SENATOR Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd on Friday called on those planning to impeach President Rodrigo Duterte to instead train their guns at the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which is being rocked by infighting over supposed irregularities during the May polls.
Pimentel, the leading contender for the Senate presidency, said if Comelec officials could not resolve their differences, the best thing to do would be to get rid of the person causing the trouble.
The lawmaker was reacting to the reported conflict between Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and some commissioners over several issues hounding the poll body, including the alleged tampering of the results of the vice-presidential race during the May 9 elections.
Removing an official of the poll body, according to him, was not easy and the only way would be though impeachment. “We cannot fire them easily, we have to undergo the firing process, which is impeachment,” he told reporters.
Pimentel, who headed the Senate electoral reform committee in the previous 16th Congress, said the Comelec should be preparing for the barangay (village) elections set in October.
“Kung hindi sila makatrabaho together [If they can’t work together], then we have to get rid of the troublesome person whoever that is, we have to find out who that person is,” the senator said.
Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia, however, denied that the poll body was unable to get its act together, saying the issue had been blown out of proportion by the media.
“We are doing our work and we are on time with our election preparations. Our two most recent en banc meetings were actually very cordial and efficient. There are just some important issues that need clarification and [to be]resolved internally and I am confident [that]they can be resolved,” he said.
Aside from the unauthorized alteration made in the transparency server of the poll body at the height of the transmission of election results on May 9, other issues such as the delay in the release of honoraria for teachers, the demand for damages of a mall operator for the cancelation of mall voting and the extension of the deadline for the filing of the Statement of Contribution and Expenditures have hounded the poll body.
Six Comelec commissioners even signed a memorandum last June 3 calling out Bautista for “failure of leadership.”