MANILA, MAY 20, 2013
(PHILSTAR) By Mayen Jaymalin - It’s payback time.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes yesterday said he will settle a score with automated election critics who undermined the recent midterm elections.

“They made our life difficult. Now, they should watch out how I get payback,” Brillantes said.

He said that although the Comelec will no longer pursue a legal suit against the Automated Elections System (AES) Watch, he would expose the people behind the group once the poll body has proclaimed the winning party-list groups.

The AES Watch earlier issued a statement describing the 2013 polls as worse than the first nationwide automated elections in the country three years ago.

“Just like in 2010, the implementation of the second automated election cannot pass the standards of the IT (information technology) industry. How can the elections be credible when it is conducted by a most un-transparent Comelec, led by an incredibly insensitive chairman, who is prone to arbitrary decisions and abuse of authority?” the AES Watch said.

But Brillantes said the AES is not even an organization.

“It is also not registered anywhere... Just wait and I will just expose who these people are,” he said.

Brillantes said the Comelec has long been on the lookout for the “noisy” people in the AES.

He maintained that the 2013 polls are one of the best elections the country has ever had despite the technical glitches and other minor problems.

He added that he does not want to respond to the latest criticisms of AES Watch since the group is out to discredit the whole electoral system.

“The AES came out and has been talking for the last four years about so many things. I think all this time, they have been planning to undermine the elections,” Brillantes said.

Audit of poll results sought

Meanwhile, workers yesterday demanded a full, immediate and transparent audit of election results to assure voters that the recent midterm polls were credible.

Members of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said independent studies done on the recent polls showed discrepancies in elections results.

“There is something fundamentally wrong about this year’s elections. Everything is questionable – the design, the government’s actions upholding the design and precluding transparency, and the results,” KMU chair Elmer Labog said.

Labog noted that the design of the country’s automated elections was not transparent to begin with.

He stressed that votes are sacred and should therefore be counted properly.

He said only a full, immediate and transparent audit of the elections can uphold the sanctity of the people’s votes.

Gov't satisfied with conduct of midterm polls despite hitches ( | Updated May 14, 2013 - 9:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - The government expressed satisfaction today over the conduct of the 2013 midterm elections despite some hitches and violent incidents that marred Monday's exercise.

Philippine presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda lauded, in a news briefing, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its agencies for cooperating each other in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.

"By all accounts, this second automated election has proceeded in a satisfactory manner, with the system and the vast majority of machines working as they were intended," he said.

"Our institutions - from the Comelec to its deputized agencies - volunteers for poll-watching, media, and the public came together and did their utmost to ensure free, fair, and credible election," despite some isolated incidents of violence and hitches in the voting process, Lacierda said.

As the counting of the tickets was nearly completed, the Comelec was targeting to proclaim the 12 winning senators Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. local time, 48 hours since polling precincts closed on Monday.

In Mindanao, women trounce male rivals By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 20, 2013 - 12:00am

Ann Hofer and Belma Cabilao

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay , Philippines – Many female candidates won over their male rivals in different political arenas in Mindanao.

In Zamboanga Sibugay, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared Liberal Party candidates Ann Hofer and Belma Cabilao as new representatives in the first and second congressional districts. National Unity Party’s Tina Plaza and Babes Mellana topped the congressional race in Agusan del Sur’s first and second districts.

Other new female lawmakers are Arlene Bay-ao of Dinagat Island’s lone district, Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte’s 2nd district, Lilia Macrohon-Nuno of Zamboanga City’s 2nd district, Nancy Catamar of North Cotabato’s 2nd district, Balsandera Sema of Maguindanao’s 1st district, Maricar Zamora of Compostela Valley, Aurora Enerio-Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur’s 2nd district and May Pacquiao of Sarangani’s lone district.

Re-elected female governors are Sol Forcadillas-Matugas of Surigao del Norte, Daisy Fuentes of South Cotabato, Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza of Cotabato, Jum Akbar of Basilan, Herminia Ramiro of Misamis Occidental, Corazon Malanyaon of Davao Oriental, Glenn Ecleo of Dinagat Island, and Ma. Angelica Amante of Agusan del Norte.

The new female vice governors are Jinkee Pacquiao of Sarangani and Anna Almonte of Misamis Occidental.

Re-elected city mayor were Evelyn Uy of Dipolog, Cherrylin Akbar of Isabela, Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga, Rosalina Jalosjos-Johnston of Dapitan, and Rosalinda Furigay of Lamitan.

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Youngest member of Congress

At 28, Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. will be the youngest member of the 16th Congress.

He is the grandson of outgoing Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas.

Gullas Jr. ran unopposed as representative of Cebu’s first district, obtaining a total of 153,514 votes.

He will be representing the district which his grandfather has served for a cumulative 21 years, from 1969-1972, 1992-2001 and 2004-2013.

Gullas Jr. is just 70 days younger than Kalinga party-list Rep. Abigail Faye Ferriol, the youngest member of the 15th Congress.

The average age of the 287 members of the 15th Congress is 54.

The son of Gerald Anthony Gullas Sr. and Josephine Vargas is finishing a master’s degree at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Before running for Congress, he was assistant vice president for finance and administration of the 94-year-old University of the Visayas.

Cebu’s first district is comprised of three cities – Talisay, Naga and Carcar – and three municipalities: Minglanilla, San Fernando and Sibonga. – With J. A. Rimando, Paolo Romero

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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