Comelec chair Bautista flayed some more for leaving for Japan
Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista is receiving more flak from other disgruntled Comelec commissioners, this time for taking a one-day leave on Thursday without designating an acting chair.
Commissioner Christian Robert Lim complained in an interview on Friday that Bautista took a leave of absence on Thursday and left for Japan without leaving anyone in charge.
“Under our rules when the chair is to be absent he has to make a designation as to who will be the acting chair,” said Lim, who recently resigned as chair of the poll body’s finance committee to protest the commission’s decision to extend the deadline for the Liberal Party to submit its statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE).
He said the designation of an acting chair was usually taken up during en banc meeting. Lim said the lack of an acting chair could affect the administrative aspects of the poll body’s operations.
“Well, good thing that today is Manila Day so there is not much movement. There are a lot of matters really where you need the chairman’s approval,” he said.
Lim said he was surprised to learn that Bautista had left for Japan.
“Actually I just learned about if yesterday (Thursday),” he said, adding that it was not automatic that a senior commissioner took over as the acting chair.
“He has to designate in writing who will take over as the acting chair,” Lim said.
Sought for comment, Bautista said “there were existing resolutions that govern the matter.”
Bautista said he was only availing of a one-day privilege leave on Thursday since Friday (Manila Day) was a holiday.
In his June 21 memorandum to the commission en banc through Acting Commission Secretary Consuelo Diola, Bautista said he was taking a privilege leave from Thursday to Sunday to accompany his son to Tokyo, Japan.
Bautista said it was a personal trip that would entail no cost to the commission.
This most recent complaint against Bautista added to the list of grievances from all six other commissioners of the poll body who earlier issued a joint memorandum accusing Bautista of “failed leadership” over various issues.
Bautista had shrugged off the allegations, stressing that it was contrary to the conduct and outcome of the recently concluded May 9 polls.
He said the issues raised by the six commissioners against him had been resolved. He said it would be better to leave it up to the Filipino people to judge if there was a failure of leadership in the commission.
According to Bautista, he found the phrase “failure of leadership” ironic after the May voting, “which most believe was the fastest, most organized and successful elections in Philippine history.”
In a strongly worded memorandum dated June 3, the commissioners enumerated “grave concerns,” apparently in response to Bautista’s “request to reduce our concerns in writing.”
Among other issues, they blamed Bautista for the delayed release of honoraria for election workers, particularly the teachers who served as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), and a mall company’s “demand for damages” after the Comelec cancelled mall voting.
The commissioners also scored Bautista for his seeming inaction on certain matters, as seen in the “failure to urgently act” on the hacking of the Comelec website, and for making “unilateral declarations” to the media on matters that they deemed must be decided by the en banc, such as the barangay and SK elections and the controversial tweak in the script of the transparency server used in the May polls./rga
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