MANILA, Philippines—Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday vehemently denied that he used his intelligence funds to spy on the election watchdog Automated Election System (AES) Watch.
Brillantes said he “will not waste money” on the group. He dismissed the petition for habeas data it filed before the Supreme Court as a publicity stunt.
“I will not spend money on them. I won’t even waste a moment. They just want to get into the picture,” Brillantes said in an interview.
He said he was ready to submit a full report to the Supreme Court on how the Comelec used its intelligence funds, adding he had already submitted a report to the Commission on Audit (COA).
“Why would we spend on AES Watch? Who are they (that) I would give them importance? There are more important things … Why would they become important to me,” Brillantes said.
He said the Comelec used its intelligence funds for “surveillance and other confidential matters and these have been reported to COA.”
“I don’t care about AES Watch. First of all, I don’t recognize them so why spend money and time on them? They are just trying to get into the picture again because people are beginning to forget them,” Brillantes said.
On Wednesday, AES convenors led by former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman asked the Supreme Court to stop Brillantes from using the election body’s intelligence funds, reportedly worth P30 million, to spy on citizen’s groups like AES.—Philip C. Tubeza