Election watchdog LENTE kickstarts voter-centered campaign #ATINangEleksyon

ATINangEleksyon,Election2016 January 22, 2016 10:40 AM

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Election watchdog LENTE kickstarts voter-centered campaign #ATINangEleksyon

#ATINangEleksyon breaks down principles of genuine elections
so voters can evaluate and monitor the electoral process

 

MANILA, Philippines (January 21, 2016) – The elections are at the heart of any democracy, and the conduct of elections is quite reflective of how citizens and democratic freedoms and processes are regarded in the country.

More than just mere execution of the electoral process, the success of the elections must be based on whether they inspire national public confidence or not. Public confidence, according to elections expert Patrick Merloe, is the degree of trust that citizens put in their government and its authorities, whose capacity and expertise place them in a privileged position to ensure that electoral rights are respected and the will of the electors is accurately determined and honored.

“This means that elections without massive failure would not cut it anymore,” said Atty. Rona Ann V. Caritos, Executive Director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE). “We have to keep improving, and must focus on making citizens feel confident in their resolve that their choices, as represented by their votes, are reflected fairly in the results of the elections. They must also trust electoral authorities to perform their duties impartially and effectively.”

 

National public confidence and the principles of genuine elections

The citizens’ level of trust in the electoral system is influenced by how the principles of accountability, transparency and inclusiveness are carried out during elections.

“When people see election offenders getting prosecuted and made accountable for their actions, when all relevant information about the elections and the candidates are out in public to be analyzed and scrutinized, and when all eligible voter can cast their votes on Election Day, then public confidence will increase and they are likely to join the next elections and other forms of civic participation,” said Atty. KenjieAman, LENTE’s Director for Legal and Policy Affairs.

In the 2013 Midterm Elections, LENTE claimed there were no genuine elections as its volunteers observed less commitment, if at all, in adhering to these principles, which are the international standards for democratic nations.

“Voting is the citizens’ most direct and effective way of influencing how the country is run, and it must be very clear to them what they must demand from the stewards of this political exercise,” said Atty. Rosario Setias-Reyes, national president and chairman of the board of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the chairman of LENTE’s executive board.

 

#ATINangEleksyon: voter-centered campaign for the 2016 Elections

In this light, LENTE will roll out #ATINangEleksyon: a voter-centered campaign that empowers and enlightens citizens as they evaluate how the principles of Accountability, Transparency, and Inclusiveness affect National public confidence.

The principles are not mutually exclusive, and for LENTE, are in fact connected to each other:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY is being responsible and answerable to a certain wrongdoing, and necessarily involves provision for effective remedies for violations. To be effective, any remedy must address the harm created by the violation of electoral rights and cure the harm in a timely manner.

 

  • TRANSPARENCY means that all information on the electoral process be open to public knowledge and scrutiny. The principle of transparency is central when considering the ever-growing scale at which electronic technologies are used in electoral processes—from registration and canvassing to transmission.

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights state that it is not possible to know whether the government sincerely protects its people’s right to be elected and to vote unless electoral processes are transparent.

  • INCLUSIVENESS is maximizing the opportunity for and protecting universal suffrage when every eligible citizen is allowed to vote, while limiting any chances for ineligible people to vote and dilute the weight of legally cast ballots.
  • NATIONAL PUBLIC CONFIDENCE is the degree of trust that citizens put in their government and its authorities

LENTE will break down how citizens can contribute to the conduct of genuine elections using multimedia content, various training of trainers and volunteers, and localized debates. These will be distributed and implemented with the support and expertise of its partners, including Task Force 2016 and Bantay Karapatan sa Halalan.

As an election watchdog founded in response to systematic fraud, LENTE commits to advocating for an elections conducted in such standards, upholding citizens’ basic human rights, and ultimately reflecting no less than the will of the people.

 

References:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://bit.ly/UDHR1948)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (http://bit.ly/ICCPR1966)

Republic Act 9369, Section 11. (http://bit.ly/RA9369-2007)

– end –

 

ABOUT LENTE PHILIPPINES

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) is established in 2007 in response to widescale and systematic fraud during the past elections. LENTE is the first and only non-partisan, nationwide network of lawyers, law students, paralegals and other trained volunteers engaged to do election work. Aside from monitoring the canvassing of tallied votes in cities, municipalities, and provinces around the country, LENTE provides must-know information on election laws and punishable offenses, and voters’ rights in general.

 

For media inquiries, please contact:

Atty. Rona Ann V. Caritos, lente.philippines@gmail.com / 0917-6023228 / 0917-5760810

 

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