The Tribunal is assisted in the discharge of its adjudicatory and administrative functions by the Secretariat, composed of the Office of the Tribunal Secretary and eight (8) service groups. The Secretary of the Tribunal, Atty. Irene R. Guevarra, oversees the day-to-day operations of the Tribunal under the general supervision control of the Tribunal Chairman. She is assisted by the Deputy Secretary, and the Directors/Officers in charge of the eight (8) service groups, namely:
Ms. Nancy G. Canete, Acting Director, Office of the Secretary
Mr. II Samuel R. Galope, Officer-in-Charge, Information and Communications Systems and Judicial Records Management Service
Ms. Eliza V. Amparo, Officer-in-Charge, Finance and Budget ; and Cash Management Service
The Judicial Records Management Service (JRMS) has been placed under the supervision of the Legal Service OIC, Atty. James G. Allanigue; while the Cash Management has become part of the Finance and Budget Service.
The Secretariat Offices are located at the Electoral Tribunals Building, COA Compound, Commonwealth Avenue corner Batasan Road, Quezon City, which the Tribunal shares with the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET). The Electoral Tribunals Building, although named after the occupants, belongs to the Commission on Audit and is being rented by the two (2) Tribunals.
Joint Resolutions had been passed by the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal addressed to the President of the Philippines requesting a donation of a two-hectare lot in Fort Bonifacio as site of the electoral tribunals building. The request has not so far been granted.
The Secretariat offices observe the four-day work week schedule (Monday to Thursday, 7:00 AM to 12 noon and 12:30 PM to 6:00 PM).
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
The Office of the Secretary (OSEC), headed by the Tribunal Secretary Atty. Irene R. Guevarra, oversees the day-to-day operations of the Tribunal Secretariat. It exercises general supervision over the line and support as well as adjudicatory and administrative functions of the various Service Groups of the Secretariat, particularly the keeping and securing of ballot boxes, election documents, papers, files of exhibits, the office seal and other property of the Tribunal.
Pursuant to Rule 12 of the 2013 Rules of the Tribunal, the Secretary of the Tribunal attends the sessions and meetings of the Tribunal and keeps the Minutes thereof; receives all pleadings and other documents properly presented; keeps a judicial docket wherein all contests brought before the Tribunal and the proceedings had therein entered in chronological order; prepares the calendar of cases, certifies under the seal of the Tribunal and implements all decisions, resolutions, order and notices of the Tribunal.
The Secretariat of the Tribunal keeps: a) a judgement book which contains a copy of each decision and final resolution or order rendered by the Tribunal in the order of their dates; b) a Book of Entries of Judgement, which contains, in chronological order, entries of the dispositive portions of all decisions and final resolutions or orders of the Tribunal; and c) an account of the funds set aside for the Tribunal expenses and funds received and disbursed relative to the cases. The Tribunal Secretary is further mandated to maintain such other records and to perform such other duties as prescribed by law for clerks of superior courts or as the Tribunal or the Chairperson may direct.
CANVASS BOARD SERVICE
The Canvass Board Service (CBS) under the supervision of Atty. Crisanta V. Valera, Director III, is charged with the collection, safekeeping and return of the ballot boxes, election documents and other election paraphernalia as well as the supervision of the Revision proceedings.
After an election protest has been given due course, the CBS obtains from the Commission on Elections a list of the precincts that functioned during the last election. The CBS then prepares a tally of the contested and counter-protested precincts to determine the total number of contested precincts as well as the number of pilot precincts. Based thereon, the CBS prepares as many copies of the so-called “preservation order” as well as the corresponding envelopes, registry receipts and registry return cards and mails them to the respective addressees.
The “preservation order” is the resolution issued by the Tribunal requiring the Election Officers, Municipal/City Treasurers, Provincial Treasurers, Provincial Election Supervisors, Provincial/City Prosecutors and other custodians of the ballots, election documents and election paraphernalia to preserve the integrity of all ballot boxes and their keys, election documents and other materials under their custody until further orders of the Tribunal. The Service Group likewise monitors compliance with the resolutions.
As soon as the parties in an election protest designate their pilot precincts, the CBS starts preparations for the collection of the ballot boxes and election documents and paraphernalia from the pilot precincts. In this connection, the CBS undertakes the following preparatory tasks:
. Prepares estimates of expenses for the collection of ballot boxes and election documents and secures the conformity of the party concerned.
. Notifies the Election Officers, Provincial/City Prosecutors, Municipal/City Treasurers of the collection schedule.
. Prepares and serves request for Philippine National Police (PNP) escorts.
- Conducts the pre-collection briefing.
- Prepares itinerary of travel and mission orders.
- Coordinates with representatives of the parties.
The CBS monitors the collection activity. Upon arrival of the ballot boxes and election documents at the Secretariat Offices, the CBS conducts the inventory and stores the collected ballot boxes and election documents in properly secured ballot box and election document storage rooms/warehouses. The storage rooms/warehouses are equipped with triple locks, the respective keys of which are in the custody of three (3) officials of the Tribunal.
The CBS likewise coordinates with the PNP for a 24-hour security watch of the ballot boxes and election documents.
The Collection Team, in the meantime, prepares its liquidation report relative to the expenses incurred during the collection operations, coordinates with the COA Resident Auditor and prepares justification for some unexpected expenses. The CBS undertakes the same activities for the collection of the non-pilot precincts.
For Revision Proceedings, the CBS undertakes the following tasks/activities:
. Prepares separate letter-requests and secures from Comelec the Project of Precincts and Statement of Votes by Precinct of the contested areas and other related documents.
. Prepares estimates of expenses for the Revision of the Ballots from the contested precinct; and recommends that additional cash deposits be made by the parties.
. Prepares materials for the training of the Head Revisors; Conducts the Head Revisors’ training, including mock revision; Evaluates the results of the mock revision and recommends the hiring of Head Revisors and Alternate Head Revisors;
. Conducts Pre-Revision conference with parties to discuss house rules.
. Supervises the conduct of Revision Proceedings to ensure compliance with the rules and procedures.
. Conducts daily meetings with the Head Revisors and Alternate Head Revisors and asesses their performance; Prepares HR salary reports and formulates guidelines for Head Revisors’ compensation.
. Prepares reports on status of Revision Proceedings and Revision Results, i.e. wet ballots, fake ballots, empty ballot boxes, etc.
. Simultaneously with the Revision Proceedings, CBS personnel post the votes of the parties as appearing on the Statement of Votes by Precinct and their votes listed in the Municipal Certificate of Canvass. After the Revision, the CBS tallies the parties’ votes based on the physical count after Revision and their votes as appearing in the various election documents such as the Tally Board and Election Returns (Statements of Votes by Precinct, Municipal or City Certificates of Canvass, Statements of Votes by Municipality, Provincial Certificates of Canvass and the Regional and National Tally of Votes).
. Recommends the deferment or suspension of Revision Proceedings, if necessary.
. Ensures completeness of the Revision Reports and takes charge of reproducing the same for use in the Preliminary Appreciation of Ballots.
The Legal Service under the supervision of Atty. James A. Allanigue is depended on by the Tribunal, Office of the Secretary and the Service Groups to provide studies and legal opinions on various matters referred to it. It is usually given the important and crucial task of hearing and receiving the evidence of the parties in the electoral protests. It supervises the conduct of Preliminary Appreciation (PA) proceedings and reviews the reports and rulings of PA Committees. It provides stenographic assistance to the various committees of the Secretariat and takes care of the mail matters of the Tribunal. It maintains the Tribunal mini-library.
With the advent of the Automated Election System, the Legal Service conducted a comprehensive research on pertinent laws, rules and jurisprudence on the appreciation of ballots under the Automated Election System. It submitted to the Committee on Revision of Rules its proposal on the Appreciation of Ballots.
The Legal Service continuously undertakes the digests of decisions in election cases. Through the Judicial Records Management Section, which is under its supervision, the Legal Service maintains the original records of the electoral protests filed before the Tribunal. Digitization of the Rollos is on-going.
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SERVICE
The Human Resources Management Service (HRMS) is responsible for the overall development, provision and implementation of Human Resources (HR) services, policies and programs in the following areas:
- HR Management Systems and Programs which include:
- Qualification Standards;
- Recruitment and Placement System;
- Training and Development;
- Career Management (Merit Promotion / Career Pathing Program / Succession Plan);
- Performance Management;
- Compensation and Benefits Management;
- Health and Wellness Management;
- Rewards and Recognition; and
- Personnel Relations; and
- HR Records Management.
HRMS ensures compliance with Civil Service Rules, Presidential issuances and other governmental rules and regulations/directives on human resources management.
PROCUREMENT AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICE
The Procurement and Property Management Service has broad responsibilities which it efficiently discharges through its three (3) sections: namely: 1) Procurement Section, 2) Property and Supply Management Section, and, 3) Maintenance and General Services Section.
The Procurement Section attends to the regular and emergency purchases of the Tribunal in accordance with COA rules and regulations.
Relative to the regular purchases of the Tribunal, the Procurement Section canvasses the estimated cost of requisitioned items covered by purchase requests, secures from various suppliers price quotations as well as certificates of exclusive distributorship. It negotiates item specifications, prices, delivery and payment terms with suppliers and further renegotiated items specifications, prices, delivery and payment terms of quotations. It prepared abstracts of canvass.
It regularly assists the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) during its meetings by coordinating with its members, preparing summaries of abstracts of bids for consideration thereof, securing various documents from new suppliers and recording the proceedings and preparing the minutes of the meetings. On the basis of the BAC’s awards, the Section prepares, processes and serves approved purchase orders. In addition, it prepares Agency Procurement Requests for items to be purchased from the Procurement Service and requests for voucher preparations for COD purchases and purchases on credit. For items to be purchased on cash-on- delivery basis, the Section coordinated with the Cash Management Service for the release of the checks covering such purchases.
With respect to emergency purchases, the Section receives certificates of emergency purchases, conducts telephone canvasses for the prices of the items requested, negotiates item specifications, prices, delivery and payment terms of the requisitioned items and evaluated the same to identify the supplier with the best offer.
The Property and Supply Management Section received Supplies Availability Inquiries, prepared Requisition and Issue Slips for items that are not on stock and prepared certificates of emergency purchase. It processes clearances and updates property cards through postings.
It prepares Monthly Summaries of Inspection and Acceptance Reports and prepares and reconciles with Accounting Service the Monthly Summaries of Supplies and Materials Issued.
The PSMS to reconciles the Semi-Expendables inventory list as of 31 December of the current year with Accounting Service, to prepare reconciliation summary including the reclassification of all items to Property Plant and Equipment, Supplies or Expense accounts and to prepare a reconciled Property Plant and Equipment and Supplies Inventory Lists as of 31 December of the current year.
Furthermore, the PSMS completes the physical count of inventories as of 31 December of the current eyar. It prepared reports on the result of the physical count of supplies and property, plant and equipment and reconciled the same with Accounting Service. It conducts investigations on missing items, additional counts for items found and established accountability for items that are not located.
The Maintenance and General Services Section conducted monthly inspections of the SET buildings and grounds, prepares and processes Job Service Requests including those pertaining to the repair of furniture, prepares Purchase Requests, assists in the purchase of required building supplies and materials and performed all necessary repair works.
The Section monitors and validates MWSI and MERALCO billings. Using as basis the monitored electrical consumption proportionately shouldered by the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
FINANCE AND BUDGET SERVICE
The Finance and Budget Service (FBS), under the supervision of Officer-In-Charge Eliza V. Amparo, is responsible for Tribunal budget preparation, execution and control; maintenance of the registries of appropriations and allotment; disbursement processing; preparation of financial reports; and other related functions.
. Budget Preparation
Preparation of the following year’s budget starts as early as the 4th quarter of the previous year during the annual SET Management Committee Planning Session. In compliance with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Annual Budget Preparation Calendar, FBS submits on schedule to the DBM the Tribunal’s Past Year’s Actual Obligations and the Current Year Appropriations. The Budget Proposal is finalized after the Tribunal receives DBM’s Budget Ceiling and Budget Priorities Framework. The Budget Proposal is then presented to the Chairperson of the Tribunal for approval and thereafter submitted online to DBM. The printed version of the online-submitted Budget Proposal is also presented to DBM in five copies.
. Budget Execution and Control
FBS regularly analyzes the budget and the cash requirements of the Tribunal to ensure that sufficient funds are available to meet operational needs. Thus, FBS handles the request for additional SARO or Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA), whenever necessary and coordinates with the DBM for the timely release of the NCAs, whether for the current budget, continuing appropriation, Accounts Payable or others.
FBS ensures that budget is available for proposed disbursements as well as those covered by Purchase Requests, Requisition and Issue Slips and Supply Availability Inquiries, Petty Cash Vouchers and Terminal Leave Applications before these expenditures are incurred. Charges against the Fiduciary Funds or deposits made by parties to electoral contests are also controlled to make certain that disbursements do not exceed the deposits.
- Maintenance of Registries
Obligation Request and Status (ORS) are raised by FBS to set up appropriations and record obligations in the Registries. FBS maintains daily the Registry of Appropriations and Allotments for Personal Services (PS), Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay (CO) for Current Year Budget, as well as MOOE for Continuing Appropriations for a total of at least 58 active accounts. Financial records are also maintained for each Fiduciary Fund deposit of parties to an electoral contest.
- Disbursement Processing
FBS, after ensuring the completeness and legality of supporting document of proposed disbursements, prepares the disbursement vouchers for all types of Tribunal expenses, such as salaries, allowances and benefits to officials and employees, allowances of Members, payments to suppliers, lessors and other contractors, and remittances to Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and other government agencies.
FBS is also for payroll processing. Payroll schedules are prepared covering salaries, allowances and benefits of Tribunal officials and employees (as well as the salaries of Head and Alternate Head Revisors, whenever necessary). FBS issues financial accountability clearances to personnel, and financial certifications and pay slips, as needed, for GSIS Loans, Pag-Ibig Loans and other legal purposes.
The Service ensures that disbursements are in order and are processed on time.
- Financial Reports
In addition to Budget Proposal prepared annually, FBS submits to DBM quarterly the Statement of Appropriations, Allotments, Obligations, Disbursements and Balances (FAR No.1), Summary of Appropriations, Allotments, Obligations, Disbursements and Balances by Object of Expenditures (FAR No.1-A), and List of Allotments and Sub-Allotments (FAR No.1-B). The same reports are furnished COA, aside from the Statement of Comparison of Budget and Actual Amount (Annex-E). Before the end of the 4th quarter, FBS submits to DBM the Budget Execution Disbursement Reports for the coming year: Financial Plan (BED No. 1), and Monthly Cash Program (BED No. 3).
FBS seeks to be prompt in the submission of the Monthly Electronic Remittance Report to the GSIS, Monthly Report of Contribution and Report of Employee-Member (Er 2) to the PhilHealth, and Monthly Report of Contribution and Loan payment to the HDMF.
. Cash Management
The Cash Management, under the FBS, manages the vigilant disbursement of the Tribunal funds by strictly implementing the control measures formulated for this purpose. It likewise ensures the timely payment of the Tribunal’s various obligations as well as the timely release of salaries and benefits to the employees. In the process, the CMS prepares checks covered by Advice of Checks Issued and Cancelled (ACIC).
The CMS further manages the petty cash fund for emergency and minor purchases of the Tribunal. It pays out and liquidates petty cash vouchers, and replenishes the petty cash fund.
For its reportorial compliance, the CMS prepares and submits Reports on Checks Issued (RCI) pertaining to the General Fund, Accounts Payable and Fiduciary Fund; Reports on Unclaimed Checks; Reports on Cash Disbursements; Reports on Collections and Deposits; Reports on Accountable Forms; and Reports on Disbursements of Regular Disbursing Officer. The CMS also processes clearances of employees.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS AND JUDICIAL RECORDS MANAGEMENT SERVICE
The Information and Communications Systems and Judicial Records Management Service (ICSJRMS) under the supervision of Mr. II Samuel R. Galope, Officer-in-Charge, is depended on by the Tribunal, Office of the Secretary and the Service Groups to provide all technical duties, inquiries and service requests.
Responsibilities and Role-Assignments:
- System administration: Installing/maintaining operating systems and virtualization platforms, anti-virus programs and emails
- Network administration: Technical and administrative control of the LAN
- Web administration: Installing/maintaining all web setups and monitoring performance
- Database administration: MySql administration
- Security/control administration: Monitoring overall security including physical & logical, reviewing change management processes, etc.
- Backup administrator: Creates backup scripts/jobs and review logs. Schedule regular meetings with Data/system owners to update backup jobs. Manages the onsite and offsite backups.
- End user support/Help desk: Providing full end-user support
The Accounting Service (AS) under the supervision of Ms. Angelina L. Gabat, Officer-in-Charge, is responsible for the preparation of financial reports for submission to fiscal agencies of the government (Commission On Audit, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Budget and Management, Bureau of Treasury etc.) and the Tribunal. The financial reports are composed of the Trial Balance, Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Financial Performance, Statement of Cash Flow, Statement of Changes in Net Assets/Equity, Report of Disbursements, Tax Remittance Advice together with all the supporting documents/schedules. Likewise, AS prepares BIR Annual Information Returns and Alphalists of Payees, Certificates of Compensation Payment/Tax Withheld (BIR Form 2316), Certificate of Creditable Tax Withheld at Source (BIR Form 2307) and Certificate of Final Tax Withheld at Source (BIR Form 2306).
Maintenance of books of accounts of the agency is another responsibility of the Accounting Service. It records transactions in the corresponding Journal Entry Vouchers then summarizes and posts them to the General Ledger as well as to the Subsidiary Ledgers. It likewise performs pre-audit functions such as certification of the correctness, completeness of supporting documents of all transactions involving the utilization of government and fiduciary funds; verification of account codes and expense object classification in the Obligation Slips as well as certification as to availability of funds.
It maintains an accurate count of the Tribunal’s properties, equipment and supplies; processes Supplies Availability Inquiry,and re-canvasses the prices of supplies and equipment reflected in the Abstract of Canvass and Service requests. Likewise, it verifies and reconciles the monthly Summary of inspection and Acceptance Reports of the Procurement and Property Management Service as well as inspects and indicates the account codes on Inspection and Acceptance Reports. Moreover, it computes the annual depreciation of Property Plant and Equipment.
In addition, Accounting Service prepares quarterly Financial Accountability Report No. 4 and Disbursement portion of Annex A and B (Statement of Appropriations, Allotments, Obligations, Disbursement and Balances) for submission to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).