MALACAÑANG is using the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) as instruments of corruption to ensure the victory of administration candidates next year, a newly formed political party said.
The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on Thursday held successive protest actions at the offices of the two agencies, which were described as “institutionally corrupt and are perfect instruments for cheating and raising funds for the coming elections.”
“As the campaign fever rises by the day, we fear that the probability of holding clean and honest elections also fades by the day,” said Sonny Melencio, chairperson of PLM.
PLM is affiliated with the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod and the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon, among others.
Melencio accused the Comelec of favoring technology provider Smartmatic Corp. for monopolizing the P9.58 billion contract for the lease of 93,977 units of brand new Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines.
“Negotiators of Smartmatic must be the luckiest people on earth for monopolizing billions-of-pesos worth of contracts from the Comelec in the past three months,” Melencio said.
He said the poll body’s decision to drop the repair and refurbishment of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines was tailor-fitted for Smartmatic.
“The Comelec has failed in extinguishing doubts on the reliability of the PCOS machines since the 2010 elections, and the lack of transparency in its operations has fueled the suspicion of many, experts and skeptics alike, that something was wrong with the machines,” he added.
The PLM also accused Customs chief Bert Lina of using his position to influence tariff and custom measures.
“Lina is misleading the public by declaring that he is just out to implement and upgrade the Customs rules, when his only intention is to give his previously owned companies advantage over competition,” Melencio said.
“The processing of cargoes is already stiff, but his order for mandatory inspections will further impede the forwarders’ operations. This in turn will force its clients to find more reliable, prudent and punctual forwarding services. And Lina’s companies would be it. This is plain and simple harassment of Lina’s business rivals,” he added.
Melencio said “Lina will most likely contribute to the campaign kitty of the Aquino-endorsed candidacy of Mar Roxas in the 2016 elections for as long as the Palace supports the scheme of the Customs chief.”