Comelec opens doors to ‘well-meaning’ observers

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STRESSING that transparency in all their dealings is of their paramount consideration, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Saturday said they will invite observers who can give the best inputs as the poll body prepares and decides the most efficient technology to be used in the 2016 national polls.

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Brillantes however expressed hope that those who will be invited will not distract but will offer “acceptable and constructive criticisms” on all crucial stages of the poll body’s preparations.

Brillantes said they look forward to working with the Comelec Advisory Council (CAC).

“Nag-invite kami ng mga observers sa lahat ng mga critical areas, critical stage of preparation [We invited observers in all critical areas and stages of preparations], “ he said.

He pointed out that the Comelec is doing this for the sake of transparency.

Brillantes recalled that the poll body did not observe this scheme in the 2013 elections because some critics offered opinions that delayed and distracted them from their jobs, instead of offering truly helpful suggestions.

“Hahanapin namin yung mga matitino na observer at sila ang pagbabantayin namin plus the CAC [We will look for well-meaning observers who will guide us],” he said.

The Comelec chief added that critics are allowed to observe but are barred from meddling especially if their actions will just delay their entire preparation.

“Kung sila [critics]ma-accredit na observer, pero kung wala naman gagawin kundi maghanap ng mali, e wag na muna sila umupo [If those accredited critics will do nothing but find fault, then I urge them to just stop and don’t bother to join us anymore],” he said.

It’s a go
Meanwhile, the Palace said the 2016 election is definitely a go.

Deputy presidential spokes-person Abigail Valte gave the assurance also on Saturday to clear the air in connection with the “slip” made by presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

“Let’s wait for the President’s endorsement of his candidate for 2016 if the 2016 elections will push through,” Lacierda told reporters on Friday. His statement was interpreted by some ad-ministration critics as a sign that the Palace could be hatching a no elections scenario.
But Valte denied the allegations.

“This [no election]is not something that we want to pitch. What Secretary Lacierda said is that the President is yet to decide on term extensions and his endorsement of a candidate for 2016. The 2016 elections will push through,” she said in a Radyo ng Bayan interview.

But for Rep. Tobias Tiangco of Navotas City and the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno, Lacierda’s slip of the tongue smacks of ill-motives.

“He [Lacierda] is so talkative that their plan of no-election was busted before us,” Tiangco, the spokesman of the United Nationalist Alliance, said in a statement.

“This shows that they will do anything to stay in power to escape liability over Disbursement Acceleration Program, among other secrets,” Tiangco added.s

The KMU meanwhile said it isdifficult to believe that Lacierda was not serious in his statement.

“We have every reason to believe that Aquino and his allies are scheming to prolong his presidency beyond what is allowed by the 1987 Constitution . . . Aquino is afraid of being forced to resign, or being impeached, or being ousted from the presidency,” the group said.

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