'PH politicians should learn from US polls'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 07 2012 07:26 PM | Updated as of Nov 08 2012 07:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes hopes that Filipino politicians can learn from the Americans the act of conceding defeat early during elections.

Brillantes pointed out that the Philippines has more complicated election laws than the United States.

But he noted the Philippines can now come up with election results at almost the same speed as the US.

He also pointed out the difference in the atmosphere of the election days of the US and the Philippines.

In the US, citizens treat election day as an ordinary day with voters heading to poll precincts before or after office hours.

The Philippines, on the other hand, takes on a festive atmosphere on election day, which is an official holiday.

Brillantes also sarcastically pointed out how everyone is an election law expert during election season.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the Philippines can also learn lessons on early voting, stricter campaign finance rules, issue-centered campaigns, fast and quick reporting of results from the US elections.

Comelec spends P1M for US trip

Brillantes estimates that the poll body spent P1 million for the trips of Commissioners Armando Velasco and Grace Padaca to observe the recently-concluded US Presidential elections.

Brillantes said the Comelec spent for their airfare and a small allowance, which he estimates to cost $800 to $1000 each.

He expects both commissioners to be back on Sunday.

The accommodation and other expenses in the US of both commissioners, meanwhile, will be shouldered by their host, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

The poll chief expects the 2 to submit reports from their trip.

Brillantes also said Padaca told him she will focus on lectures on campaign financing, which the poll body wants to strictly implement especially now that Congress may be passing a law on financial support to political parties.

Velasco is retiring in February, and Padaca assumed office just last month.