CHURCH-based election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) has expressed alarm over the infighting of top officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying the situation may take its toll in the coming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
PPCRV Chairperson Henrietta de Villa on Wednesday said Comelec officials should sit down and talk things over to settle their differences, stressing that the preparations and other related tasks for the coming polls would not be a walk in the park, particularly if they are pressed for time.
“They have four months to prepare. They should unite and talk about the pros and cons between pushing or postponing the barangay and SK elections. If they agreed to postpone, they should tell Congress, but if they decide to push through, they should put their acts together because holding the barangay and SK elections is not an easy task,” said De Villa in an interview with the Church-run Radio Veritas.
She was reacting to the still unsettled rift between Chairman Juan Andres Bautista and the members of the Comelec Board of Commissioners, which has gone from bad to worse after Senior Commissioner Christian Robert Lim and Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Luie Tito Guia expressed their intention to boycott the barangay and SK elections.
Bautista said he felt sad with the development, but stressed that the show must go on as the scheduled elections are mandated by law unless amended or repealed by Congress.
“Nobody is indispensable, including me,” said Bautista in a text message to The Manila Times.
If they refuse, Bautista added, “we have still the other Commissioners (Al Parreño, Sheriff Abas and Arthur Lim) and senior Comelec officials and field personnel.”
The Commission En Banc has already approved the budget appropriations for the elections in October and other related expenses, including the forms that would be used for another round of voters’ registration.
According to Bautista, total expenses, including the honoraria to elections workers, is expected to reach P6 billion.
The election budget was among the things approved by the Comelec during their regular En Banc meeting on Tuesday, but other sensitive matters like the memorandum accusing Bautista of “failure of leadership” were never tackled.