Comelec mulls extension of voter registration

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) is reviewing a possible extension of the voter registration period the postponement of the filing of candidates’ certificate of candidacy (COC) for the mid-term elections next year.
In a social media post on Thursday, Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez said, “Subsequent activities are currently being reviewed for possible schedule adjustments as needed, as a result of moving the COC filing period to 11-17 Oct 2018.”
Comelec moved the COC filing period for the national and local polls after Congress issued House Concurrent Resolution No. 20 earlier this week.
The resolution requested Comelec to reschedule the COC filing to give Congress time to finalize next year’s national budget and discuss priority bills.
Opposition lawmakers also filed a resolution asking Comelec to reschedule the deadline of voter registration from Sept. 29 this year to Jan. 2019.
Comelec reported last June that it expects almost two million people to register this year for the 2019 elections. — Gillian M. Cortez

Palace downplays ‘wiretapping’ issue

MALACAÑANG ON Thursday downplayed allegations that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s use of wiretapped information against his critics could be an impeachable offense.
In a televised press conference last Wednesday, opposition lawmaker Gary C. Alejano said, “It seems that the President is allowing a foreign country to intervene with the communication of the Filipino people.”
“That is a breach of security already in our country. And if it is the President allowing this by publicly announcing that there is intercepted communication within the country, [that’s] problematic ‘yun assuming it’s true…We have Anti-Wiretapping Law. And if he is allowing it, he is violating the law,” he added.
The Magdalo Party-list representative also said that this could be a ground for the President’s “impeachment.”
Sought for comment during a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said, “Let him file another impeachment complaint, wala rin namang mangyayari diyan kasi wala naman talagang saysay (It will not prosper anyway because it’s pointless).”
In an interview with Radyo Singko, he explained in Filipino that the President did not order the wiretapping, that it is a given that all foreign embassies gather intelligence as part of their work, and that the information was voluntarily given to Mr. Duterte.
“Well, sa panahon na ito talaga, dahil sa teknolohiya, talagang maraming pagsubok pagdating doon sa karapatan natin na magkaroon ng privacy sa ating komunikasyon. Pero importante rito, unang-una, hindi si Presidente ang nag-order ng wiretapping. Pangalawa, dapat maintindihan ng lahat na lahat ng delegasyon, lahat ng mga dayuhan na may embahada rito ay talagang isa na sa tanggap na trabaho nila ay kumuha ng Intel ‘no. At pangatlo, boluntaryong ibinigay iyan kay Presidente. At siya naman, nais nga niyang i-share iyan sa ating taumbayan kaya nga po mayroon ng proseso na pinapa-declassify iyang impormasyon na iyan,” he said.
As for reports that he was one of the individuals who signed the petition urging former president Benigno S.C. Aquino III to grant an amnesty to Antonio F. Trillanes IV, Mr. Roque said, “I do not deny that. In fact, I have openly admitted that at some point in time, I supported Trillanes and I considered him as a friend. We parted ways noong tuluyan siyang naging dilaw (when he became a ‘Yellow’ (Aquino) follower).” — Arjay L. Balinbin