Officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) signed a historic Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on May 5, 2022, agreeing to work and collaborate with each other in educating the public on voter and election-related concerns, protecting the sanctity of the ballot and in monitoring and maintaining the rule of law during the upcoming national elections.
As a whole, the parties will work together to educate the public on the most committed offenses, monitor election irregularities and election offenses, and provide legal assistance to the electoral board members, teachers, and voters encountering problems or reporting election offenses.
For its part, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines will extend free legal assistance to the COMELEC and its officers, the Board of Election Inspectors, Board of Canvassers, teachers, and the voters during the pre-election, election, and post-election days through help desks set up by its chapters throughout the country. The said free legal assistance shall include, but is not limited to the following:
- Answering legal queries and providing informed legal opinions about voters’ rights and remedies;
- Assisting in the drafting and notarization of complaints, affidavits, and other election-related legal documents and pleadings; and
- Coordinating with the Electoral Board Members and the Department of Education Supervising Official (DESO) of the voting centers in maintaining the orderly conduct of elections.
Moreover, IBP will also work closely with COMELEC’s Task Force Kontra Bigay by gathering complaints of vote buying during the election period. In support, LENTE, through its volunteers and local law school chapters, will work closely with the IBP in monitoring the elections as a whole. Accordingly, LENTE shall coordinate and consult with COMELEC and the IBP for the conduct of a nationwide campaign for voters’ education and dissemination of election-related information.