Republic of the Philippines
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
Manila

EN BANC

SPP Case No. 10-009               April 27, 2010

IN RE: PETITION FOR ACCREDITATION AS COMELEC'S CITIZEN ARM FOR THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS SET ON MAY 10, 2010.

ONE VOTE MOVEMENT REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT PASTOR JOSE GONZALES, Petitioner

R E S O L U T I O N

Before Us is a Petition1 filed by petitioner One Vote Movement seeking for accreditation as citizen's arm of the Commission in connection with the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections.

In the petition filed on March 11, 2010, petitioners alleges inter alia that:

"1. Petitioner is a bonafide national, primarily congregationally based, non-partisan citizenís movement duly organized and composed of members drawn from various sectors of the Philippine society for the purpose of campaigning for an honest, meaningful, peaceful and automated elections. It holds office at Suite 200, Gil-Preciosa Bldg., # 75 Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

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3. One Vote Movement has a mass-based constituency composed of various national organizations such as the Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church headed by Bishop Reuben Abante, Balikatan Peopleís Alliance headed by its National Chairman Louie Baylosis-Balbago with 64 organizations under it and around 600,000 members nationwide, Members of VoteNet i.e., Alliance of Christian Development Agencies (ACDA), Ating Siyasatin, Ihalal Natin (ASIN), Christian Convergence for Good Governance (CCGG), Community of Independent Churches of the Philippines (CICP), Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC), Heal Our Land Movement, Institute for Studies in Asian Churches and Culture (ISACC), Master Lighthouse Foundation, National Movement for Righteousness and Transformation (N-MRT), Philippine Bible Society, Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ PCCC, Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Philippine Ministerial Fellowship Network (PhilMiFen), Voteright, the Fellowship of Christians in Government (FOCIG), Capitol Christian Fellowship (CCL), as well as individuals of voting age and registered voters with operating chapters based in various congregations in provinces, cities, and municipalities throughout the nation which abide by the mission, vision and goal of the movement and of the COMELEC.

4. Prior to its incorporation, its member organizations have done their respective part towards an honest, meaningful and peaceful elections such as the activities conducted by Balikatan during the 2004 and 2007 and Voteright during the 2007 elections. Immediately upon its incorporation, the movement has done several nonpartisan activities such as voterís education.

5. As regards the voterís education, it has and will continue to help educate voters or automated elections system through audio and video, primarily adopting the "Electvoiceí program of the Comelec Law Department. Moreover, part of its program is to have a Presidential Forum under VoteNet on April 24, 2010 tentatively at Araneta Coliseum entitled: "Silip Sa Puso".

6. Should petitioner be accredited as a citizenís arm, it shall make the following commitment:

(a.) It shall not support any candidate, political party, organization or coalition of political parties involved on the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections;

(b.) It shall remain strictly non-partisan and impartial during the entire electoral exercises;

(c.) It is not (sic) supported by or under the influence of any foreign government or any of its instrumentalities, or of any foreign support, natural or juridical;

(d.) It shall not solicit or receive directly or indirectly, any contribution or aid of whatever form of nature from any foreign government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or from any foreign, whether natural or juridical, in its monitoring of the conduct of elections;

(e.) It does not seek to achieve its objectives, goals or programs through violence of other unlawful means, nor aim to propagate any ideology opposed to the principles of a republican and democratic government, and that it will undertake to police its ranks and prevent infiltration by persons or group of persons who may, directly or indirectly, destroy its character of non-partisanship and impartially."

Petitioner prays for accreditation as a citizenís arm of the Commission for the purposes of voterís education and poll watching in connection with the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections. It also requests for a soft copy of the Computerized Voterís List which will allegedly used for effective discharge of its function, particularly on voterís assistance. The following documents were submitted by petitioner to support its petition, to wit: 1) Certificate of Incorporation;2 2) Articles of Incorporation;3 3) List of Lighthouse Bible Baptist Churches and related ministries;4 4) List of Coordinators for the Balikatan Peopleís Alliance.5

On March 17, 2010, the Commission en banc issued an Order6 directing the petitioner to cause publication of the petition with the afore-mentioned order in a newspaper of general circulation at its own expense. The latter was notified of the hearing scheduled on March 23, 2010 at 2 oíclock in the afternoon at the Comelec Session Hall, 8th Floor, Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros, Manila.

During the scheduled hearing, counsel for petitioner, Atty. Eduardo V. Bringas presented several documents to establish compliance with the jurisdictional requirements and asked for time within which to file his position paper. Petitioner was given three (3) days within which to file his position paper.

We rule.

One Vote Movement has sufficiently established that it has complied with the stringent requirements for accreditation as prescribed under Rule 33 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure. Hence, the Commission resolves to accredit One Vote Movement as citizenís arm of the Commission for the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local Elections pursuant to Section 2(5) of Article IX (C) of the 1987 Constitution7 and Section 52 (k) of the Omnibus Election Code8 as amended, and other election laws. It must assist the Commission in voterís information and values education.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for accreditation is hereby GRANTED, subject to the following conditions:

a) That it shall be subject to the direct immediate control of the Commission and shall comply with all lawful orders of the Commission in the performance of its specific functions and activities as provided in Section 52 (k) of the Omnibus Election Code, and such other functions an activities which the Commission may assign to it;

b) That it shall be non-partisan and impartial during the election period;

c) That it shall not be under the influence whatsoever of any foreign government corporation, or entity and shall not solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any contribution or aid of whatever form or nature from any government, corporation or entity, and that neither shall said organization nor any of its members seek to achieve its objectives or programs through violence, or aim to propagate any ideology opposed to the principles of a republican and prevent infiltration by persons;

d) That it shall undertake to police its ranks and prevent infiltration by persons or group of persons who may, directly or indirectly, destroy its character of impartiality;

e) That it shall submit to the Commission a list of its responsible officials and other officers constituting its board and there shall be no changes therein without the approval of the Commission;1avvphi1

f) That it shall make available to the Commission its personnel, facilities, equipment, papers and effects and coordinate its activity with other accredited citizenís arm of the Commission;

g) That it shall submit a weekly report of its operations during the period of the May 10, 2010 Automated National and Local elections;

h) That this accreditation shall be deemed automatically revoked in case it violates any of the conditions herein see forth.

The Executive Director of the Commission in coordinate with the Clerk of the Commission shall implement this Resolution immediately upon its promulgation, furnishing copies thereof to all field officers nationwide including the candidates.

The Education and Information Department shall cause the publication of this Resolution in two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation.

SO ORDERED.

RENE V. SARMIENTO
Commissioner

WE CONCUR:

JOSE A. R. MELO
Chairman

NICODEMO T. FERRER
Commissioner
LUCENITO N. TAGLE
Commissioner
ARMANDO C. VELASCO
Commissioner
ELIAS R. YUSOPH
Commissioner

GREGORIO Y. LARRAZABAL
Commissioner

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

I hereby certify that the conclusions in the above resolution were reached in consultation among the members of the Commission before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Commission (En Banc).

JOSE A. R. MELO
Chairman


Footnotes

1 Records, COMELEC Original Case Folder, pages 1 to 5.

2 Records, COMELEC Original Case Folder, page 9.

3 Ibid, pages 11 to 20.

4 Ibid, pages 21 to 25.

5 Ibid, pages 26 to 29.

6 Ibid, pages 32.

7 "Section 2. The Commission on elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

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(5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform of government: and accredit citizen's arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered, those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign government shall likewise be refused registration "(Emphasis supplied)

8 Sec. 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. - In addition to the powers and functions conferred upon it by the Constitution the Commission shall have exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of the lections for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections, and shall;

(k) Enlist non-partisan group of organizations of citizens from the civic, youth, professional, educational, business or labor sectors known for their probity, impartiality and integrity with the membership and capability to undertake a coordinated operation and activity to assist it in the implementation of the provisions of this Code and the resolutions, orders and instructions of the Commission for the purpose of entrusting free, orderly and honest elections in any constituency. xxx"


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