For purposes of the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections, one of the deputized agencies of the Comelec for the administration of election laws and performance of election duties is the Department of Education. It is from this department that most members of the board of election inspectors (BEI), now the electoral board (EB), come from.
The EB is composed of a chairman, a poll clerk and a third member. They are the persons authorized to operate the vote counting machine and to perform other important duties before, during and after the election process. It is mentioned in BP 881, also known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, particularly section 164 thereof, that a board of election inspectors shall be constituted where the chairman and poll clerk must be public school teachers. Even before, public school teachers are tasked with the performance of election duties, not only because they hold the reputation of being the holders of the noblest profession, but also because of the presumption that they possess the moral character and integrity in assisting the Comelec in the implementation of laws relative to the exercise of suffrage.
In Comelec Resolution no. 10727 (General Instructions for the Constitution, Composition and Appointment of Electoral Boards xxx) , promulgated November 10, 2021, it is stated therein that a member of the EB must have never been convicted of any election offense or for any crime punishable by more than 6 months of imprisonment, or has no pending information for any election offense. The present situation would also prioritize the appointment of EBs who are fully vaccinated, without comorbidities and below 60 years old (Section 7).
A new provision is added to this resolution where members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) could be deputized as members of the EB, provided that they are trained on the operation of the Automated Election Systems (AES) and have received the proper DOST certification as a requirement for all those who will operate the vote counting machines, transmission of results and the consolidated canvassing system, in places where the peace and order situation requires it and there are no other qualified and willing persons who will render election service in the affected area (Section 32).
In all meetings of the EB and especially during election day, all IATF rules or health protocols must be strictly followed. Medical personnel will also be appointed in every voting center to assist in the Isolation Polling Place (IPP), a designated place of voting for those voters who will register a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher.
Lastly, the honoraria of the members of the EB, their support staff, DESO (DepEd Supervising Official) designated to manage a voting area, and medical personnel are as follows:
Chairperson of the EB – P7,000.00
Member of the EB – 6,000.00
DESO – 5,000.00
Support Staff – 3,000.00
Medical Personnel 3,000.00
All of them are likewise entitled to travel, communication, anti-covid allowances, as well as service credits. Other benefits would include death, medical and legal assistance and legal indemnification packages.
No matter how our EBs are compensated, their service to our country cannot be measured. The time, effort and sacrifice they give is precious, as precious as the sanctity of the ballots. Our EBs must not only be recognized as the teachers or second parents of our children, but they are also instruments deputized by the Comelec in assisting us in the proper exercise of our greatest right in a democratic government– the right of suffrage.
Please always tune in to our Election Day segment, Fridays at 9:00 o’clock in the morning at Regional Group Luzon’s Morning Balitaktakan.
***Comments or opinions mentioned in this article are made in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.