PPCRV: Remember 'KKK', pork scam during polls
MANILA - Now is the best time to decide to elect officials who are truly worthy of the people's trust. This is the challenge of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as the nation casts its votes today on the next set of barangay officials.
PPCRV chairperson Amb. Henrietta Tita De Villa told ABS-CBN News that voters should learn from the lessons of the much-talked about "pork barrel" scam and elect officials with unblemished track records.
"[The scam] violates the four principles of responsible voting. After guns, goons, and gold, we now have greed... basic opportunity ang barangay elections, suriin mabuti ang mga kandidato -- karakter, kakayahan, at katapatan," De Villa said.
She said the "usual" problems are hounding today's barangay polls, as in previous years: voters not finding their names in the official Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL), violence, and vote-buying.
"In my own precinct in barangay Mariana, Quezon City, there was this voter whose name was in the PPCRV list but was unable to vote because he wasn't in the EDCVL, which is the list that prevails.'
"I immediately called [Commission on Elections] spokesman James Jimenez and he said may ganoon daw talaga problema palagi -- hindi nagtutugma yung list ng election officer (EO), where we got our list, and the list from Comelec central," De Villa said.
Problems such as this are beyond the control of the PPCRV, she added, since the EDCVL is the official list.
The PPCRV will push for a specific set of mechanisms to ensure that this problem is addressed before the 2016 national elections.
Former Comelec Chairman Jose Melo began this project, she said, except that it got shot down when it reached Congress.
"There is no funding for this important undertaking, people do not think it is crucial, when, in fact, it is, because it will prevent the disenfranchisement of voters," De Villa said.
LESS VOLUNTEERS, MORE VIOLENCE
De Villa pointed out that there are less PPCRV volunteers in today's polls compared to the previous national elections.
They have 100,000 volunteers out in the field today, compared to 370,000 in the May polls and 670,000 in the 2010 national elections.
She said this is because their volunteers have to take a leave from poll duties if they have relatives running, and considering that this is a barangay election, more of their volunteers are related to candidates.
"We have to maintain our being non-partisan," she stressed.
The PPCRV is making do with the human resource that it has, and prioritized areas considered as perennial "problem areas" or "hot spots."
In these areas, a stationary PPCRV help desk is put up. In other areas, PPCRV roving teams have been deployed.
As in previous barangay elections, reports on election-related violence continue to come in at the PPCRV main office at Pope Pius Center in Manila.
There was a shooting incident at the Barira Elementary School in Maguindanao, fortunately, the target was not hit by the gunman. In Cotabato, a PPCRV volunteer was punched by a barangay chairman candidate who refused to leave the polling precinct after voting.
"We urge our volunteers to report incidence of violence to the PNP and the AFP. Makipag-ugnayan. We are always part of the security team," De Villa said.
The incidents are reported to the authorities for proper action for the protection of PPCRV volunteers, she stressed.
She also encouraged voters to immediately report election-related offenses to the Board of Election Tellers (BET) so that these may be included in the official precinct minutes.