Comelec has final say on aid release

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya (The Freeman) - March 28, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The decision to release the Cebu City's financial assistance to senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and barangay officials next month now lies heavily on the Commission on Elections.

"Karon unta April ang financial assistance but nangutana pa ko sa Comelec kung wa ba siya ma-include sa election ban," said Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

Cuevas said she first referred the matter to South District Election Officer Edwin Cadungog who reportedly told her that the aid is not covered by the ban. However, lawyer Marchel Sarno, the city's election officer for the North District, reportedly told her otherwise.

Cuevas said according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the local chief executive can determine what expenses of the government are essential. This reportedly means that if Mayor Michael Rama can prove the financial assistance is essential, the same can be released - unless the Comelec says otherwise.

Sarno said his office has received Cuevas' letter for clarification and will review the legal aspects of the matter.

"Kailangan if that is considered ordinary or common expenses of the city, that will be exempted from election ban. Pero amo pa na siyang review-hon," Sarno said.

After review, the same would reportedly be forwarded to the Comelec central office in Manila for further deliberation. (FREEMAN)




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