Comelec cancels plan to hold poll canvassing at Manila Hotel
MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) junked, on Tuesday, its plan to hold the national canvassing of votes in the Manila Hotel, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said.
“Site of the National Board of Canvassers will be at PICC (Philippine International Convention Center), not Manila Hotel. En banc approved it today. #PiliPinas,” Guanzon posted on her official Twitter account.
Guanzon earlier said that Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista was the one who proposed that the canvassing of election results be at the Manila Hotel.
The Comelec convenes as the National Board of Canvassers to canvass the election results for the senatorial and party-list elections. The votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates are canvassed in Congress.
In the 2010 elections, Comelec held the canvassing at the PICC. The poll body conducted the canvassing at PICC’s The Forum Tent in 2013.
Poll watchdogs National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the Legal Network for Free Elections (Lente) have opposed the plan to hold the canvassing at the Manila Hotel, saying it would entail additional costs for the election body.
Before scrapping the planned canvassing in the Manila Hotel, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez rejected claims it was “all about frivolity.”
Jimenez clarified that Comelec was considering the tent next to the hotel, not the hotel itself.
Jimenez said it was unfair for some groups to immediately project the use of Manila Hotel as an expensive choice for the commission.
“Just because you’re holding it in a place that has a cache in the name like Manila Hotel, it does not mean that it will be super expensive. From what I know, the cost of getting the Manila Hotel Tent might actually be lower than it is for PICC,” he said in a previous interview.
“If people think that it is all about frivolity, then perhaps it would be enlightening if they could inquire deeper into the thing that they are commenting on rather than engage in knee-jerk reactions. For instance, saying hotel, ergo luxury, ergo costly. I think that would be unfair,” added Jimenez.
Jimenez said scouting for a possible venue for the national canvassing center has always been routine work in every election.
“This is actually considered as a routine work every time we come to this point in our election cycle wherein we are preparing for the National Board of Canvassers. So we have a team doing the scouting,” Jimenez said. SFM
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