Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., on Friday admitted receiving P30 million in intelligence funds from the Office of the President, but that he shared the funds with the commissioners.
Brillantes said he was the only Comelec official given intelligence funds by the Office of the President.
“That was given to me as chairman of Comelec, but I gave some to the commissioners. That was my prerogative,” he said.
Taking a swipe at former commissioner Gus Lagman, Brillantes said: “I normally return unused portions of that funds to the Office of the President. It is not as if I don’t know how to return funds; it’s not just Gus Lagman who knows how to return (funds), I am returning even bigger amounts than he did.”
“I have repeated this over and over, I really use intel funds solely for intelligence purposes; and if one does not have intel requirements, one must return it.”
Brillantes may need to prepare himself for the worst. An anti-crime and corruption advocacy group is considering filing an impeachment case against him and other commissioners in connection with the intelligence funds.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said the group’s legal team is studying filing an impeachment case against Brillantes and other election commissioners who have been receiving intelligence funds from the Office of the President.
Jimenez noted that subjecting Brillantes to an impeachment proceeding could force him to tell everything about the funds and other election-related issues he has been trying to avoid.
“Our lawyers are now looking at that (Impeachment) possibility and this could be a good challenge for the newly election member of congress,” Jimenez told The Manila Times.
Article 11 Section 2 of the Constitution states that the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of constitutional commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.
The Comelec is a Constitutional commission.
Jimenez said they are gathering more evidence that could help them build up their case against the poll body head.
He said that aside from the controversial intelligence funds the VACC also plans to include other issues like the questionable bidding of compact flash (CF) cards, indelible ink that were discovered before the elections.
A court case was earlier filed by a losing CF card bidder reader who alleged the bidding was rigged to favor Smartmatic, the same company that provided the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines used in the elections.