Disqualified group of journalists accuses Comelec officials of extortionBy Tina G. Santos
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–A group of journalists wanting to participate in the party-list elections next year has accused Commission on Elections officials of allegedly trying to extort P3 million from them in exchange of their group’s accreditation.
In its 21-page Motion for Reconsideration filed before the commission en banc, Alab ng Mamamahayag (Alam) disclosed that one of their members, edwin alcala, was approached by a certain Rogelio “JR” Raneses, allegedly offering an assurance for the approval of Alam in exchange of P3 million.
Raneses allegedly claimed that he has the authority of the Comelec’s Second Division, which is being presided by Commissioner Lucenito Tagle with Commissioner Elias Yusoph as its member.
But Alam, saying they would still file a supplemental motion for reconsideration, did not name Tagle and Yusoph in their MR.
Raneses is a utility worker at the Electoral Contest and Adjudication Department (ECAD), which is mandated to provide legal and technical services to the Commission, whether sitting en banc or in division, as sole judge of such electoral contests.
It can be recalled that Alam’s petition was dismissed last September 12 by the Second Division of the Comelec. In its resolution, the Division ruled that the Alam is being denied accreditation due to its lack of track record as a group, which is one of the requirements of the Comelec.
Alam said they decided to reject the offer “because it does not believe in bribery to achieve its objectives for the marginalized groups it seeks to represent.”
“The petitioner has a good reason to believe its application was denied because it refused to give P3 million in exchange for the grant of the application of Alam,” Alam said in its petition filed late Monday.
Sought for comment, Tagle said they are mulling the possibility of filing a libel case against Alam members, who accused poll officials of extortion.
“Talagang indignant! Galit ako! Hindi naman kasi totoo, eh . (Really indignant! I’m angry! It’s not true, that’s why.) … We are now contemplating on filing a libel case against these people,” said Tagle.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said they may conduct an investigation on the allegations of Alam.
“We will be conducting an investigation,” said Brillantes, but added that he has yet to read a copy of the MR.
Alam is among the 289 party list groups that have filed Manifestations of Intent to Participate for the 2013 elections with the Comelec. The group has for its nominees Jerry S. Yap, Atty. Berteni C. Causing, Benny D. Antiporda, Analiza P. Dela Camara-Paz, and Joey G. Venancio.