National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections

National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections
National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)
Type Non-profit
Founded 1983
Location Philippines
Key people Jose Cuisia Jr.
Vicente Jayme
Services Democracy reform in the Philippines
Method Media attention, advocacy, research, activism
Motto It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

The National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections or NAMFREL is an election watchdog in the Philippines. It was founded by Jose S. Concepcion, Jr. NAMFREL was formally organized in October 1983 as an offshoot of the New Voters Registration Committee, which was formed in the 1960s. It currently has the support of more than 140 benefactors and 125 organizations. Its current chairperson is Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. Former acting Namfrel Chairman Vicente Jayme is the senior adviser of the national council.

NAMFREL's goal is to ensure "free, orderly and honest elections" in the Philippines. It is a non-partisan organization with over 250,000 member-volunteers from different religious, civic, business, professional, labor, youth, educational, and non-government organizations.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has accredited NAMFREL as its "citizens' arm" since 1986 to conduct manual parallel counts, which it called "Operation Quick Count." In 1986, NAMFREL mobilized 500,000 volunteers nationwide to guard the snap presidential elections. President Ferdinand Marcos declared himself the winner of the election; the NAMFREL count, however, showed that Corazon Aquino won. In the days that followed, the EDSA People Power revolt took place, sweeping Aquino to power.

For the May 2010 automated Philippine presidential elections NAMFREL was not accredited to conduct its own count. Instead, the organization conducted a nationwide election observation mission called "Bantay ng Bayan" ("sentinels of the people").

Presently, NAMFREL is also active internationally, its officers and volunteers having worked as trainers, observer team members, election administrators and resource persons in 31 countries, with Cambodia as its first test in the 1998 parliamentary elections there.[1]

In 1998, NAMFREL representatives attended the International IDEA conference in Copenhagen.

See also

  • Philippine electoral crisis, 2005


External links

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