

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elections.

Section 53. Field offices of the Commission. - The Commission shall have the following field offices:

(1) Regional Election Office, headed by the Regional Election Director and assisted by the Assistant Regional Director and such other subordinate officers or employees as the Commission may appoint.

(2) Provincial Election Office, headed by the Provincial Election Supervisor and assisted by such other subordinate officers or employees as the Commission may appoint.

(3) City/Municipal Election Office, headed by the City/Municipal Registrar who shall be assisted by an election clerk and such other employees as the Commission may appoint.

The Commission may delegate its powers and functions or order the implementation or enforcement of its orders, rulings, or decisions through the heads of its field offices.

Section 54. Qualifications. - Only members of the Philippines Bar shall be eligible for appointment to the position of regional director, assistant regional director, provincial election supervisor and election registrar: Provided, however, That if there are no members of the Philippine Bar available for appointment as election registrar, except in cities and capital towns, graduates of duly recognized schools of law, liberal arts, education or business administration who possess the appropriate civil service eligibility may be appointed to said position.

Section 55. Office space. - The local government concerned shall provide a suitable place for the office of the provincial election supervisor and his staff and the election registrar and his staff: Provided, That in case of failure of the local government concerned to provide such suitable place, the provincial election supervisor or the election registrar, as the case may be, upon prior authority of the Commission and notice to the local government concerned, may lease another place for office and the rentals thereof shall be chargeable to the funds of the local government concerned.

Section 56. Changes in the composition, distribution or assignment of field offices. - The Commission may make changes in the composition, distribution and assignment of field offices, as well as its personnel, whenever the exigencies of the service and the interest of free, orderly, and honest election so require: Provided, That such changes shall be effective and enforceable only for the duration of the election period concerned and shall not affect the tenure of office of the incumbents of positions affected and shall not constitute a demotion, either in rank or salary, nor result in change of status: and Provided, further, That there shall be no changes in the composition, distribution or assignment within thirty days before election, except for cause and after due notice and hearing, and that in no case shall a regional or assistant regional director be assigned to a region; a provincial election supervisor to a province; or a city or municipal election registrar to a city or municipality, where he and/or his spouse are related to any candidate within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity as the case may be.

Section 57. Measures to ensure enforcement. - For the effective enforcement of the provisions of this Code, the Commission is further vested and charged with the following powers, duties and responsibilities:

1. To issue search warrants after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses

2. To stop any illegal election activity, or confiscate, tear down, and stop any unlawful, libelous, misleading or false election

propaganda, after due notice and hearing.

3. To inquire into the financial records of candidates and any organization or group of persons, motu proprio or upon written

representation for probable cause by any candidate or group of

persons or qualified voter, after due notice and hearing.

For purposes of this section, the Commission may avail itself of the assistance of the Commission on Audit, the Central Bank, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Integrated National Police of the Philippines, barangay officials, and other agencies of the government.

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Section 58. Disqualifications of members of the Commission. - The chairman and members of the Commission shall be subject to the canons of judicial ethics in the discharge of their functions.

No chairman or commissioner shall sit in any case in which he has manifested bias or prejudice for or against or antagonism against any party thereto and in connection therewith, or in any case in which he would be disqualified under the Rules of Court. If it be claimed that the chairman or a commissioner is disqualified as above provided, the party objecting to his competency may file his objection in writing with the Commission stating the ground therefor. The official concerned shall continue to participate in the hearing or withdrawn therefrom in accordance with his determination of the question of his disqualification. The decision shall forthwith be made in writing and filed with the other papers of the case in accordance with the Rules of Court. If a disqualification should result in a lack of quorum in the Commission sitting en banc, the Presiding Justice of the Intermediate Appellate Court shall designate a justice of said court to sit in said case for the purpose of hearing and reaching a decision thereon.

Section 59. Publication of official ballots and election returns and printing thereof. - The Commission shall publish at least ten days before an election in a newspaper of general circulation certified data on the number of official ballots and election returns and the names and addresses of the printers and the number printed by each.

OTHER OMNIBUS STUFF

Section 5. Postponement of election. - When for any serious cause such as violence, terrorism, loss or destruction of election paraphernalia or records, force majeure, and other analogous causes of such a nature that the holding of a free, orderly and honest election should become impossible in any political subdivision, the Commission, motu proprio or upon a verified petition by any interested party, and after due notice and hearing, whereby all interested parties are afforded equal opportunity to be heard, shall postpone the election therein to a date which should be reasonably close to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause for such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect.

Section 6 Failure of election. - If, on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed, or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof, such election results in a failure to elect, and in any of such cases the failure or suspension of election would affect the result of the election, the Commission shall, on the basis of a verified petition by any interested party and after due notice and hearing, call for the holding or continuation of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect on a date reasonably close to the date of the election not held, suspended or which resulted in a failure to elect but not later than thirty days after the cessation of the cause of such postponement or suspension of the election or failure to elect.

Section 68. Disqualifications. - Any candidate who, in an action or protest in which he is a party is declared by final decision of a competent court guilty of, or found by the Commission of having (a) given money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions; (b) committed acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy; (c) spent in his election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by this Code; (d) solicited, received or made any contribution prohibited under Sections 89, 95, 96, 97 and 104; or (e) violated any of Sections 80, 83, 85, 86 and 261, paragraphs d, e, k, v, and cc, subparagraph 6, shall be disqualified from continuing as a candidate, or if he has been elected, from holding the office. Any person who is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country shall not be qualified to run for any elective office under this Code, unless said person has waived his status as permanent resident or immigrant of a foreign country in accordance with the residence requirement provided for in the election laws.

Section 69. Nuisance candidates. - The Commission may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.

Section 72. Effects of disqualification cases and priority. - The Commission and the courts shall give

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priority to cases of disqualification by reason of violation of this Act to the end that a final decision shall be rendered not later than seven days before the election in which the disqualification is sought.

Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. Nevertheless, if for any reason, a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an election to be disqualified and he is voted for and receives the winning number of votes in such election, his violation of the provisions of the preceding sections shall not prevent his proclamation and assumption to office.

Section 76. Ministerial duty of receiving and acknowledging receipt. - The Commission, provincial election supervisor, election registrar or officer designated by the Commission or the board of election inspectors under the succeeding section shall have the ministerial duty to receive and acknowledge receipt of the certificate of candidacy.

Section 149. Precincts and their establishment. - The unit of territory for the purpose of voting is the election precinct, and every barangay as of the approval of this Act shall have at least one such precinct.

The Commission shall establish all election precincts.

The precincts actually established in the preceding regular election shall be maintained, but the Commission may introduce such adjustments, changes or new divisions or abolish them, if necessary: Provided, however, That the territory comprising an election precinct shall not be altered or a new precinct established within forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election or a referendum or plebiscite.

Section 150. Arrangements of election precincts. -

(a) Each election precinct shall have, as far as possible not more than three hundred voters and shall comprise, as far as

practicable, contiguous and compact territory.

(b) When it appears that an election precinct contains more than three hundred voters, the Commission shall, in the interest

of orderly election, and in order to facilitate the casting of votes, be authorized to divide a precinct not later than one week after the last day of registration of voters. But the polling place of all the precincts created thereby shall be located in the same building or compound where the polling place of the original precinct is located, and if this be not feasible, in a place as close as possible to the polling place of the original precinct: Provided, however, That the polling place of the new precinct may be located elsewhere upon written petition of the majority of the voters of the new precinct: Provided, further, That when a precinct is divided into two or more precincts, the registered voters shall be included in the precinct wherein they reside. Every case of alteration of a precinct shall be duly published by posting a notice of any change in conspicuous location in the precinct, and in the municipal building or city hall, as the case may be.

(c) A municipality which has been merged with another municipality shall constitute at least one election precinct, if the

distance between the remotest barangay of the merged municipality and the nearest polling place in the municipality to which it has been merged shall, by the shortest road, exceed five kilometers.

(d)

An island or group of islands having one hundred and fifty or more voters shall constitute a precinct.

(e)

Any alteration of the election precincts or the establishment of new ones shall be communicated to the provincial

election supervisor, the provincial superintendent of schools, etc. together with the corresponding maps, which shall be published as prescribed in the next succeeding sections.

Section 153. Designation of polling places. - The location of polling places designated in the preceding regular election shall continue with such changes as the Commission may find necessary, after notice to registered political parties and candidates in the political unit affected, if any, and hearing: Provided, That no location shall be changed within forty-five days before a regular election and thirty days before a special election or a referendum or plebiscite, except in case it is destroyed or it cannot be used.

Section 269. Preferential disposition of election offenses. - The investigation and prosecution of cases involving violations of the election laws shall be given preference and priority by the Commission on Elections and prosecuting officials. Their investigation shall be commenced without delay, and shall be resolved by the investigating officer within five days from its submission for resolution. The courts shall likewise give preference to election offenses over all other cases, except petitions

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for writ of habeas corpus. Their trial shall likewise be commenced without delay, and shall be conducted continuously until terminated, and the case shall be decided within thirty days from its submission for decision.

Section 274. Accreditation of dominant opposition party. - For purposes of the next local elections in 1986 and the next presidential elections in 1987 or earlier, the dominant opposition party shall be that political party, group or organization or coalition of major national or regional political parties opposed to the majority party which has the capability to wage a bona fide nationwide campaign as shown by the extent of its organization and the number of Members of Parliament affiliated with it: Provided, however, That with specific reference to the next local elections in constituencies which are represented in the Batasang Pambansa by Members who do not belong either to the majority party or to the political party or coalition of political parties described above, the representatives of the opposition in the board of election inspectors, board of canvassers or other similar bodies shall be proposed exclusively by the party to which said Member of the Batasang Pambansa belong: Provided, however, That it is registered before the next local elections.

Any political party, group or organization or coalition of political parties seeking accreditation under this section shall file a verified petition with the Commission on Elections stating therein such information as may be necessary to enable the Commission to determine the qualifications for accreditation in accordance with the standard herein provided.

The Commission on Elections shall accredit the dominant opposition party not later than thirty days before the campaign period in every election.

In case a presidential election is held before the next local elections or before the presidential election in 1987, the provisions of the Constitution shall be enforced in determining which shall be the dominant opposition party for purposes of the next local elections.

Automated Election Law

SEC. 5. Section 5 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 4 Information Technology Support for the Board of Canvassers. - To implement the AES, each board of canvassers shall be assisted by an information technology-capable person authorized to operate the equipment adopted for the elections. The Commission shall deputized information technology personnel from among the agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including government-owned and controlled corporations. The per diem of the deputized personnel shall be the same as that of the members of the board of canvassers."

SEC. 12. Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC.14. Examination and Testing of Equipment or Device of the AES and Opening of the Source Code for Review. - The Commission shall allow the political parties and candidates or their representatives, citizens' arm or their representatives to examine and test.

"The equipment or device to be used in the voting and counting on the day of the electoral exercise, before voting start. Test ballots and test forms shall be provided by the Commission.

"Immediately after the examination and testing of the equipment or device, parties and candidates or their representatives, citizen's arms or their representatives, may submit a written comment to the election officer who shall immediately transmit it to the Commission for appropriate action.

"The election officer shall keep minutes of the testing, a copy of which shall be submitted to the Commission together with the minute of voting."

"Once an AES technology is selected for implementation, the Commission shall promptly make the source code of that technology available and open to any interested political party or groups which may conduct their own review thereof."

SEC. 14. Section 13 of republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

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"SEC. 17. Ballot box. - Where applicable, there shall be in each precinct on election day a ballot box with such safety features that the Commission may prescribe and of such size as to accommodate the official ballots."

SEC. 15. Section 14 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 18. Procedure in voting. - The Commission shall prescribe the manner and procedure of voting, which can be easily understood and followed by the voters, taking into consideration, among other things, the secrecy of the voting."

SEC. 17. Section 16 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 20. Notice of Designation of Counting Centers. - The election officer shall post prominently in his/her office, in the bulletin boards at the city/municipal hall and in three other conspicuous places in the city/municipality, the notice on the designated counting center(s) for at least three weeks prior to election day. The notice shall specify the precincts covered by each counting center and the number of registered voters in each of said precincts. The election officer shall also furnish a copy of the notice to the headquarters or official address of the political parties or independent candidates within the same period. The election officer shall post in the Commission website concerned the said notice and publish the notice in the local newspaper. Where the polling place or voting center is also the designated counting center, such information shall be contained in the notice.

"The Commission may not designate as counting center any building or facility located within the premises of a camp, reservation compound, headquarters, detachment, or field office of the military, police, prison or detention bureau, or any law enforcement or investigation agency."

SEC. 18. Section 17 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 21. Counting procedure. - The Commission shall prescribe the manner and procedure of counting the votes under the automated system: Provided, that apart from the electronically stored result, thirty (30) copies of the election return are printed."

SEC. 19. Section 18 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 22. Electronic Returns. - Each copy of the of the printed election returns shall bear appropriate control marks to determine the time and place of printing. Each copy shall be signed and thumbmarked by all the members of the board of election inspectors and the watchers present. If any member of the board of election inspectors present refuses to sign, the chairman of the board shall note the same copy in each copy of the printed election returns. The member of the board of election inspectors concerned refusing to sign shall be compelled to explain his or her refusal to do so. Failure to explain an unjustifiable refusal to sign each copy of the printed election return by any member of the board of election inspectors shall be punishable as provided in this Act. The chairman of the boards shall then publicly read and announce the total numbers of registered voters, the total number of voters who actually voted and the total numbers of votes obtained by each candidate based on the election returns.

"Thereafter, the copies of the election returns shall be sealed and placed in the proper envelopes for distribution as follows:

"A. In the election of president, vice-president, senators and party-list system;

1) The first copy shall be delivered to the city or municipal board of canvassers;

2) The second copy, to the congress, directed to the President of the Senate;

3) The third copy, to the commission;

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4) The fourth copy, to the citizen's arm authorized by the Commission to conduct an unofficial count

5) The fifth copy, to the dominant majority party as determined by the Commission in accordance with law;

6) The six copy, to the dominant minority party as determined by the Commission in accordance with law; and

7) The seventh copy shall be deposited inside the compartment of the ballot box for valid ballots.

8) The eight copy to the Provincial Board of canvassers;

9) The ninth to the eighteenth copies, shall be given to the ten (10) accredited major national parties, excluding the dominant majority and minority parties, in accordance with a voluntary agreement among them. If no such agreement is reached, the Commission shall decide which parties shall receive the copies on the basis of the criteria provided in Section 26 of Republic Act No. 7166;

10) The nineteenth and twentieth copies, to the two accredited major local parties in accordance with a voluntary agreement among them. If no such agreement is reached, the commission shall decide which parties shall receive the copies on the basis of criteria analogous to that provided in Section 26 of Republic Act No.

7166;

11) The twenty-first to the twenty-fourth copies, to national broadcast or print media entities as may be equitably determined by the Commission in view of propagating the copies to the widest extent possible;

12) The twenty-fifth and twenty-six copies, to local broadcast or print media entities as may be equitably determined by the Commission in view of propagating the copies to the widest extent possible; and

13) The twenty-seventh to the thirtieth copies, to the major citizen's arms, including the accredited citizen's arm, and other non-partisan groups or organization enlisted by the Commission pursuant to Section 52(k) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. Such citizens' arm, groups and organization may use the four certified copies of election returns for the conduct of citizens' quick counts at the local or national levels;

"B. In the election of local officials and members of the House of Representatives:

1) The First copy shall be delivered to the city or municipal board of canvassers;

2) The second copy, to the Commission;

3) The third copy, to the provincial board of canvassers;

4) The fourth copy, to the citizens' arm authorized by the Commission to conduct an unofficial count;

5) The fifth copy, to the dominant majority party as determined by the Commission in accordance with law;

6) The sixth copy, to the dominant minority party as determined by the Commission in accordance with law; and

7) The seventh copy shall be deposited inside the copy shall deposited inside the compartment of the ballot box for valid ballots.

8) The eight copy to be posted conspicuously on a wall within the premises of the polling place or counting

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center;

9) The ninth to the eighteenth copies, shall be given to the ten (10) accredited major national parties, excluding the dominant majority and minority parties, in accordance with a voluntary agreement among them. If no such agreement is reached, the Commission shall decide which parties shall receive the copies on the basis of the criteria provided in Section 26 of Republic Act No. 7166;

10) The nineteenth and twentieth copies shall be given to the two accredited major local parties in accordance with a voluntary agreement among them. If no such agreement is reached, the Commission shall decide which parties shall receive the copies on the basis of criteria analogous to that provided in Section 26 of republic Act No. 7166;

11) The twenty-first to the twenty-fifth copies, to national broadcast or print media entities as may be equitably determined by the Commission in view of propagating the copies to the widest extent possible;

12) The twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh copies, to local broadcast or print media entities as may be equitably determined by the Commission in view of propagating the copies to the widest extent possible; and

13) The twenty-eighth to the thirtieth copies to the major citizens' arms, including the accredited citizens' arm, and other non-partisan groups or organization enlisted by the Commission pursuant to section 52(k) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. Such citizens' arms, groups and organization may use the five certified copies of election returns for the conduct of citizens' quick counts at the local or national levels.

"Immediately after the eight copy is printed, the poll clerk shall announce the posting of said copy on a wall within the premises of the polling place or counting center, which must be sufficiently lighted and accessible to the public. Any person may view or capture an image of the election return by means of any data capturing device such as, but not limited to cameras at any time of the day for forty-eight (48) hours following its posting. After such period, the chairman of the board of election inspectors shall detach the election return from the wall and keep the same in his custody to be produced as may be requested by any voter for image or data capturing or for any lawful purpose as may be ordered by competent authority.

"Within one hour after the printing of the election returns, the chairman of the board of election inspectors or any official authorized by the Commission shall, in the presence of watchers and representatives of the accredited citizens' arm, political parties/candidates, if any, electronically transmit the precinct results to the respective levels of board of canvassers, to the dominant majority and minority party, to the accredited citizen's arm, and to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

"The election results at the city/municipality canvassing centers shall be transmitted in the same manner by the election officer or any official authorized by the commission to the district or provincial canvassing centers.

"The election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate."

"After the electronic results have been transmitted additional copies not to exceed thirty (30) may be printed and given to requesting parties at their own expense."

SEC. 27. Section 27 of Republic Act No. 8436 is hereby amended to read as follows:

SEC. 33. Joint Congressional Oversight Committee. - An Oversight Committee is hereby created composed of seven members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives, four of whom shall come from the majority and three from the minority, to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Act. A written report to the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be submitted by the Advisory Council within six months from the date of election. The oversight committee shall conduct a mandatory review of this Act every twelve

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(12) months from the date of the last regular national or local elections."

"The oversight committee shall conduct a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the performance of the different AES technologies implemented and shall make appropriate recommendations to Congress, in session assembled, specifically including the following:

1. An assessment and comparison of each of the AES technologies utilized, including their strengths,

weakness, applicability or inapplicability in specific areas and situations;

2. An evaluation of their accuracy through a comparison of a random sample of the AES election results with

a manual tabulation, and the conduct of similar tests;

3. As to the scope of AES implementation in the subsequent elections, provide for recommendations as to

whether any of the following should be adopted:

"a. Further test application of the AES or a particular AES technology used in the 2007 elections, whether in the same or others areas;

"b. An increase or enlargement of areas for implementation of the AES or an AES technology and not a full implementation; or

"c. A full implementation of the AES.

4. As to the kind of AES technology, provide for proposals as to whether:

a) A particular AES technology should no longer be utilized for being obsolete, inapplicable, inaccurate or

with a defect which cannot be remedied;

b) An enhancement or improvement is needed to an AES technology which was used in the 2007 election to

make it more functional, appropriate and accurate;

c) A particular AES technology is already appropriate and should be utilized fully for subsequent election; or

d) The testing or adoption of new technologies which may have emerged after the 2007 elections is needed."

SEC.37. Section 30 of Republic Act No. 7166 is hereby amended to read as follows"

"SEC. 30. Congress as the National Board of Canvassers for the Election of President and Vice President: The Commission en banc as the National Board of Canvassers for the election of senators: Determination of Authenticity and Due Execution of Certificates of Canvass.- Congress and the Commission en banc shall determine the authenticity and due execution of the certificate of canvas for president and vice - president and senators, respectively, as accomplished and transmitted to it by the local boards of canvassers, on a showing that: (1) each certificate of canvass was executed, signed and thumbmarked by the chairman and member of the board of canvassers and transmitted or caused to be transmitted to Congress by them; (2) each certificate of canvass contains the names of all of the candidates for president and vice - president or senator, as the case may be, and their corresponding votes in words and their corresponding votes in words and in figures; (3) there exits no discrepancy in other authentic copies of the document such as statement of votes of any of its supporting document such as statement of votes by city/municipality/by precinct or discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificate; and (4) there exist no discrepancy in the votes of any candidate in words and figures in the certificates of canvass againts the aggregate number of votes appearing in the election returns of precincts covered by the certificate of canvass: Provided, That certified print copies of election returns or certificates of canvass may be used for the purpose of verifying the existence of the discrepancy.

"When the certificate of canvass, duly certified by the board of canvass of each province, city of district, appears to be incomplete, the Senate President or the Chairman of the Commission, as the case may be, shall require the board of canvassers concerned to transmit by personal delivery, the election returns form polling places that were not included in the

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certificate of canvass and supporting statements. Said election returns shall be submitted by personal delivery within two (2) days from receipt of notice.

"When it appears that any certification of canvass or supporting statement of each province, city of district, appears to be incomplete, the Senate President or the Chairman of the Commission, as the case may be, shall require the board of canvassers concerned to transmit by personal delivery, the election returns from polling places that were not included in the certificate of canvass and supporting statements. Said election returns shall be submitted by personal delivery within two (2) days from receipt of notice.

"When it appears that any certificate of canvass or supporting statement of votes by city/municipality or by precinct bears erasures or alteration which may cast doubt as to the veracity of the number of votes stated herein and may affect the result of the election, upon requested of the presidential, vice - presidential or senatorial candidate concerned or his party, Congress or the Commission en banc, as the case may be shall , for the sole purpose of verifying the actual the votes as they appear in the copies if the election returns submitted to it.

"In case of any discrepancy, incompleteness, erasure or alteration as mentioned above, the procedure on pre-proclamation controversies shall be adopted and applied as provided in Section 17,18,19 and 20.

"Any person who present in evidence a simulated copy of an election return, certificate of canvass or statement of votes, or

a printed copy of an election return, certificate of canvass or statement of votes bearing a simulated certification or a

simulated image, shall be guilty of an election offense shall be penalized in accordance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 881."

SEC. 42. Section27 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646 is hereby amended to read as follows :

"Sec. 27. Election Offenses; Electoral Sabotage. - In additional to the prohibited acts and election offenses enumerated in Section 261 and 262 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881,as amended, the following shall be guilty of an election offense or a special election offense to be known as eletoral sabotage:

"(a) x x x

"(b) Any person or member of the board of election inspectors or board of canvassers who tampers, increases or decreases the votes received by a candidates in any election or any member of the board who refuses after proper verification and

hearing ,to credit the correct votes or deduct such tampered votes: Provided, however, That when the tampering, increase or decrease of votes or the refusal to credit the correct votes and /or to deduct tampered to deduct tampered votes are perpetrated on large scale or in substantial numbers, the same shall be considered not as an ordinary election offense under Section 261 of the omnibus election code. But a special election offense to be known as electoral sabotage and the penalty

to be imposed shall be life imprisonment.

"The act or offense committed shall fall under the category of electoral sabotage in any of the following instances;

"(1) When the tampering, increase and / or decrease of votes perpetrated or the refusal to credit the correct votes or to deduct tampered votes, is/are committed in the election of a national elective office which is voted upon nationwide and the tampering, increase and/ or decrease votes refusal to credit the correct votes or to deduct tampered votes, shall adversely affect the results of the election to the said national office to the extent that losing candidate/s is /are made to appear the winner/s;

"(2) Regardless of the elective office involved, when the tampering, increase and/or decrease of votes committed or the refusal to credit the correct votes or to deduct tampered votes perpetrated , is a accomplished in a single election document or in the transposition of the figure / results from one election document to another and involved in the said tampering increase and/or decrease or refusal to credit correct votes or deduct tampered votes exceed five thousand (5,000) votes, and that the same adversely affects the true results of the election ;

"(3) Any and all other forms or tampering increase/s and/ or decrease/s of votes perpetuated or in cases of refusal to credit the correct votes or deduct the tampered votes, where the total votes involved exceed ten thousand (10,000) votes;

"Provided finally; That any and all either persons or individuals determined to be conspiracy or in connivance with the members of the BEIs or BOCs involved, shall be meted the same penalty of life imprisonment."

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Continuing Registration Act/Voter's Registration Act

Section 6. Arrangement of Precincts. Every barangay shall have at least one (1) precinct. Each precinct, shall have no more than two hundred (200) voters and shall comprise contiguous and compact territories.

a) A precinct shall be allowed to have less than 200 registered voters under the following conditions:

1) As soon as the 200-limit for every precinct has been reached, a spin-off or daughter precinct shall be created automatically by the Commission to accommodate voters residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the original precinct. Thereafter, a separate list of new voters shall be prepared by the Election Officer; and

2) An island or group of islands with less than two hundred (200) voters may comprise one (1) original precinct.

b) Every case of alteration of precincts shall be duly announced by posting a notice thereof in a conspicuous place in the precinct, in the office of the election officer and in the city or municipal hall and by providing political parties and candidates a list of all the precincts at the start of the campaign period; and

c) Consolidation or merger of at most three (3) precincts may be allowed: Provided, That the computerized counting shall be

implemented: Provided, further, That the merger of such precincts shall be effected ninety (90) days before election day.

Section 24. National Central File.There shall be a national central file under the custody of the Commission in Manila consisting of the third copies of all approved voter registration records in each city or municipality. It shall be compiled by precinct in each city/municipality and arranged alphabetically by surname so as to make the file a replica of the book of voters in the possession of the Election Officer. Thereafter a national list shall be prepared following the alphabetical arrangements of surnames of voters.

There shall be a national file consisting of the computerized voters’ list (CVL), both in print and in diskette, submitted by the Election Officers in each city and municipality concerned, under the custody of the Commission in Manila.

The computerized voters’ list shall make use of a single and uniform computer program that will have a detailed sorting capability to list voters alphabetically by the precincts where they vote, by the barangays, municipalities, cities or provinces where they reside and by their voters identification number (VIN).

Section 25. Voter’s Identification Card. The voters identification card issued to the registered voter shall serve as a document for his identification. In case of loss or destruction, no copy thereof may be issued except to the registered voter himself and only upon the authority of the Commission.

The Commission shall adopt a design for the voter’s identification card which shall be, as much as possible, tamper proof. It shall provide the following: the name and address of the voter, his date of birth, sex, photograph, thumbmark, and the number of precinct where he is registered, the signature of the voter and the chairman of the Election Registration Board and the voter’s identification number (VIN).

Section 26. Voter’s Identification Number (VIN). The Commission shall assign every registered voter a voter’s identification number (V1N) consisting of three parts, each separated by a dash. For example: 7501 -00191 -C145BCD.

a)

Part 1: Current Address of the Voter

1)

the first two digits 75 stand for the province; and

2)

The last two digits, 01, stand for the city, municipality, or a district, particularly in Manila.

The code assignment for provinces, cities and municipalities shall follow the Urban Code devised by the National Census and Statistics Office (NCSO).

b) Part II: Current Precinct Assignment of the Voter

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1)

The first four digits, 0019, stand for the permanent number of the precinct where the voter is currently assigned: and

2) The letter indicates whether it is a mother or a daughter precinct.

The number assigned to the precinct in every city or municipality shall be permanent but the voter may transfer his precinct number. The VIN reflects the current precinct assignment of the voter.

c)

Part III: Permanent Birth and Name Code Unique to the Voter

1)

The letter, C, stands for the month, i.e., A for January, B for February, and so forth;

2)

The next two digits, 14, stand for the date of birth;

3)

The next two digits, 51, stand for the year of birth; and

4)

The last three letters, BCD, stand for the name code, i.e., Bayani Cruz Davide.

The last three letters shall stand for the first letter of the first name, the middle name, and the last name in that order.

The Commission shall ensure that Part III hereof of the voter’s identification number (VIN) shall be permanent and unique to each voter. If necessary, the Commission may expand and modify the same.

d) The combined birth and name code is assigned during the lifetime of every voter. Upon transfer of the voter to another

precinct, the first two parts of the VIN shall change.

Section 39. Annulment at Book of Voters. The Commission shall, upon verified petition of any voter or election officer or duly registered political party, and after notice and hearing, annul any book of voters that is not prepared in accordance with the provisions of this Act or was prepared through fraud, bribery, forgery, impersonation, intimidation, force or any similar irregularity, or which contains data that are statistically improbable. No order, ruling or decision annulling a book of voters shall be executed within ninety (90) days before an election.

Section 40. Reconstitution of Lost or Destroyed Registration Records. The Commission shall reconstitute all registration records which have been lost or destroyed by using the corresponding copies of the provincial or national central files. In case of conflict the Commission shall determine which file shall be used for reconstitution purposes. If this is not feasible, the Commission shall conduct a general registration of voters in the affected area: Provided, That there is a scheduled election before the next scheduled general registration of voters in accordance with the Omnibus Election Code. All such voters shall retain their voter’s identification number. Reconstituted forms shall be clearly marked with the word "reconstituted."

It shall be the duty of the Election Officer to immediately report to the Commission any case of loss or destruction of registration record in his custody.

The reconstitution of any lost or destroyed registration records shall not affect the criminal liability of any person who is responsible for such loss or destruction.

Section 42. Right to Information. - The duly authorized representative of a registered political party or of a bonafide candidate shall have the right to inspect and/or copy at their expense the accountable registration forms and/or the list of registered voters in the precincts constituting the constituency of the bonafide candidate or at which the political party is fielding candidates. The inspection and copying shall be conducted during business hours of the Commission and shall be subject to reasonable regulations.

Section 43. Computerization at Permanent List of Voters. - A permanent and computerized list arranged by precinct, city or municipality, province and region shall be prepared by the Commission. Thereafter, another list shall be prepared consisting of the names of the voters, arranged alphabetically according to surnames.

The computer print-outs of the list of voters duly certified by the Board are official documents and shall be used for voting

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and other election related purposes as well as for legitimate research needs.

The total number of voters in the permanent list shall be the basis for the printing of the official ballots by the Commission.

Section 44. Reassignment of Election Officers. No Election Officer shall hold office in a particular city or municipality for more than four (4) years. Any election officer who, either at the time of the approval of this Act or subsequent thereto, has served for at least four (4) years in a particular city or municipality shall automatically be reassigned by the Commission to a new station outside the original congressional district.

Section 49. Rules and Regulations. - The Commission shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Act not later than ninety (90) days before the first day of registration as provided for in this Act.

Biometrics Law

Section 9. Database Security. – The database generated by biometric registration shall be secured by the Commission and shall not be used, under any circumstance, for any purpose other than for electoral exercises.

Section 10. Mandatory Biometrics Registration. – The Commission shall implement a mandatory biometrics registration system for new voters.

Section 12. Rules and Regulations. – The Commission shall, within sixty (60) days after the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the implementing rules and regulations.

Synchronized Election Law

Section 4. Postponement, Failure of Election and Special Elections. - The postponement, declaration of failure of election and the calling of special elections as provided in Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Omnibus Election Code shall be decided by the Commission sitting en banc by a majority vote of its members. The causes for the declaration of a failure of election may occur before or after the casting of votes or on the day of the election.

In case a permanent vacancy shall occur in the Senate or House of Representatives at least one (1) year before the expiration of the term, the Commission shall call and hold a special election to fill the vacancy not earlier than sixty (60) days nor longer than ninety (90) days after the occurrence of the vacancy. However, in case of such vacancy in the Senate, the special election shall be held simultaneously with the succeeding regular election.

Section 8. Precincts and their Establishment. - Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, where it is not practicable to divide the precinct by territory, the Commission may adjust or split the precinct by assigning the registered voters therein alphabetically and equitably among the adjusted or split precincts: Provided, That, the polling places of said precincts shall be in the same building or premises.

Section 9. Registration of Voters. - There shall be a registration of voters on the fifteenth Saturday before the day of the election for voters who will reach the age of eighteen (18) years on or before the day of the election or for those who are qualified but not registered in the list of voters. However, the Commission may designate an additional date of registration in certain areas to ensure that voters therein are not deprived of their right of suffrage.

Before adjourning on registration day, the board of election inspectors shall close the list of voters by affixing their signatures in the space immediately after the last name; number consecutively the names of the voters listed therein and authenticate the list of voters by affixing their signatures on each and every page thereof.

The board of election inspectors shall post, on the wall outside the room where the registration was conducted, the list of voters in each precinct beginning on the first working day after registration day until election day. Failure to post said list shall constitute an election offense punishable under Section 263 and 264 of the Omnibus Election Code.

When there is a significant number of inclusions, exclusions and corrections in the list of voters in a precinct, the Commission shall direct the board of election inspectors concerned to meet on the eighth Saturday immediately preceding the day of the election for the purpose of making such inclusions and corrections as may be or may have been ordered by the courts, stating opposite every name so corrected, added or cancelled, the date of the order and the court which issued the

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same; otherwise, the board shall not meet but such inclusions, exclusions and corrections, if any, shall be made in the list of voters before the voting starts on election day.

Section 12. Absentee Voting. - Absentee voting as provided for in Executive Order No. 157 dated March 30, 1987 shall apply to the elections for President, Vice-President and Senators only and shall be limited to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police and other government officers and employees who are duly registered voters and who, on election day, may temporarily be assigned in connection with the performance of election duties to place where they are not registered voters.

Fair Election Act

Section 3. Lawful Election Propaganda. – Election propaganda, whether on television, cable television, radio, newspapers or any other medium is hereby allowed for all registered political parties, national, regional, sectoral parties or organizations participating under the party list elections and for all bona fide candidates seeking national and local elective positions subject to the limitation on authorized expenses of candidates and political parties, observance of truth in advertising and to the supervision and regulation by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

For the purpose of this Act, lawful election propaganda shall include:

3.1. Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not

exceed eight and one half inches in width and fourteen inches in length;

3.2. Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or

candidate for public office;

3.3. Cloth, paper or cardboard posters, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two (2) feet by

three (3) feet, except that, at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally, or in announcing the holding of said meeting or rally, streamers not exceeding three (3) feet by eight (8) feet in size, shall be allowed: Provided, That said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after said meeting or rally;

3.4. Paid advertisements in print or broadcast media: Provided, That the advertisements shall follow the

requirements set forth in Section 4 of this Act; and

3.5. All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code or this Act.

Section 1.

Official Sample Ballot

Section 185 of the Omnibus Election Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 185.

ballots at the rate of thirty (30) ballots per polling place. The official sample ballots shall be printed on colored paper, in all

respects like the official ballots but bearing instead the words 'Official Sample Ballot' to be shown to the public and used in demonstrating how to fill out and fold the official ballots properly. No name of any actual candidate shall be written on the spaces for voting on the official sample ballots provided by the Commission, nor shall they be used for voting.

Official Sample Ballots. — The Commission shall provide the board of election inspectors with official sample

"At least thirty (30) days before an election, it shall be the duty of the Commission on Elections to furnish every registered voter through registered mail with return card, personal service with corresponding receipt to be signed by the voter or any person who knows the voter, or any other practicable means with an unfilled official sample ballot, voter information sheet, and a list of all registered national, provincial and city candidates to be voted in the said election. The information sheet shall include the voter's name, address, the precinct and the place where he is registered, and simplified instructions as to the casting of votes. The names of the candidates shall be listed in alphabetical order under their respective party affiliation and a one-line statement not to exceed three (3) words of their occupation or profession: provided, however, that in the printing of the names of the candidates for national offices, the alphabetical order shall be democratized so that the listed names shall

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be made in three (3) columns: the first column shall commence with the letter A and end with the letter Z; the second column shall commence with the letters 'I-Z' and thereafter — 'A-H' and the third column shall commence with the letters 'Q-Z' and thereafter 'A-P'. These information may be contained in a single sheet or booklet form, and the number and location of the voters' polling place shall be prominently indicated therein. Persons nominated under the party-list system likewise be included in the abovementioned list."

Precincts for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens

Section 4. Section Duty of the Commission to Render Assistance to Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. – It shall be the duty of the Commission to render appropriate assistance to persons with disabilities and senior citizens in coordination with government agencies and civil society organizations.

Section 5. Section Record of Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens. – The Commission shall keep an updated record of persons with disabilities and senior citizens who are registered as voters, which indicates the types of disability and the assistance they need, to assist it in determining policy directions for more inclusive and accessible electoral processes. The record shall be made accessible to concerned government offices, accredited citizens’ arms, civil society monitoring groups and other organizations which promote the rights of the persons with disabilities and senior citizens, subject to specific guidelines the Commission may promulgate to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned.

Section 6. Section Registration and Updating of Records. – In designing the forms, the Commission must ensure that persons with disabilities and senior citizens applying for registration, reactivation, transfer, or correction of entry indicate the type(s) of disability, as well as the form(s) of assistance needed.

Persons with disabilities and senior citizens who have previously registered but have not indicated the type of disability, or who may have developed or manifested such disability after having been registered, shall be allowed, during the periods to file applications for registration, to update their registration records, and to indicate the type of disability as well as the form of assistance they need during election day. The Commission may design registration forms specifically for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, or issue supplemental forms for the said purpose, and provide for procedures to be followed by those who need to update their registration records.

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From the Website

Organizational Info

The COMELEC is the principal government agency tasked by the Constitution to enforce and administer all laws and regulations concerning the conduct of regular and special elections. It is a body that is designed to be constitutionally independent from the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government to ensure the conduct of free, fair and honest elections. As an added measure, the constitution also grants fiscal autonomy to enable the COMELEC to operate effectively, efficiently and free from political interference. The constitution mandates that "funds certified by the Commission as necessary to defray the expenses for holding regular and special elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda, and recalls, will be provided in the regular or special appropriations and, once approved, will be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of the Commission."

Judicial, Regulatory and Administrative Functions In addition to its primary task of election administration, the COMELEC also performs judicial, regulatory and administrative functions. Its judicial mandate consists of taking exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction. Exception issues involving the right to vote, it has regulatory and administrative authority to decide on all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.

Recommendatory Powers The Commission has the power to propose to Congress measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials will be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies. Likewise, it can recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to, its directive, order, or decision. On its own, or upon verified complaint, the COMELEC can file petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters and investigate/prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

Membership The COMELEC consists of one Chairman and 6 commissioners, all of whom have a 7-year term without reappointment. In all matters pertaining to election administration and policymaking, the commissioners act as a collegial body. In election cases and pre-proclamation controversies, however, the Commission sits in two divisions initially, but decides en banc on motion to reconsider a division decision.

Offices and Departments Assisting the Chairman in managing the day-to-day affairs and operations of the COMELEC is the Executive Director. As the highest-ranking career official, he implements the policies and decisions of the Commission, takes charge of the administrative affairs and serves as the communication and operational link between the staff and Commissioners. He is assisted by a Deputy Executive Director for Administration (DEDA) and a Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO).

Organizational Structure

The Commission is under the over-all control of the Chairman and the Commissioners, who constitute the policymaking body that lays down the guidelines and regulations for elections, referenda, plebiscites, initiatives and recalls. The Comi sits either en banc or in two divisions in order to expedite disposition of election cases including pre-proclamation controversies.

Mandated Functions

The COMELEC is mandated with the following functions:

1. Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of and elections, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.

2. Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all

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elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay official decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

3. Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.

4. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purposes of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful credible elections.

5. Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, of coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens arms of the Commission on Elections.

6. File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of elections laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

7. Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidates.

8. Recommend to the President the removal of any officer of employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.

9. Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Present Members

Chairman - Andres Bautista Commissioners:

1. Christian Robert Lim

2. Al Parreño

3. Luie Tito Guia

4. Arthur Lim

5. Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon

6. Sheriff Abas

Historical Background

The Commission on Elections was created by a 1940 amendment to the 1935 Constitution. Its membership was enlarged and its powers expanded by the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. The Commission exercises not only administrative, but judicial and quasi-judicial powers.

The Executive Bureau Before the creation of the Commission, supervision over the conduct of elections was vested in the Executive Bureau, an office under the Department of Interior and later directly vested in the Department itself when the Executive Bureau was abolished.

There was, however, general dissatisfaction over the manner in which elections were conducted under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. There was growing suspicion that Secretaries of the Interior administered election laws not for the purpose of securing honest and free elections, but to serve the political interest of the party in power to which they belonged. They were never entirely free from suspicion of acting with partisan bias.

The close official relationship between the president and the Secretary of the Interior bred suspicion that elections served the incumbent Secretary’s political interest. The Secretary of the Interior was directly responsible to the President and his tenure of office was dependent not only on the pleasure of the President, but also upon the President’s own continuance in office. This set-up only induced increasing distrust in the verdict at the polls.

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Statutory Commission The situation impelled the National Assembly to propose the creation by constitutional amendment of a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and two members to take over the functions of the Secretary of the Interior relative to elections.

By constitutional amendment ratified by the Filipino people in a plebiscite held on June 17, 1940, all functions heretofore exercised by the Secretary of the Interior relative to the conduct of elections were transferred to the Commission. However, as the amendment could not be made effective in time for the 1940 elections, the National Assembly through Commonwealth Act No. 607 created a statutory Commission on Elections, giving thereto the same powers which the Commission would have under the Constitution. The act became effective upon its approval on August 22, 1940. The Commission immediately functioned on September 14, 1940, and supervised the December 10, 1940 elections.

Constitutional Commission The constitutional amendment creating the Commission was finally approved on December 2, 1940. On June 21, 1941, the Commonwealth Act No. 657 was enacted reorganizing the Commission as a constitutional body. The members of the statutory Commission continued as member of the constitutional Commission. The subordinate personnel, records, documents, and property together with its unexpected balance in the appropriation were likewise transferred to the newly- organized Commission.

The Chairman and Members of the Commission had a term of nine years each – a member being replaced every three years- except those first appointed who were given nine, six and three-years terms, respectively.

The 1973 Constitution enlarged the membership of the Commission from three to nine but reduced their term of office from nine to seven years.

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