DUTERTE & SARA'S CHOICE TOPS SENATORIAL ELECTIONS IN THE MIDWEST
© 2019 By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
CHICAGO (JGL) — President Duterte and his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio-backed senatorial candidates dominated the senatorial elections in the Midwest, according to partial and
unofficial returns during the counting of votes at the Philippine Consulate General of the Midwest in Chicago, Illinois last Monday (May 13, 2019).
Leading the vote-getters for the senatorial candidates are re-electionist Sen. Pia Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party (NP) with 217 votes and former PNP Chief Gen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa of the PDP Laban Party (PDPLBN) with 197 votes in two cluster precinct Nos. 0074A and 0077A with 1,000 and 501 registered voters. But only 241 voted in Precinct 0074A while only 107 voted in Precinct No. 0077A. There are 21 cluster precincts in the Chicago post.
The others making it to the top 12 winning circle are Doc Willie Ong (LAKAS), 192 votes; incumbent re-electionist Sen. Cynthia Villar (NP), 186; former Presidential Assistant Bong Go Go (PDPLBN), 181; incumbent re-electionist Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, III, 172; Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (NP) 171; and incumbent re-electionist Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara of Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) tied with former Presidential Assistant Francis Tolentino (PDPLBN) with 162 votes. Incumbent re-electionist Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV, 129, and former Sec. Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas, 126, both of the Liberal Party (LP) and with "Otso Deretso" team endorsed by Vice President Leni Robredo, and incumbent re-electionist Sen. Grace Poe (IND), 123, made it to the "magic 12."
CHECKING A BALLOT:
CONSUL MELCHOR P. Lalunio, Jr., Special Board of Election Chair, signs a ballot after unsealing it from a mail envelop before it is batch-fed into the Voting Counting Machine (VCM). (JGLPhoto by Manny Zambrano)
Except for Messrs. Bam Aquino and Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party and Sen. Grace Poe, the rest of those in the top 12 senatorial candidates were endorsed by Mr. Duterte and Mayor Duterte under the Hugpong ng Pagbabagong regional party.
Bringing up the rear are Sergio Osmena (IND), 120; Atty. Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada (LP), 103; Atty. Glenn Chong (KDP), 100; former Sec. Raffy Alunan (BGBYN), 90; former Sen. Lito Lapid (NPC), 85; Macaromy Macalintal (IND), 85; Congressman Gary Alejano (LP), 82 and Atty. Larry Gadon (KBL) with both 82 votes; and former Congressman Zajid Dong Mangudadato (PDPLBN).
Re-electionist Sen. JV Ejercito (NPC), 77 votes; Regional Legislative Assembly member of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, 75; former Solicitor Gen. Florence “Pilo” Hilbay (AKSYON), 72; Neri Colmenares (UNA) and former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. (LAKAS), both 49 votes; Singer Freddie Aguilar (IND), 39, and school teacher Agnes Escudero IND), 35.
THE VOTING COUNTING Machine (VCM) is being activated by placing a key at right to turn on the machine. (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
Leading the candidates for party-list parties are Senior Citizens with 45 votes; ACT-CIS, 35; Magdalo, 22; AA KASOSYO, 21; Bayan Muna, 17; Duterte Youth, 15; ANG NARS, 13; OFW FAMILY, 10; MAGSASAKA, 9; CIBAC, 7; AKO BISAYA & 1 PACMAN share 6 votes; and APPEND, 5. For a nominee of a party to become a Congressman, his party must collect at least 2% of the national votes.
Unlike the last 2016 presidential elections in the Philippine Consulate in Chicago when mixed personal and postal automated election systems (AES) were adopted in the counting of votes, in last Monday’s elections, the Chicago Philippine Consulate was one of the consulates around the nation and the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., which adopted the postal AES, where ballots were snail-mailed to the Consulates and the Embassy and batch-fed the ballots into the Voting Counting Machines, according to Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., chair of the Special Board of Elections in the Philippine Consulate in Chicago.
Under the Postal (manual), voters mail their ballots to their respective voting posts and votes are counted manually by Comelec-designated officials.
Under the Postal (AES), voters mail their ballots to their respective voting posts and Comelec-designated officials feed their ballots into the Voting Counting Machines (VCM’s).
Under Personal (manual), voters appear at their respective voting posts and votes are counted manually by Comelec-designated officials. And
Under Personal (AES), voters appear at their respective voting posts and Comelec-designated officials feed their ballots into VCM’s.
EMMANUEL MILANTE, Special Board of Elections Inspector (1) member, feeds a ballot into the Voting Counting Machine (VCM) as SBEI (1) poll clerk Ceasar Balarbar looks on while journalist Joseph G. Lariosa trains his video camera on the process. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
Postal AES is adopted in the Midwest because the majority of the voters reside away from Chicago post. But if the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago will adopt the dual mode of Postal and Personal AES, those voters near Chicago who want to go to the Consulate and witness Comelec-designated officials to feed or batch-feed their votes into the VCM’s, the process will be more welcome as it promotes confidence and transparency than just witness-less feeding or batch-feeding of ballots into the VCM’s.
To make the process more palatable and more transparent, for those voting in person if they are the first voters, they should be allowed to inspect the Secure Digital (SD) or Micro SD Cards if they are empty of any contents and data before his ballot is fed into the VCM to dispel any suspicion that the SD cards coming from the home office of the Comelec are pre-loaded with filled-up ovals of the candidates.
BEFORE WE START:
DEPUTY CONSUL General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., Special Board of Election Chair, is about to place a key on the Voting Counting Machine (VCM) to activate it as Consul Mel Lalunio, Jr., (from right), SBEI Chair, Fritz John de Jesus, SBEI (2) member, and Ceasar Balarbar, SBEI (1) poll clerk, look on. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
The ability of the first voter to inspect the SD cards should be widely disseminated by the Commission on Elections so Filipino Overseas voters are aware of their rights. And since there are many SD cards sent to various posts overseas, the first SD card to be used by the voter should be chosen in random from different SD cards like raffle drawing. The voter must have the ability to list down the serial number or marker or barcode of the card so in case there is an audit in the future, the SD card the voter listed down can easily be traced to determine its integrity.
The voting last Monday at 5:30 a.m. went ahead without a hitch. Gone were the days when Comelec-designated officials will count one by one and announce the names of the candidates and the names of the candidates were listed on the board as part of the vote counting. The process was too tedious, it took more than the whole day to finish the counting.
ELECTION RETURN GENERATION:
DEPUTY CONSUL General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., Special Board of Election Chair, takes a look at the election return of the ballot coughed up by the Voting Counting Machine after the latter was fed the into the VCM as Consul Lalunio, Jr., (counterclockwise), Fritz John de Jesus, Ceasar Balarbar and Emmanuel Milante look on. (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
This time the batch-feeding of ballots lasted about 20 hours but the disclosure of the results was delayed as the SD cards of all the Consulates were taken to the Philippine Embassy, which will sort out and consolidate all the results and announce the final tally simultaneously.
Except for an FOV who thought the deadline of voting was 5:00 p.m. Central Time, instead of 5:00 a.m., Central Time, Monday, the counting of votes in the Philippine Consulate led by Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin went ahead without incident. The late ballot was no longer counted as it was received past the 5:00 a.m. deadline, which is synchronized with the 6 p.m. closing of the voting in the Philippines.
READING TALLY SHEET:
CONSUL MEL P. Lalunio, Jr., Special Board of Election Chair, reads the names of the candidates and their corresponding votes for senators and party-list parties from the first ballot receipt generated by the Voting Counting Machine (VCM) inside the Maharlika Hall of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois on Monday (April 13) morning. (JGL Photo by Manny Zambrano)
The FOV, who refused to be identified, said he just came from work but decided to hand carry his ballot, instead of snail-mailing it weeks before to the Consulate. He thought he still had plenty of time to spare. Most of the FOV’s mailed in their ballots to the Consulate by placing stamps on their ballot envelopes. The FOV’s are usually located far away from the Consulate.
Ms. Jamoralin said the Consulate still expects more ballots in the mail but these will no longer be counted.
CONSUL GENERAL Gina A. Jamoralin (extreme right) oversees Deputy Consul Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr. (extreme left) and SBEI (1) Poll Clerk Ceasar Balarbar as the latter two are about to affix their signature on the tally sheet summing up the votes from a ballot box. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
There were 4,582 registered voters who voted last Monday out of 20,344 voters or 23% turnout. They are fewer than the 5,320 votes who turned up in the 2016 presidential elections when there were 12,684 registered voters or a 42% turnout. The lesser turnout is expected as mid-term elections do not attract as many voters as presidential elections.
ELECT ONLY 12 SENATORS, 1 PARTY-LIST PARTY
For Mid-term elections like the one held last Monday and the Presidential elections, FOV’s only elect 12 senators and one party-list party.
ATTY. ALVAR ROSALES, Administrative Officer of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois, affixes his signature at a voter’s tally sheet coughed up by the Voting Counting Machine (VCM) as do Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr. and Cesar Balarbar behind him. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
There were suggestions that in order to attract more FOV’s to go out and vote, candidates to be elected should also include local government officials, including mayors and governors, of cities and towns where the FOV’s were born or had last resided. And Comelec should also allocate funds for advertising to increase awareness of the deadlines that FOV’s need to know in a timely manner. Media cannot accommodate all the press releases of the Comelec without jeopardizing their bottom lines as advertising is their lifeline to survive.
There is no word yet how many ballots were late, are considered stray or spoiled ballots as a result of over-voting or other reasons.
CONSUL GENERAL Gina A. Jamoralin (third from left, standing) and her staff takes a pause with her staff, who stood and worked overnight Monday (May 13) to sort, batch-feed, and tally the thousands of ballots from the Filipino Overseas Voters (FOV’s) to culminate their month-long work accepting and processing the ballots during the mid-term elections. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
DURING VOTING PERIOD, EMBASSIES/CONSULATE OPEN ON WEEKENDS
This time, the Comelec authorized Philippine Embassies and Consulates around the world to be open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. to accommodate those who opted to vote in person and to receive completed ballots. On weekends, the Embassy/Consulate was open from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. to receive filled-out ballots only.
CHECKING VOTERS LISTS:
CONSULAR Staff (from left, clockwise) Jacqueline Cuevas, Jose Erandio, Sheridan Sabeniano and Noly C. Dulay check and validate the names and signatures of the voters who returned their ballots Monday (May 13) during the counting of votes in the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
The Comelec also allowed batch feeding of ballots into the Voting Counting Machines (VCM’s) on Mondays and Thursdays within the voting period that started on April 13 until the election day on May 13, 2019.
The total number of registered overseas voters in the U.S for the midterm elections is 241,851, an increase from the 191,261 voters in 2016 of whom 53,158 (or 27.79%) voted.
LATE ON ARRIVAL:
THIS BALLOT envelope being held by Arnel Santiago of the Philippine Consulate arrived in the Philippine Consulate after the close of the submission of the ballots at 5 a.m. Monday, May 13. The ballot will no longer be counted. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
The FOV’s who registered to vote in the Chicago Philippine Consulate reside in the Midwest states that include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Last May 3rd, the Philippine Consulate received 1637 electoral mails that were returned to sender by the US Postal Service for various reasons.
THE MAHARLIKA HALL of the Philippine Consulate General had become virtually off-limits to the public during the past month as it has been a beehive of election-related activities and the storage area of sensitive equipment, including four Voting Counter Machines, until the election day when the media accredited by the Commission on Elections, including this reporter and Manny Zambrano of Philippine Weekly, were allowed to document the elections activities throughout the day on Monday, May 13. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
RTS MAIL OWNERS TOLD TO CLAIM BALLOTS IN EMBASSIES/CONSULATES
Owners of returned-to-sender mails were advised to appear or either claim their ballots at the Consulate General or request that their ballots be forwarded to their current addresses.
This list was updated one last time on Friday, May 10. Those who wished to pick up their ballots were advised to come to the Consulate General Monday through Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until Sunday, May 12.
AFTER A HARD DAY'S NIGHT:
OFFICERS and staff led by Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin (eighth from right) pose for a souvenir near the end of the counting of votes during the mid-term elections Monday (May 13) night in the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, Illinois. Others in photo from left are Cornelio “Arnel” Santiago, Wenilyn Capote, Leila Imperial, Emmanuel Milante, Radegunda Dela Cruz, Fritz John de Jesus, Consul Melchor Lalunio, Jr., Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., Noly C. Dulay, Atty. Alvar Rosales, Caesar Balarbar, Ragan Maning, Sheridan Sabeniano and and Consul Ryan Gener. Not in photo are Jerwyn Mamalateo, Jaqueline Cuevas and Jose Erandio. (JGL Photo by MANNY ZAMBRANO)
Overseas Voting for purposes of the 2019 national elections has started on Saturday, April 13, and to end on Monday, May 13, at 5:00 a.m. (6:00 p.m. Philippine Standard Time). All ballots received beyond the deadline are deemed invalid and will not be counted.
The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago issued a press release dated Feb. 26, 2019, announcing that it was now accepting applications for accreditation of Filipino Community organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and Mass Media Representatives for the conduct of Overseas Voting for May 13, 2019, but only the philamessenger.com applied and was issued media accreditation. Deadline for applications was set from Feb. 15 to March 31, 2019. There was no watcher present on behalf of any political party last Monday.
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