Comelec official says independent bet Robredo could get copy of election returns thru Liberal Party

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office in Intramuros, Manila (Eagle News Service)


(Eagle News) – Running as an independent candidate in the presidential race may have its disadvantages, one of which is that the candidate would not be given an official copy of election returns, based on Commission on Elections rules.

Running as an independent would also mean the candidate’s poll watchers would be placed at a disadvantage during election day and vote counting, vis a vis the poll watchers of those running under a major political party recognized by the Comelec.

The issue was raised on Friday, May 6, as the Comelec was asked about whether independent presidential bet, Vice-President Leni Robredo, would be given a copy of printed election returns during the vote counting procedure.

According to Comelec commissioner George Garcia, only those recognized as major political parties would be given copies of election returns as a matter of procedure.

Asked whether Robredo would get one of the official printouts of the ER or election return, Garcia gave this answer:

Ngayon po, pupuwede po kung saka-sakali ang isang kandidato na independent candidate, ay pupuwedeng makipag-ugnayan sa isang partido na kasama po doon sa sampu. Ngayon po, kung kayo po ay isang independent candidate at hindi po kayo kasama sa sampu ay maaaring hindi po kayo makakasama sa mabibigyan ng election returns sa tatlumpung kopya na mapi-print po sa bawat isang Vote Counting Machine sa buong Pilipinas na naka-assign,” he explained in a Laging Handa press briefing on Friday, May 6.

So, ang mabibigyan lamang po ay iyong mga naka-enumerate doon po sa listahan na nakalagay po sa batas at sa atin pong umiiral na mga patakaran,” he said.

The Philippine Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo (C) greets supporters during her last campaign rally at Makati bussiness district in suburban Manila, May 7, 2022.  (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP)
(File photo) Comelec commissioner George Garcia during a Comelec press briefing givign updates on the status of ballots to be used for the May 9, 2022 elections. (Screenshot of Comelec press briefing streamed live on Comelec’s Facebook page/Coutesy Comelec)

He, however, said that the Liberal Party, being one of the 10 major political parties officially recognized by the Comelec would be entitled to an election return copy.

The Liberal Party is considered the third top political party in the country, after the PDP-Laban considered the dominant majority political party, and the Nacionalista Party which is the dominant minority political party, according to a recent Comelec resolution issued on May 5.

Robredo can still get a copy of election returns thru the Liberal Party, the Comelec official said.

Kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, ang Liberal Party ay number three,” Garcia noted.

-Poll watchers of PDP Laban, Nacionalista Party have preferential advantage-

The Comelec said that only the poll watchers of the dominant majority political party, the PDP-Laban, and the dominant minority, political party, the Nacionalista Party, would be given preference in case of insufficient space in the vote counting and consolidation center.

This was stated in Comelec Resolution No. 10787 released last Thursday, May 5, which also determined the 10 major political parties as well as the local political parties which applied for recognition and submitted the necessary documents and requirements with the Comelec.

Naglabas tayo ng resolusyon na kung saan ang sinabi po ng Commission en banc [na] ang majority party ay PDP-Laban; ang minority party ay Nacionalista Party at mayroon po tayong kinilala na sampung pinakamalalakas na partido pulitikal sa ating bansa,” Garcia said.

A screenshot of Comelec resolution 10787 determining the major political parties in the country with regards to the May 9, 2022 national and local elections. (Courtesy Comelec)

-Other bets running as “independent”-

Based on the submission of their respective certificates of candidacy for presidential elections, those running as independent are Robredo, and former Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella. However, senator Panfilo Lacson who was previously running under the Reporma party said he would also be running as an independent after his party shifted its support to Robredo.

Philippine senator Panfilo Lacson speaks after filing his candidacy for the country’s 2022 presidential race, at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay on October 6, 2021. (Photo by Rouelle Umali / POOL / AFP)

-Presidential bets running under major political parties-

Those running under political parties recognized by the Comelec as among the 10 major political parties are former senator Ferdinand Marcos of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Manila mayor Franciso “Isko Moreno” Domagoso of the Aksyon Demokratiko party.

Bongbong Marcos, presidential candidate and father of Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, greets supporters during the proclamation rally in Laoag city, Ilocos norte province, north of Manila on March 25, 2022. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)
Philippine presidential candidate, Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso, known by his screen name Isko Moreno, speaks during a press conference in Makati City, suburban Manila on April 17, 2022. – Three rivals of Philippine presidential candidate Leni Robredo on April 17 refused to back her campaign, dousing speculation they would withdraw from the race to improve her chances of defeating the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. (Photo by Maria Tan / AFP)

Senator Manny Pacquiao, meanwhile, filed his candidacy under the political party Promdi which was not listed as among the top 10 major political parties based on Comelec resolution 10787.

The other presidential bets running in the May 9 polls also belonged to political parties which were not recognized as major political parties by the same Comelec resolution.

They are Leody De Guzman running under the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), forme defense secretary Norberto Gonzales of the Philippine Democratic Socialist Party (PDSP), Faisal Mangondato running under the Katipunan_ng_Kamalayang_Kayumanggi which he founded, and Jose Montemayor of the Democratic Party of the Philippines.

-Leni is adopted candidate of LP, says running mate Pangilinan-

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo (L) smiles as she accompanies her running mate Senator Francis Pangilinan, who filed his certificate of candidacy for next year’s elections with the Commission on Elections in Manila on October 8, 2021. (Photo by Aaron Favila / POOL / AFP)

Robredo, although the chair of the Liberal Party, decided to run as an independent as she is open to forming coalitions for the purpose of what she termed as “inclusivity.”

Her running mate, senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, president of Liberal Party, however, stressed that Robredo even though she is running as an independent, is the adopted candidate of the Liberal Party.

Based on Comelec Resolution 10787, aside from PDP-Laban and the Nacionalista Party, the following 10 political parties made it to the list of major political parties:

1. Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP)
2. Aksyon Demokratiko (AKSYON)
3. Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)
4. Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD)
5. Partido para sa Demokartikong Reporma (PDR)
6. National Unity Party (NUP)
7. Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP)
8. Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP)
9. Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party (AKBAYAN); and
10. United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)

(Eagle News Service)