Brillantes vows to push reforms at Comelec, with or without CA nod
MANILA, Philippines—Whether or not he gets the nod of the Commission on Appointments, elections chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. will implement reforms at the Commission on Elections, starting with the filing of cases against those responsible for at least P125 million in unliquidated cash advances.
“We will file administrative and criminal cases. But what we will do is to investigate the administrative aspect while the criminal aspect will be up to the resident Ombudsman,” the Comele chair told reporters in an interview.
Brillantes said those who fail to liquidate the cash advances given to them would be charged with malversation of public funds. The cases will be filed within 10 days after he converts his fact-finding investigation into an official report.
Asked who had the highest amount of unliquidated cash advances, Brillantes mentioned Comelec deputy director for finance Gideon de Guzman who, the chair said, accumulated P48 million of unliquidated expenditures in the past five to six years.
“He’s not denying the P48 million and has asked time to settle his obligations,” Brillantes said, adding that De Guzman has been transferred to a different department and had been asked to go on leave.
Brillantes said other Comelec officials have unliquidated cash advances ranging from P3 million to P40 million.
He said that aside from unliquidated cash advances, other anomalies he uncovered included falsified checks and illegal overtime pay.
Answering his critics that he has been doing nothing to improve Comelec’s credibility during his eight months in office, Brillantes said that he had been quietly looking over into “piles of documents” in the poll body since June while awaiting CA confirmation.
“I already promised that I will institute reforms in this commission. I started this quietly. Whether I get confirmed or not, Comelec should be cleansed, these reforms will continue,” he said.
Brillantes said he will push with his internal reforms even if people who are against them would block his confirmation by the CA.
“[My critics] want me to boast of my achievements. I can’t do that because I was still looking into the documents; it should be done quietly. And it’s not my style to boast,” he said.
He said the resident auditor at Comelec independently confirmed many of the finance-related irregularities at the poll body.
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