Marcos told to clear name on election procurement provision
In this Feb. 12, 2019 photo, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos attends the campaign launch of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago coalition in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Marcos told to clear name on election procurement provision

Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - December 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos must directly address allegations that she inserted a provision that waives election procurement safeguards in the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget, the spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo said yesterday.

“(Marcos) should answer this so if it wasn’t her, she can clear her name,” lawyer Barry Gutierrez said over radio station dzXL.

“This is not a small matter. If it is true that she inserted it, it would appear that it was her who opened the door for corruption and fraud in the elections,” Gutierrez added.

Robredo’s spokesman made the statements in response to a newspaper report alleging that Marcos, who chairs the Senate electoral reforms committee, inserted the provision, which would disregard “all the requirements and safeguards” under Republic Act 8436 or the automated election law.

The insertion, however, had been deleted in the final version of the General Appropriations Act of 2021 upon the instruction of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, according to Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate finance committee.

Gutierrez said it was during the term of Marcos’ father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, when elections were marred by fraud allegations.

“We are thankful that this did not push through and it was removed,” Gutierrez said.

In a Twitter post on Nov. 29, election lawyer Emil Marañon III warned that someone from the Senate had sought to put in a provision in the 2021 budget that will give the poll body “a carte blanche authority” to disregard safeguards in the country’s automated election law.

Marañon called the provision “very dangerous” as it would allow the poll body to adopt a new untested system or waive all safeguards for the May 2022 general elections.

Marcos has been pushing for a “hybrid” or a mix of manual and automated voting in the 2022 polls.

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