THE head of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting admitted on Saturday that they have long known about the differences among officials of the Commission on Elections and have long been affected by the festering row.
“We are already affected by that [row] even before,” said Henrietta de Villa, chairperson of the PPCRV which is the Comelec’s citizen’s arm.
“As public officials, they are mandated to take care of the elections which is very important so they have the responsibility to work together. They should agree on a way how they can have a dialogue,” De Villa said, commending Comelec employees for their exemplary performance.
“Huwag naman ipilit nila kung ano gusto nila at pakinggan ang isa’t-isa [They should not insist on what each of them want and they should listen to each other],” De Villa said, noting that some commissioners she did not identify should learn to control their pride.
“The Comelec rank and file are good. They work very hard in delivering orderly elections. I must commend them,” she said.
She also commended Commissioner Christian Robert Lim for his role in the last May 9 elections.
“We usually go to Comm. Bot,” she said, using Lim’s nickname. “At least, he already knows elections. He just works and doesn’t take things personally.”
De Villa made the remarks after six commissioners publicly issued an open memorandum assailing the leadership of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.
“It would be better if they will just talk about their differences. No problem cannot be overcome by dialogue. Because each one has to realize that they have to act together,” De Villa said.
Among the issues raised in the memo of the six commissioners are the manner in which the weekly en banc meetings are conducted, the failed mall voting project and the delays in compensation of the teachers who served as election inspectors.
But Bautista only shrugged off the memo and dismissed the claims as “old news.”
“This is old news. I have prepared a response and met with several commissioners about this already,” he said in a text message.
On Thursday, the six other commissioners issued a strongly worded memo asking Bautista to explain why there was a delay in the release of honoraria for the board of election inspectors and other poll workers.
Bautista also shrugged off their assessment that there was a failure of leadership in the poll body.
“I find the phrase ‘failure of leadership’ ironic after the May 2016 elections, which most believe was the fastest, most organized and successful elections in Philippine history,” he said.
Bautista added, “Was the holding of nationwide presidential debates after 24 years a manifestation of failure of leadership as well?”
The commissioners also assailed Bautista for issuing statements to the media favoring the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October.
“The Commission on Elections exists primarily for the holding of elections. The unilateral statement of the chairman places the entire organization in bad light as being lazy to conduct the elections,” they said.
The Comelec officials noted that Bautista also failed to immediately act on the hacking of the Comelec website.