he Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, held in February 1991, called for reforms in the conduct of Philippine elections. In May of 1991, in response to this call, H.E. Jaime Cardinal Sin, Commission on Elections (Philippines) Comelec Commissioner Haydee Yorac, then-Laity President Henrietta T. de Villa, Bishop Gabriel Reyes, Msgr. Bayani Valenzuela and 30 Parish Lay Leaders conceived PPCRV in Villa San Miguel in Mandaluyong City.
In October 1991, PPCRV was launched in St. Paul University, Quezon City, with about one thousand laypeople from the parishes of the Archdiocese of Manila. The next month, with the support of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the PPCRV expanded its operations nationwide.
The first test of PPCRV's poll watching activities came in 1992 presidential elections. In its first electoral exercise, 346,688 PPCRV volunteers participated in poll watching, voters’ assistance, assisting the Board of Election Inspectors, protecting election returns, monitoring electoral exercise and watching the canvassing of votes.
PPCRV's primary function is to ensure the conduct of clean, honest, accurate, meaningful, and peaceful elections, as stipulated in their CHAMP backronym. However, they also have additional functions, including:
- The advocacy of electoral reforms
- Conducting parallel manual auditing in automated elections
- The coordination of parishes for poll watching
- Fielding volunteers
- Providing legal assistance related to elections
- Reporting of electoral violations
- Provision of voters' assistance services
- Voters' education