House minority leader questions Comelec decisions
MANILA, Philippines—A lawmaker from Quezon province expressed worries on the poll body’s decision to print ballots for the 2013 midterm elections at the National Printing Office (NPO).
In a recent guesting on Radyo INQUIRER 990 AM, Quezon Province 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez (Lakas-CMD) said the move of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to have the NPO print the ballots might invite irregularities.
He said it’s not far-fetched there will be “hocus-focus” in the printing of the said election materials.
“Before, the Comelec has the sole responsibility in the printing of ballots. Now it’s the supreme responsibility of the National Printing Office. I ask them why change the process now? Secondly, the NPO selection process didn’t undergo any actual bidding because many bidders were disqualified,” Suarez said.
Suarez also didn’t approve of the Comelec’s decision to change the metallic locks of the ballot boxes and replace them with plastic seals.
Suarez, who also leads the House’s opposition bloc, said it’s just but right for him as minority leader to question the new regulations of the Comelec.
“We in the opposition, or in the minority, only want transparency in the 2013 midterm elections because this administration is very strong and popular. (We’re afraid) there might be lapses, moves to manipulate the election,” Suarez said.
He added it’s his right to be suspicious. Speaking in Filipino, he explained: “That’s my job, because the midterm elections’ turn-out of voters is not that high so we’re worried if there are extra ballots being printed (by a government agency like the NPO). The minority might be on the losing end.”
He said they tried to ask for an investigation on the Comelec’s recent changes in electoral procedures but their request was turned down.
Suarez, a long-time political “kingpin” in Quezon, is on his 3rd and final term in the House. His wife, former Quezon Representative Aleta Suarez is running for the said position. She will face Liberal Party’s bet, lawyer Shiela de Leon, and former Quezon governor Eddie Rodriguez, an independent candidate.
Aleta and Danilo’s son, incumbent Quezon Governor David “Jay Jay” Suarez, is running for a second term. He is pitted against Liberal Party’s bet, Quezon 2nd District Representative Irvin Alcala, son of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
The Suarez family members are well-known loyal allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now in hospital detention facing plunder and graft cases.
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