Election watchdogs step up activities

15 05 2007

05/15/2007 | 07:47 AM

Church-based and militant poll watchdog groups on Tuesday stepped up their efforts to thwart various forms of poll irregularities.

The groups released email addresses, landlines and cell phone where the public can send in reports of intimidation, snatching and irregularities.

“Di lang ang mga presinto sa araw ng halalan ang dapat subaybayan. Sa totoo lang, mas malaking pandaraya ang maaaring mangyari sa loob ng 1 o 2 linggo pagkatapos ng eleksyon, kung kailan nagaganap ang canvassing sa mga munisipyo, lungsod at probinsya,” umbrella group Volunteers for Clean Elections said in a statement.

The group offered cell phone numbers 0922-8600752 (0922-8600SLB) and 0905-3273999 to field calls and text messages reporting fraud.

VforCE, which has 10,000 lawyers and paralegal volunteers, also includes the National Movement for Free Elections, One Voice, and Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

One of its members, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), offered its landlines 5261786 and 5262013.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action offered cell phone number 0917-7339619 to receive reports.

Legal Network for Truthful Elections, a network of volunteer lawyers, also offered cell phone numbers 0921-5355949 and 0927-3037122.

Those who want to report via email can send their reports to vforce2007@gmail.com, parishpcrv@yahoo.com, namfrel@yahoo.com, admin@nassa.org.ph, and aacunesco@yahoo.com. – GMANews.TV





COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND LENTE PARTNER FOR CLEAN AND HONEST ELECTIONS

14 05 2007

The Commission on Human Rights and LENTE, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, have signed an agreement to perform complementary tasks to “achieve clean, honest, orderly and credible national and local elections.” 

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by CHR Chairperson Purificacion C. Quisimbing and LENTE Co-convenors Atty. Jose Vicente B. Salazar, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and Atty. Carlos P. Medina, Jr., chief legal counsel of One Voice and director of the Ateneo Human Rights Center. Both organizations believe that clean and honest elections are important for the survival and strengthening of a democratic society. “We are happy that the CHR has committed to encourage its lawyers, investigators and paralegals to volunteer as citizen monitors with LENTE during the canvassing of votes at the provincial levels.” Atty. Medina said. The additional manpower, he said, will boost the growing number of volunteers who will monitor the canvassing of votes in 1,600 municipalities, 81 provinces, and 17 regions.

A network of lawyers, law students, paralegals and other trained volunteers from 28 organizations all over the country, LENTE will train around 60 CHR volunteers on basic election laws, particularly those concerning the canvassing process, its rules and procedure. “We will also deploy CHR volunteers in their preferred areas of assignment, and provide them with personnel and logistical support crucial to monitoring work.” Atty. Medina said.

The first network of its kind, LENTE will fill in the missing link in previous elections: legal recourse for electoral irregularities.

Already, the lawyers’ organization has trained thousand of volunteers from all of the country’s regions. Training continues to date. The groups organized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and One Voice, aspires to gather 10,000 volunteers across the Philippines.

Atty. Medina cited the role that the youth plays in ensuring the integrity of the May 14 elections. “Our regional coordinators are law students who have volunteered their time and expertise to buttress LENTE’s efforts,” he said.

LENTE members, including the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the National Movement for Free Elections, the Ateneo Law School Students Council, Bishop Businessmen’s Conference, have committed to offer legal services at local and national levels which will be made available to provide a quick legal response to election complaints and irregularities.

The Cebu and the Davao Lady Lawyers Associations, the University of the Philippines Colleges of Law and Law Student Government, the University of San Carlos Law Student Council, and SALIGAN – the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal, as well as inter-faith institutions such as the Philippines Council for Islam and Democracy, and the Philippines Council of Evangelical Churches and Interfaith, Inc., are also part of the group.The LENTE National Secretariat is based at the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Ateneo Professional School, 20 Rockwell Drive, Makati City. Telephone numbers (02) 899-7691 local 2123, or email aacunesco@yahoo.com. 





The 2007 Philippine Election: Eye Witness Reports

14 05 2007

Although the Legal Network for Truthful Elections or LENTE was established to monitor only the canvassing of votes (which will begin tomorrow, May 15), people have been calling up the LENTE hotline to report irregularities that they have observed on election day. LENTE’s nationwide pool of lawyers, paralegals, and law students have also sent in their observations. Because of these alerts, LENTE will be focusing on the areas below. We are also forwarding a summary of their reports in the hopes that these may be further looked into by PPCRV and the media.

INDANAN, SULU PROVINCE
Military and the police are all over the schools, causing people to be fearful and to stay home. In the precinct in Barangay Pasil, the election inspectors have been seen filling up blank ballots, there is no voters list available, no ink used, and the ballot boxes are open.

SANTA CATALINA, ILOCOS SUR
A flying voter has been spotted by LENTE lawyers in the area. They plan to press charges against this person.

LANAO DEL SUR
A PPCRV/LENTE volunteer has described elections in 13 towns of Lanao del Sur as a total failure: Bayang, Butig, Masiu, Sultan Malulindong, Lumbalan, Lumbayahagi, Kakay, Tubaran, Marugong, ANalas, Lumbabayao, Kapatagan. In those areas, there have been errors in the clustering of precincts, the election inspectors are disorganized, and gunfire to scare away voters. In the town of Marugong, 762 blank ballots for registered voters have not been delivered.

MAIGO, LANAO DEL NORTE
There is an unconfirmed report that a candidate for mayor and 11 armed men working for him are detained at a police station. It is rumored that the rest of the armed group will attack the police station. There have also been reports of ballot snatching in Maigo.

BANSALAN, DAVAO DEL SUR
There are reports of pre-filled up ballots at precinct 139-A at Barangay New Clarin.





LENTE Materials

14 05 2007

The following are the materials that are being used to train the volunteers for the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE). The files have information on the whole canvassing process and the procedure for reporting election irregularities, among other realted things LENTE is concerned with.

Primer on LENTE
Contains everything you need to know about LENTE; its profile, its rationale, the tasks it will perform, and its composition at present.

Primer on Electoral Canvass
A powerpoint presentation on electoral canvass, which is the main thrust of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE).

LENTE Operations Group
A powerpoint presentation on the LENTE Operations Group. Includes details on the process flow of the Operation Quick Count, flowchart of the LENTE Operations, and guidelines.

BRIEFING ON THE MAY 14, 2007 ELECTIONS
Speech delivered by Atty. Christian S. Monsod during the LENTE National Training of Trainers, 14 April 2007 Ateneo Human Rights Center.

LENTE FAQs
A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) based on the National Training of Trainers on April 14, 2007.

LENTE regional training
A powerpoint presentation on election laws and processess. It includes topics such as Sources of Election Law, Voting, Counting, and Canvassing Porcessess, and the Post Election scenarios.

BOC Guidelines
A supplementary material on the Guidelines for the Board of Canvassers from the COMELEC Election Handbook. Contains material on canvassing and the functions and composition of the Board of Canvassers.





Who we are

2 05 2007

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections or LENTE is being established in response to wide scale and systematic fraud during the past elections. This is the first nationwide network of lawyers, law students, paralegals and other trained volunteers who will be engaged with election monitoring work in the 2007 elections. Aside from monitoring the canvassing of tallied votes in cities, municipalities, and provinces around the country, we will provide legal services to members of the Network during the elections.

At present, LENTE is composed of over 25 organizations, including the following:

 

  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
  • One Voice
  • Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA)
  • National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)
  • Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)
  • Ateneo Human Rights Center
  • Ateneo Law School Student Council
  • Bishops’ Businessmen’s Conference (BBC)
  • Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO)-Bantay Canvass
  • Cebu Lady Lawyers Association
  • Cebu Young Lawyers of the Philippines
  • Halalang Marangal/HALAL
  • Lawyers’ League for Liberty (LIBERTAS)
  • Lyceum of the Philippines, College of Law Student Council
  • Manuel L. Quezon University, College of Law Student Council
  • National Council of Churches of the Philippines (NCCP)
  • New Era University, College of Law Student Council
  • Philippine Christian University College of Law Student Council
  • Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID)
  • Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches
  • Philippine Law School, Student Council
  • Puwersa para sa Ganap na Demokrasya Labang Wagas para sa Inang Bayan (Pugadlawin)
  • Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN)
  • University of the Philippines College of Law, Law Student Government
  • University of San Carlos Law Student Council
  • Upholding Life and Nature (ULAN)
  • Davao Lady Lawyers Association or Dallas.

Election day is fast approaching and LENTE is taking the necessary steps to fortify its structure. We have decided to be governed by an Executive Committee which shall make all decisions that have to be made for the national level. At the provincial level, LENTE will be led by a PPCRV or IBP lawyer. The Co-Convenors of LENTE are Atty. Jose Vicente B. Salazar, National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and Atty. Carlos P. Medina, Jr., Chief Legal Counsel of One Voice and Executive Director of the Ateneo Human Rights Center. The National Secretariat is based at the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Ateneo Professional Schools, 20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

 

LENTE will soon be conducting trainings on election laws and procedure at national, regional and provincial levels. LENTE is aiming for 17 regional trainings of trainers; 150 other trainings at the provinces and chartered cities; and 1 national trainers training at the national level. The trainers at the national level will be deployed to the various regions and the regional trainers will be conducting 150 trainings at the provinces and chartered cities.

We’d like to note that ARMM, which has always been a contentious spot during the elections, will be given special attention by LENTE. It follows that areas which are more susceptible to fraud and violence will be under LENTE’s closer scrutiny.

As you see, there is really much work to be done and, with the elections barely days away, one wonders if the Network can achieve all that it has set out to do. If one takes into account what we have accomplished so far it is this- we continue to mobilize volunteers, strengthen our coordinating mechanism and are now gearing up for the nationwide training. With such a promising start and with the growing and continuing support from our countrymen, LENTE is indeed allowing itself to hope for clean and fair elections.