Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. lamented the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) putting a political color on the poll body’s decision to suspend recall elections for lack of budget.
“What is happening is the issue is now having political color. They want us to provide funding. It cannot be that they know more than us [about running the elections],” Brillantes said.
DBM Undersecretary Luz Cantor earlier disclosed that as of end-May 2013, the Comelec had an “unobligated allocation” of P3.6 billion, referring to the commission’s “statement of appropriations, allotments, obligations, disbursement and balances.”
The Comelec chief questioned the DBM’s inconsistency, saying that when the Comelec asked for money it declined, but when the department’s political allies asked for recall, it said the poll body had enough funds.
Brillantes urged the government to provide them enough funds instead of “politicizing” the issue.
To date, two recall petitions are pending before the Comelec, involving Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado.
“For Bulacan and Puerto Princesa City, we would need about P100 million and P20 million, respectively for preparation, verification, payment of teachers, printing of ballots .
. . why don’t they just give us a supplemental budget?” Brillantes wondered.
In Resolution 9882 issued in May, the Comelec ordered the suspension of all recall peti–tions for lack of funds to hold such elections.
Brillantes stood firm on their decision, saying that it was final.
“Our resolution is a detailed one. We said we don’t have a line item. And even if we have a
line item, we cannot realign it towards the recall since the General Appropriations Act provided for us the priorities where we can use the savings, and recall elections are not among them,” Brillantes said.
Earlier, the Comelec dared recall petitioners to challenge the Comelec resolution before the Supreme Court (SC).
“I have been telling them to instead go up to the SC. We will stand by our resolution unless the SC tells us otherwise,” said Brillantes.
Recall is a process wherein an elected local official can be unseated even prior to the completion of his term once he loses to another candidate that will challenge him in the elections.