Poll body spox assures smooth transfer, protection of documents
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured that there is no cause for alarm as the poll body prepares to move out of the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.
On Friday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they received a notice to vacate from the Intramuros Administration, which manages the heritage buildings inside the historic district.
“The need to vacate the Palacio del Gobernador has been the subject of the Comelec’s attention for quite some time now,” he said.
He ensured that the Comelec “has always been very careful to observe all requirements relating to the preservation of documents in its care, to the giving of due notice to the parties, and to the protection of the people’s sovereign vote.”
“Speaking specifically to the concerns raised by the parties, I would say that there is no cause for alarm,” Jimenez stressed.
The poll spokesperson made the remarks in reaction to the concern of some election lawyers that the Comelec, under its new chairperson Sheriff Abas, may be left without a home.
In a media forum earlier this week, election lawyers George Garcia and Romulo Macalintal expressed concern over the notice to vacate the Palacio del Gobernador before the end of 2017.
Macalintal noted the problem of transferring the Comelec’s voluminous records, including documents related to the electoral protest filed by ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against vice president Leni Robredo.
The Palacio del Gobernador has been the Comelec’s home after its old two-storey building burned down in 2007.
The poll body presently rents the fifth, seventh, and eighth floors as well as part of the first floor of the Palacio del Gobernador.
The Palacio del Gobernador also houses the Intramuros Administration and the Home Development Mutual Fund regional office in Metro Manila.
Jimenez said the building’s structural integrity was the reason cited in the notice to vacate received by the Comelec.
He assured that the poll body has been making the needed preparations to ensure that it would have a new home to move into.
Jimenez said the Comelec signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Public Works and Highways for the design and construction of a planned Comelec building.
This was in reference to the proposed Comelec building along Macapagal Boulevard, which would house a multi-purpose facility and secured warehouse for election equipment and supplies.
The Comelec’s different departments are also working to secure new spaces and working areas, such as the renovation of several floors of the Shipping Center Building also in Intramuros.
Some of the poll body’s offices are also located in the five floors of the Shipping Center Building, which is a stone’s throw away from the Palacio del Gobernador.
These offices are: the education and information department, the campaign finance office, and the office of Comelec commissioner Christian Robert Lim.
“Some departments will be able to move to the Shipping Center Building immediately, such as the personnel department which is easily the largest Comelec presence in the Palacio,” Jimenez said.
The poll body aims to have the personnel department move into its temporary home before the end of 2017.
“When the time comes for the Comelec to move, the public can be assured that the transfer will be accomplished smoothly and with all protections given to the contending parties, intact,” Jimenez said. /kga
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