What, in the world, is happening in Comelec?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

There is a "tempest in the teapot" or even a "volcano about to erupt," if we may be allowed a little hyperbole, inside such a vital constitutional commission, the Comelec. It seems that there is a brewing rebellion of majority of the commissioners against Chairman Andres Bautista. What is intriguing is that its Commissioner Rowena Guanzon who keeps on making press statements "washing their dirty linens in public" when the honorable men and a woman could very well discuss any problem as mature, professional, and dignified members of a constitutional body.

Commissioner Guanzon has dared call the situation a failed leadership, which is a virtual slap at the Chairman's face. The supporters of Chairman Bautista, on the other hand, have called the other commissioners including Guanzon as being on the verge of committing a mutiny against the beleaguered chief. Well, when the parents are bickering, it is always the children who suffer the most damage. The "children," of course, are the Comelec personnel and other officials, as well as the constituencies, including the officials of local government units. Instead of silently reconciling and going back to work, these public officials are making themselves look immature, unprofessional, and unworthy of the peoples' trust.

There are two elections coming - barangay and SK elections. and some commissioners have in fact threatened not to participate in the preparation. With all due respect, such stance or posturing does not speak well of their professionalism and even of their maturity. If they go ahead with such a virtual "wildcat strike," if we may be permitted to use a labor relations terminology, would be tantamount to dereliction of duty and may constitute a violation of their oath of office.

On the other hand, I happen to agree with Commissioner Guanzon that somehow, the Chairman might have failed as the leader. He failed to communicate. He failed to win the support of other commissioners. He might have failed too to rise above his pride. We can also say the same thing about the commissioners, but perhaps with lesser gravity. The leader should get most of the blame. For to whom much is given, much is expected. Having said that we agree with Commissioner Guanzon on the issues, but we do not concur with her approach of peremptorily bringing the internal conflicts to the public eyes.

This imbroglio never happened under the watch of Chairman Sixto Brillantes. It never happened before. Yes, they too, had their conflicts. But they settled them with utmost sense of "delicadeza." It is a pity that such honorable men and a woman had been tested but were found wanting. The people have expected much from commissioners. They are not children, nor ordinary mortals. They are lawyers and have distinguished themselves in many commendable deeds and achievements.

But their infighting has unwittingly exposed that they are nothing higher in dignity than the ordinary men and women in the streets. I feel very sad for the Comelec. I feel that the people deserve better.


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