MANILA, Philippines—The Archdiocese of Lipa, which has cut its ties with the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), an official citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), wants its own accreditation from the poll body.
According to Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, he received a letter from Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles seeking accreditation for his diocese in the May polls.
“He wrote me a letter seeking accreditation for his diocese,” Brillantes said.
However, Brillantes said he would inform the Catholic prelate that the poll body is already done with the accreditation process.
But Brillantes said Arguelles has the option of joining other existing citizens’ groups.
Apart from the PPCRV, the Comlec has also accredited the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), One Vote and the C-CARE as citizens’ arms for next month’s elections.
It may be recalled that Arguelles said the archdiocese’s clergy decided to cut its links with the Church-based group upon learning that they would not be allowed to view the contents of the fourth copy of the election returns that their volunteers would have collected on Election Day before sending it to the PPCRV.
Arguelles he has lost confidence in the PPCRV and criticized the group’s “objectivity” in performing its duties as poll watchdog. Arguelles has refused to work with Namfrel.
However, he assured that archdiocese would still mobilize their volunteers and help ensure credible and orderly elections in Batangas province.
PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa, for her part, said she respects the decision of the prelate but added that the PPCRV would “just go on with its duty.”
“I respect his decision, but we in the PPCRV, we are business as usual. Thank God other dioceses didn’t follow,” she said.
De Villa, a former ambassador to the Vatican, added that they were open to criticisms especially with their kind of work.
“Some may like it, some may not, to us that’s okay. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from a bishop or [an ordinary] person. We’ll still act on their complaint,” said De Villa.