• Comelec gears up for 2016 elections

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    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday approved the calendar of activities and two critical resolutions as it goes full blast in its preparations for the 2016 local and national polls.

    A the same time, Chairman Andres Bautista on Tuesday also announced an earlier review schedule of the base and source codes of the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines for increased transparency.

    Bautista explained that the move would address perennial complaint by political parties and other sectors that there is “too short a time” to review the codes.

    “It has been a perennial complaint. We are opening everything to have time to review all codes,” he said. “That’s the difference between the 2016 and 2010 elections.”

    The commission, Bautista added, is looking at availability of adequate facilities with technical expertise and as well as security arrangements as main criteria in choosing where to hold the base code review.

    “We are inviting interested organizations to conduct the review. We would ask organizations to designate their authorized representatives for those who have the technical wherewithal in order to conduct such review,” he said..

    The base code review would be held before October 15 after which the code would be customized in accordance with the need of Comelec, and thereafter would undergo certication from an international certification agency before it would be made available again for review as provided by law before February 2016.

    Aside from the calendar of activities, the commission en banc also approved the guidelines on political convention, guidelines on preparation of certificate of nomination, guidelines for certification of candiates and guidelines for filing of petition for determination of dominant major political party and dominant minority party.

    Senior Commissioner Robert Christian Lim said the forms for certificate of candidacy from President down to municipal councilors were also ready, and finished as well as the allocation of electoral positions for all positions.

    But the most critical portion, Lim added, is the extension of the campaign period, which the Comelec has no authority to implement.

    “Based on the opinion of the law department, we can’t do it legally. We have to maintain the 45 and 90-day campaign period,” he said.

    Filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for all elective positions is set for October 12 to 16.

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