LENTE pushes for the passage of COMELEC Integrity Bill in PH

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) strongly urges the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation to expedite the passage of the "Act Strengthening the Commission on Elections," also known as the "COMELEC Integrity Bill."

The COMELEC Integrity Bill seeks to enact a simple amendment to an overlooked provision in the Omnibus Election Code (Section 55) which states that "The local government concerned shall provide a suitable place for the office of the provincial election supervisor and his staff and the election registrar and his staff." If amended, the Bill will give meaning to the constitutional guarantee of independence to the COMELEC by removing the institutional dependence of its local field offices to concerned Local Government Units for office space.

The impending adjournment of the 19th Congress underscores the urgency to prioritize legislation that fortifies the integrity and independence of COMELEC field offices. With the
2025 National and Local Elections, alongside the Ist BARMM Parliamentary Elections, it serves as a timely reinforcement, aligning seamlessly with the preparations and efforts for the implementation of the Full Automation System with Transparency Audit/Count (FASTrAC) program by COMELEC.

We echo the call made by Representative Maximo Dalog Jr., Chairperson of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Refor, during his speech at the 10th Regular Meeting of the House Committee last January 23, 2024. Rep. Dalog called on the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms to take actions that would usher in the passage of the Bill and called on the Appropriations Committee to address pending measures with appropriations provisions, which includes the COMELEC Integrity Bill.

Our sincere appreciation goes out to all Champions of the Integrity Bill in both the House and the Senate, as well as those in the Government bureaucracy working towards its realization. Your efforts are vital in strengthening our electoral system, and we thank you for your commitment.

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