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Official News Service of the Media Office of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
Updated: 22 min 26 sec ago

May 20 2019

Sun, 05/19/2019 - 21:00
Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Reading 1 ACTS 14:5-18

There was an attempt in Iconium
by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders,
to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
They realized it,
and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe
and to the surrounding countryside,
where they continued to proclaim the Good News.

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth,
who had never walked.
He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him,
saw that he had the faith to be healed,
and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.”
He jumped up and began to walk about.
When the crowds saw what Paul had done,
they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in human form.”
They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes,”
because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city,
brought oxen and garlands to the gates,
for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The Apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their garments
when they heard this and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
“Men, why are you doing this?
We are of the same nature as you, human beings.
We proclaim to you good news
that you should turn from these idols to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them.
In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways;
yet, in bestowing his goodness,
he did not leave himself without witness,
for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”
Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds
from offering sacrifice to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16

R.(1ab) Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your mercy, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”

R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.

R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Heaven is the heaven of the LORD,
but the earth he has given to the children of men.

R. Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 14:26

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything
and remind you of all I told you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my nameB
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.”

Today's Readings Homilies

May 19 2019

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 21:00
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Reading 1 ACTS 14:21-27

After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.”
They appointed elders for them in each church and,
with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord
in whom they had put their faith.
Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia.
After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed to Antioch,
where they had been commended to the grace of God
for the work they had now accomplished.
And when they arrived, they called the church together
and reported what God had done with them
and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.

R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.

R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Let them make known your might to the children of Adam,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 REV 21:1-5A

Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away.”

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.”

Alleluia JN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 13:31-33A, 34-35

When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Pope chooses theme for World Meeting of Families 2021

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 16:31

Attendees watch Pope Francis on a screen during the opening ceremony of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin Aug. 21, 2018. The Vatican announced the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Meeting of Families, which will be in Rome June 23-27, 2021: “Family love: a vocation and a path to holiness.” CNS/COURTESY OF JOHN McELROY, WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES

By Catholic News Service

May 18, 2019

VATICAN— Christian family life is a vocation and, when lived with fidelity, it is a path to holiness, said the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

The office May 17 announced the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next World Meeting of Families, which will be in Rome June 23-27, 2021: “Family love: A vocation and a path to holiness.”

The dicastery asked that in preparation for the meeting, families and pastoral workers read both Pope Francis’ 2016 exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” and his 2018 exhortation on the universal call to holiness, “Gaudete et Exsultate.”

“The aim is to emphasize family love as a vocation and a way to holiness and to understand and share the profound and redeeming significance of family relationships in daily life,” the dicastery said.

The love of a husband and wife and the love found within families, it said, show “the precious gift of a life together where communion is nourished and a culture of individualism, consumption and waste is averted.”

Married couples and families, the dicastery said, “demonstrate the great significance of human relationships in which joys and struggles are shared in the unfolding of daily life as people are led toward an encounter with God.”

“When lived with fidelity and perseverance,” marriage and family life “strengthens love and enables the vocation to holiness that is possessed by each individual person and expressed in conjugal and family relationships. In this sense, Christian family life is a vocation and a way to holiness, an expression of the ‘most attractive face of the church.'”

Vatican court clears official accused of solicitation in confessional

Sat, 05/18/2019 - 16:21

Austrian Father Hermann Geissler is pictured in a June 3, 2014, photo. A Vatican court acquited the Vatican official, citing lack of convincing evidence for sexual impropriety in the confessional. He was an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. CNS/COURTESY OF FSO ROME

By Carol Glatz

Catholic News Agency

May 18, 2019

VATICAN— The Vatican’s highest court cleared a Vatican official accused of the crime of solicitation in the confessional.

The court, the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican’s highest court, said May 17 that it finished an “administrative penal process” of Father Hermann Geissler, an official at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who had been accused of “a grave delict.”

Five court members convened May 15, it said in a communique, and “acquitted the defendant” because the “configuration” or appearance of the alleged crime was not “proven with the moral certitude necessary after a careful examination of the affair.”

Father Geissler, who has publicly maintained his innocence, had resigned from his job in an effort “to limit the damage already done to the congregation and to his community” and asked that a “canonical process already initiated continue,” the doctrinal office said Jan. 29.

However, the Vatican court carried out an administrative penal process, which is quicker and shorter than a full judicial process; normally the accused is often presented with the evidence and given an opportunity for self-defense, but there is no trial and no witnesses are called.

Father Geissler had been accused of a serious delict against the sanctity of the sacrament of penance — the solicitation to sin with the confessor against the sixth commandment. Such serious cases are under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but the Apostolic Signature was asked to handle the case, presumably to avoid the potential conflict of interest.

Father Geissler, a 53-year-old theologian, is a member of a community called The Spiritual Family The Work. He had worked at the congregation for 25 years and had been head of its doctrinal section since 2009.

Doris Wagner-Reisinger, a German theologian, told the National Catholic Reporter Jan. 21 that, with the help of a canon lawyer, she reported to doctrinal congregation officials in 2014 that the priest had propositioned her in 2009 during confession.

She told NCR that, after her accusation, “I got a response that stated that Father Geissler had admitted, and had asked pardon, and was admonished.”

She had talked about the unwanted encounter at a November event in Rome, which featured three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Without naming the priest involved, she had told her audience about the sexual harassment she experienced from the priest who had been her confessor when she was a nun with The Spiritual Family The Work.

May 18 2019

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 21:00
Saturday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading 1 ACTS 13:44-52

On the following sabbath
almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R.(3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 8:31B-32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to Jesus,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

Today's Readings Homilies

Faith-based group seeks independent probe on poll glitches

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 19:46

Various groups troop to the PICC Center where canvassing of votes for nationally-elected positions to call for transparency and accountability from the Commission on Elections, May 17, 2019. PHOTO FROM PMPI FACEBOOK PAGE

A faith-based group has joined calls for an independent probe of technical glitches that marred the midterm elections, fuelling suspicions of fraud.

The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) said that the Commission on Elections must be held accountable for alleged poll irregularities.

“We will not rest until a proper investigation of these allegations of a fraudulent election and conspiracy is initiated,” PMPI said.

It said that glitches on the vote counting machines are substantiated by reports from their partners in communities.

The group said that some cases have it that they voted for their chosen candidate but receipts included the name of Bong Go which was not part of their choice.

It also said that another voted 10 candidates but the receipt yielded only eight names while the ninth and tenth are just dots.

“We call on the people to come forward and report cases and experiences of election related anomalies,” PMPI said.

“We will help document cases of election related fraud and irregularities. We will remain vigilant,” it added.

PMPI is a network of people’s organizations, faith-based groups, and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.

The group also criticized the supposed inability of the Comelec to explain what caused the delay in the transmission on results on election night.

“There was no clear and thorough explanation on the so called ‘java error’ provided during the lull,” it lamented.

It also said glitches in 1,699 vote counting machines and the malfunctioning of almost a thousand SD (Secure Digital) cards “reek of inefficiency and unpreparedness”.

On Friday, PMPI joined a protest outside the PICC Center, where the Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, canvasses votes for senators and party-list groups.

“We demand accountability and transparency from the Comelec,” PMPI said.

Promote ‘culture of resurrection,’ pope tells Christian Brothers

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 18:11

Pope Francis leads an audience with members of the LaSallian Christian Brothers and children who attend their schools at the Vatican May 16, 2019. CNS/VATICAN MEDIA

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service

May 17, 2019

VATICAN— Like their founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, the Christian Brothers’ must continue their educational mission and restore life to areas where poverty and suffering have taken away the hope of a future, Pope Francis said.

Meeting with 300 members of the LaSallian Christian Brothers at the Vatican May 16, the pope encouraged them to promote a “‘culture of resurrection,’ especially in those existential contexts where the culture of death prevails.”

“Do not tire of going in search of those who find themselves in the modern ‘tombs’ of bewilderment, degradation, discomfort and poverty, to offer hope for a new life,” he said.

The Christian Brothers’ meeting with the pope coincided with the 300th anniversary of St. John Baptist de la Salle’s death.

Praising the saintly founder as a “pioneer in the field of education,” the pope said his witness was shown not only through his creation of new teaching methods, but also in his “conviction that education is a right for everyone, even the poor.”

“It was this conviction that led him to establish an original experience of consecrated life: the presence of religious educators who, without being priests, interpreted the role of ‘lay monks’ in a new way, immersing themselves totally in the reality of their time and thus contributing to the progress of civil society,” he said.

Pope Francis called on the Christian Brothers to continue in their founder’s footsteps so that they may “work with greater generosity at the service of the new evangelization in which the whole church is engaged today.”

“May you carry out with renewed vigor your mission among the younger generations, with that reform-minded boldness that characterized St. John Baptist de la Salle: proclaim to all the Gospel of hope and charity,” the pope said.

Pope’s Romania visit could heal Catholic-Orthodox relations, expert says

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 18:01

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service

Manila, Philippines


Pope John Paul II and Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist sign a joint appeal for brotherhood and coexistence in the Balkans, in Bucharest, Romania, in May 1999. The trip was a significant step toward improved relations between the Orthodox majority and the Catholic minority in Romania. CNS/L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO

VATICAN— When Pope Francis makes his 30th international trip, visiting Romania in late May, he is likely to receive a different, more reserved welcome than St. John Paul II did 20 years ago, said an expert in Catholic-Orthodox relations.

“I’m delighted that Pope Francis is able to follow in (St. John Paul II’s) footsteps and make a similar visit. It remains to be seen how well he will be received. It’s hard to predict, but we have good reason to believe that it will be a very important meeting,” Paulist Father Ronald Roberson, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, told Catholic News Service May 10.

St. John Paul’s visit to Romania in 1999 was the first by a reigning pontiff to a predominantly Orthodox country since the Great Schism of 1054 and marked a turning point in Catholic-Orthodox relations.

One of the most poignant moments of the aging pontiff’s visit came while he was celebrating an outdoor Mass on the final day of his visit to Bucharest.

“I remember the people’s cry at the eucharistic celebration in Podul Izvor Park: ‘Unity, unity!’ This is the spiritual yearning of a people asking for unity and willing to work to obtain it,” St. John Paul told Romanian bishops visiting the Vatican in 2001.

Father Roberson told CNS that St. John Paul’s visit “was very well received” and a “very encouraging” moment of dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Father Roberson, who studied in Romania for several years, said when Pope Francis visits the country May 31-June 2, he will see a Romania that has improved remarkably since the time of St. John Paul’s visit only 10 years after the fall of the country’s harsh communist regime.

“I was in Romania a couple of summers working on Romanian language courses in the days of communism and it was such an oppressive society; it was really palpable,” the Paulist said. But “I was there about a year ago for a meeting and I was able to see Bucharest and some of the other cities and it’s been a huge improvement in their situation.”

Relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches today, however, face new, challenging hurdles since the days St. John Paul heard those cries for unity 20 years ago.

The overwhelming majority — almost 82 percent — of Romania’s 20 million inhabitants say they belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. About 6 percent of the population identifies itself as Protestant and over 4 percent identify as Catholic, belonging either to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church — an Eastern rite — or to the Latin-rite church.

One of the first issues that came up after the Romanian Revolution of 1989 regarded the restitution of property taken from the Eastern-rite Catholic Church after its members were forced underground following the church’s dissolution by the communist government in 1948.

“The issues about property have mostly died down and there is not as much bad will about that as there used to be,” Father Roberson said.

Nevertheless, relations between Catholics and Orthodox in Romania “have gotten a little more intense recently,” he said.

As in many other Orthodox countries, he said, Romania is experiencing a “resurgence of a conservative wing of the church, which is really opposed to all ecumenical activity and they are very strongly opposed, for example, to Orthodox praying with Catholics.”

While the voices of those who oppose relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches must “be taken into account,” Father Roberson said that Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel may be able to open a path of dialogue between the churches.

“When he was a layman, (Patriarch Daniel) taught for many years at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute in Bossey near Geneva. So, he had that experience — a very rich experience — and I would hope that he would be open to more ecumenical relations perhaps as a result of that,” Father Roberson said.

With communism in the country gone for decades, he added, Pope Francis’ visit and his meeting with Patriarch Daniel, scheduled for May 31, could improve relations “in a spirit of freedom.”

“I think they have to take into account their own constituencies and their peoples and their own needs, and so on,” Father Roberson told CNS. “Hopefully, we can make some very positive steps forward.”

Archbishop laments ‘disturbing’ Senate race results

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 17:44

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona. PHOTO FROM THE CACERES ARCHDIOCESE FACEBOOK PAGE

By CBCP News

May 17, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Church official has lamented the “disturbing and frustrating” outcome of the senatorial elections, as he called for intensive voters’ education.

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres said that voters’ education is the key to have good leaders who can truly be public servants.

He said the situation should challenge Catholics to be “more persistent” in changing the mindset and voting preferences of the public.

“We must take seriously the voters education beginning with our youths through our Catholic schools, parishes and youth organizations,” Tirona said.

He made the statement as the senatorial race is poised to be dominated by Malacañang allies.

Nevertheless, the archbishop lauded the generally peaceful midterm elections.

He also appealed for prayers that those elected on the local and national level “must deliver what they promised during the campaign season”.

“We likewise pray and be vigilant that the important principle of check and balance may not be eradicated,” Tirona added.

“And may the elected leaders do their fresh mandate with dedication and unselfish service for the common good,” he also said.

Oppose death penalty revival, new senators urged

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 17:04

By CBCP News

May 17, 2019

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s prison ministry urged new senators to shelve proposals to reinstate the death penalty in the country’s legal system.

Mr. Rodolfo Diamante of the church’s Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said the legislators should not pass legislations just to please Malacañang.

He said that senators have been elected by the people to work for their welfare and not for President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We urge them to study the bills thoroughly and determine if they will really address the problems of our country,” he said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the revival of capital punishment for high level drug trade crime is possible with the incoming set of senators.

He made the claim as more allies of Duterte, who has been pushing for the measure, are poised to enter the next senate.

Mr. Diamante reiterated that death penalty was never been and will never be a solution to criminality.

“Moreover, it is anti-life, anti poor and will enhance only the culture of violence that is now prevailing in our country,” he warned.

“Don’t give our people a quick fix solution to our people’s problem… They deserve something better,” Mr. Diamante added.

PPCRV cool on calls to suspend proclamation of winning senators

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 21:58

PPCRV Command Center at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

By CBCP News

May 16, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A church-backed election watchdog distanced itself from calls to suspend the proclamation of winning senators in the midterm polls amid fraud allegations.

Myla Villanueva, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting chairperson, suggested getting the transparency server audit logs was an option they are looking into.

She said that such action would help them determine what caused the seven-hour election results transmission delays on Monday night.

Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Church, was among those urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to clear issues first before declaring winning senators.

“As far as we are concerned that’s not our position. We just want to deal with the logs and tell the people what happened,” said Villanueva, a digital expert.

“We are going to look at the situation… and we will make sure that we can explain it to the public after we have read the logs,” she said.

The PPCRV has also requested access from the Comelec’s central server to match its data with those in the transparency server.

“I don’t think the Comelec will deny us that because they have been very transparent with the PPCRV,” Villanueva added.

Caritas Philippines executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez earlier said that there’s a need to resolve the issues “by an independent and impartial investigation”.

“Smartmatic and Comelec should be the subject of investigation,” Gariguez said.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, said that they can’t heed such calls only because of a mere allegation.

“If an allegation of fraud were enough to suspend a proclamation then there would never be any proclamations … It’s not conducive to orderly elections,” he said.
PPCRV to look into poll glitches Posted: May 15, 2019 | 0 comments

Volunteers at the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) command center in Manila continue the manual encoding of the printed election results May 15.

By CBCP News

May 15, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A church-backed poll watchdog has requested data from the transparency server of the Commission on Elections amid glitches. 

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said the situation calls for transparency to erase doubts among the people. 

Myla Villanueva, PPCRV chairperson, said the data would help them determine if the data will match with results from the central server. 

“For me as a tech person, what is important is to see why it happened in the first place. Second, the data from the central and transparency server should match,” Villanueva said.

But she said they would wait for the right time “because that is post-forensic”. 

“It is a way of auditing,” Villanueva said. “We do not want to disrupt the transparency server because it is still receiving data.” 

Logs 

The PPCRV would also like to see the logs of transparency server which stopped sending election results for several hours on Monday night. 

“We will insist on the logs,” Villanueva said. 

“This has never happened before. That’s why I want to see the logs in order that we can avoid it ever happening again,” she added.

The delay in transmission raised public concern and fuelled speculation that there might be tampering of votes.

The PPCRV also asked the poll body to allow stakeholders and independent groups to document any troubleshooting of the transparency server. 

Villanueva said they would share their recording with the information technology community for them to further scrutinize the data.

As of 2pm May 15, the transparency server shows that 84,633 out of 85,769 clustered precincts have been counted. 

The PPCRV, meanwhile, has received around 10 percent of physical election returns, mostly from the cities in Metro Manila. 

Suspend proclamation of senators 

For the Church’s social justice arm, the Comelec must suspend the proclamation of senators until allegations of election fraud is cleared. 

Caritas Philippines particularly demanded for an independent and impartial investigation into the allegations. 

“We are calling to suspend the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates until the allegation of fraud is resolved,” said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas executive secretary. 

The bold call was made after reports of possible fraud were received by Caritas due to major technical glitches involving vote counting machines and transparency servers. 

In 2016, only 188 VCMs were reported to malfunction nationwide. In 2019, this number increased to 400-600 VCMs.

Unresolved issues

Earlier, the Automated Election System (AES) Watch stated that “unless glaring vulnerabilities of the automated election system and the non-compliance of the critical provisions of RA 9369 are resolved, the 2019 elections will create credibility issues.”

It said that major constraints left unresolved by Comelec and Smartmatic  are the absence of public access to election data, the lack of comprehensive and credible source code review, and the lack of digital signatures.

The Comelec, since September 2018, has initiated 82 enhancements of the automated machines to ensure integrity and accuracy of the 2019 mid-term elections.

 “However, we have seen how some of these enhancements still failed during the May 13 elections resulting to the alarming perception of election fraud,” quipped Gariguez.

 “Therefore, it is but imperative for the Comelec to postpone the proclamation of the winners for the senatorial race until the alleged fraud-tainted results are validated and cleared,” he said. 

Father of Knights of Columbus in the Philippines

 

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