^

Headlines

Stop ballot printing, Comelec urged

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Stop ballot printing, Comelec urged
In a statement yesterday, Macalintal said the Comelec should first get the clearance or clarifications from the Supreme Court (SC) as far as the TROs granted to certain candidates and a party-list group whose names were excluded in the official ballots are concerned.
Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal has urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop the printing of official ballots that will be used in the May 9 national and local elections as it excluded candidates who secured their respective temporary restraining orders (TROs) against their disqualifications.

In a statement yesterday, Macalintal said the Comelec should first get the clearance or clarifications from the Supreme Court (SC) as far as the TROs granted to certain candidates and a party-list group whose names were excluded in the official ballots are concerned.

The Comelec pushed through with the final ballot face without the names of Wilson Amad, who is running for vice president, Norman Marquez for senator and the party-list group Juan Pinoy despite the TROs granted to them by the SC against the Comelec’s decision to disqualify them in the May elections.

“Indeed, the Comelec should have first advised the SC that it could no longer obey its restraining order before it started printing the ballots and should have asked for authority from the SC to proceed with the printing of the ballots despite the existence of said TROs on certain candidates,” Macalintal said.

“The Comelec has all the time to seek such clarification from the SC and advise the court of its plan to start printing the ballots instead of just saying that ‘the ballots are ready to go, so we went ahead’ which practically ignored the restraining orders of the court,” he added.

The election lawyer also pointed out that the Comelec has even “bragged” about the early printing of ballots for the 2022 polls, which is earlier than the May 2019 elections where ballots were printed on Feb. 9 and were finished on April 26 that year.

“In a word, if Comelec could brag that it started printing the May 2022 ballots ‘way earlier’ than the May 2019 polls, then there is no reason why the Comelec could not get such clarification from the SC before it started printing the ballots for the May 2022 elections so as not to prejudice those parties protected by the SC’s TROs,” Macalintal said.

During yesterday’s Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez reiterated that the Comelec en banc decided to push through with the printing of ballots without the names of the three candidates as they have already serialized the ballots that are ready for printing before the SC came out with the TROs.

Jimenez also emphasized that they have to start printing the ballots as soon as possible as they do not want to encounter any problem as they target to print more than 65 million ballots.

“Basically, we might have to crash timelines. We might have to hurry things up. And when you hurry these things a lot of things get left by the wayside. The right process is (not) being left behind or you will need to make shortcuts to beat the deadline, and we want to avoid that,” he said in English and Filipino.

He added that they hope the SC will understand the urgency to start printing the ballots.

On issues that the printing of ballots happened earlier than the printing for the May 2019 polls, Jimenez explained that this year is a presidential election, which is a “little more complicated” than in 2019, which was a senatorial election.

The Comelec spokesman also emphasized that the poll body is dealing with around 65 million voters this year, which is huge compared with that of the 2019 elections.

He clarified, though, that they could reprint some of the ballots if the SC ordered them to do so.

Understanding

As this developed, Jimenez asked the SC for understanding on the poll body’s move.

“We hope the Supreme Court will understand the urgency on this matter for us and that they are fully aware of the timetables we are operating under,” Jimenez said during yesterday’s virtual Kapihan sa Manila when asked to comment on Macalintal’s call for the Comelec to stop printing ballots.

As far as the Comelec is concerned, Jimenez emphasized that the poll body always abides by the SC’s order except on this matter because they were caught off-guard by the court’s decision as they have already serialized the official ballots and were ready for printing when the orders came out.

“By last Sunday, everything for the preparations for the printing of the ballots had already been completed. And at that point, ballots were already serialized. There were already serial numbers attached to the ballots. The ballots were already fixed and ready to go. At that point it was either we went ahead or we didn’t,” he said.

“Considering that everything is ready to go, the Commission then decided upon consultation to just go ahead with the printing. How will the TROs affect? Well, we are facing the TROs. Every time a TRO is sent to us and we are asked to comment, we participate. We are part of the process to resolve these issues,” he added.

BALLOT PRINTING

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with
no session for state
no session for code
no session for id_token
no session for user