Commission on Elections

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The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is the Philippine government agency tasked to enforce and administer laws and regulations concerning the conduct of elections.[1] A constitutional commission that is independent from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, it is specifically tasked to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair, and honest manner.[2]

The main office of COMELEC is located in within the Palacio del Gobernador Building in Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila.

Functions

The official seal of the Commission on Elections, the Philippine constitutional commission tasked to conduct elections. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Commission on Elections - National Historical Commission of the Philippines)

The COMELEC is mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution with the following functions:[3]

  1. Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of and elections, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.
  2. Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or involving elective barangay official decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
  3. Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.
  4. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purposes of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful credible elections.
  5. Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, of coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and accredit citizens arms of the Commission on Elections.
  6. File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of elections laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
  7. Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidates.
  8. Recommend to the President the removal of any officer of employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.
  9. Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

History

Prior to the creation of COMELEC, the conduct of elections was supervised by the Executive Bureau, an office within the Department of Interior.[4] Later, when the Executive Bureau was abolished, its functions were vested to the Department itself.[5]

Fearing that the fact that the President appoints the Secretary of Interior, which in turn might affect the impartiality in the conduct of elections, the National Assembly proposed an amendment in the 1935 Constitution wherein a Commission of Elections will be created.[6] The amendment was supposed to be presented and voted upon by the Filipinos in a plebiscite scheduled on June 17, 1940, but the 1940 elections led the National Assembly to pass into law Commonwealth Act No. 607 which creates a provisional Commission on Elections.[7] The provisional commission immediately functioned on September 14, 1940, and supervised the elections which was held on December 10, 1940.[8]

Eventually, the constitutional amendment creating the commission was finally approved on December 2, 1940, and on June 21, 1941 the commission was reorganized into a constitutional commission through Commonwealth Act No. 657.[9] The membership of the commission was then enlarged in the 1973 Constitution from three to nine commissioners, but reduced their term of office from nine to seven years.[10]

Officials

  • Chairman: Sheriff M. Abas
  • Commissioners: Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon, Socorro B. Inting, Marlon S. Casquejo, Antonio T. Kho Jr.

References

  1. Commission on Elections, "Organizational Info," accessed January 8, 2020, https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=AboutCOMELEC/OrganizationalInfo
  2. Commission on Elections, "Organizational Info."
  3. Commission on Elections, "Mandated Functions," accessed January 8, 2020, https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=AboutCOMELEC/MandatedFunctions
  4. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background," accessed January 8, 2021, https://comelec.gov.ph/?r=AboutCOMELEC/HistoricalBackground
  5. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."
  6. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."
  7. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."
  8. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."
  9. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."
  10. Commission on Elections, "Historical Background."

External links

Citation

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