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Senate president: Comelec execs must do their jobs well

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Senate president: Comelec execs must do their jobs well
Senator Ping Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto tandem for Presidential and Vice Presidential together with their Senatorial bet former PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar during the press conference held in People's Mansion in Sorsogon City in Camarines Norte followed by caravan on March 3, 2022, The event was welcomed by Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero
Geremy S. Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must do their jobs well and earn the trust of Filipinos as they risk rejection by the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), owing to the numerous controversies hanging over their heads, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said yesterday.

Sotto and Sen. Panfilo Lacson aired the warning as Comelec officials have been drawing flak in the past several weeks over various issues, including the reported data breach that hit its technology provider Smartmatic, their threat to arrest critics and their decision to award the dominant party status to the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Among the poll officials whose appointments have yet to be confirmed by the CA is Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan and Commissioners George Garcia and Aimee Neri.

“If (Comelec commissioners) are going to be bypassed (by the CA), they will no longer be commissioners by June 30. They should play straight, play honest,” Sotto told reporters at a press conference in Calauan, Laguna, where he and Lacson made their final campaign sortie two days before the national and local elections.

Lacson and Sotto are running for president and vice president, respectively.

If anyone or all of them are bypassed by the CA, the next president may or not decide to appoint them.Sotto on Friday made a post on Twitter questioning the decision of a Comelec division siding with the Cusi faction of the PDP-Laban as the dominant political party in the May elections over the group led

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must do their jobs well and earn the trust of Filipinos as they risk rejection by the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), owing to the numerous controversies hanging over their heads, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said yesterday.

Sotto and Sen. Panfilo Lacson aired the warning as Comelec officials have been drawing flak in the past several weeks over various issues, including the reported data breach that hit its technology provider Smartmatic, their threat to arrest critics and their decision to award the dominant party status to the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Among the poll officials whose appointments have yet to be confirmed by the CA is Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan and Commissioners George Garcia and Aimee Neri.

“If (Comelec commissioners) are going to be bypassed (by the CA), they will no longer be commissioners by June 30. They should play straight, play honest,” Sotto told reporters at a press conference in Calauan, Laguna, where he and Lacson made their final campaign sortie two days before the national and local elections.

Lacson and Sotto are running for president and vice president, respectively.

If anyone or all of them are bypassed by the CA, the next president may or not decide to appoint them.

Sotto on Friday made a post on Twitter questioning the decision of a Comelec division siding with the Cusi faction of the PDP-Laban as the dominant political party in the May elections over the group led by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is also running for president.

“Idol Nene must be turning in his grave! I wonder what the future holds for these people. Let’s meet them (at the) CA!” Sotto said on Twitter, referring to Pimentel’s father, the late Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who was among the founders of PDP-Laban with the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and the late senator Lorenzo Tañada 39 years ago.

Sotto disclosed that he used to be part of PDP-Laban and had to undergo a rigorous screening that includes a month-long basic membership seminar, something that followers of Cusi and his faction apparently did not go through.

The Senate had earlier held an inquiry over the data and security breach in the system of Smartmatic, which provided the vote counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the elections, where voters’ data were among those obtained by the suspected hackers, who are now in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Senators have also expressed concern over the move of the Comelec to change certain protocols in the transmission of votes from precincts that would prevent the identification of the source VCMs.

Then Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon had earlier blasted incumbent Commissioner Aimee Ferolino for allegedly sitting on the disqualification case against presidential candidate former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“All of these issues will be brought up when they face the CA, and unfortunately, I will still be the chairman,” Sotto said.

He added that Comelec officials are asking the CA to schedule their confirmation hearings on May 25 and June 1.

Lacson cited reports of some teachers in Mindanao who were transferred to other precincts apparently in disregard of Comelec rules.

“(Commissioners) should do their jobs. If they only do their jobs properly and very objectively – just do their jobs and we will be very happy,” Lacson said.                                                                                

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