Bautista dismisses Comelec execs’ threat to boycott polls
Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista shrugged off the threat made by three commissioners that they will not participate in the conduct of the barangay (village) elections scheduled in October.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Wednesday, Bautista said he wants to find out if the claim made by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon that she, along with Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Luie Tito Guia, will not participate in running the village polls to focus on cases pending in their division, is indeed true.
“Gusto ko talagang malaman kung totoo ‘yung sinabi nga ni Commissioner Guanzon, lalong-lalo na kung totoong sinabi ‘yun ni Commissioner Guia, dahil kilala ko po si Commissioner Guia at ‘yan po ay talagang masipag at ginagawa ang kaniyang trabaho,” Bautista said.
(I really want to know if what Commissioner Guanzon said was true, especially Commissioner Guia, because I know Commissioner Guia and he is very hard-working and does his job.)
Should the commissioners push through with their plan, the Comelec chairman said that the poll body is prepared to push through with the village polls.
“Kung talagang ayaw po [nila]… kaya naman po ng mga naiiwang mga commissioner at ng Comelec senior officials, senior staff, field officials; kaya po naming patakbuhin ang darating na mga halalan,” Bautista said.
(If they refuse… the remaining commissioners and Comelec senior officials, senior staff, and field officials can do it; we can run the upcoming elections.)
He even hinted that the reported decision of the commissioners to back off from the conduct of the village polls is a “dereliction of duty.”
“Sabi nga po ng iba’y baka dereliction of duty [ang ginagawa nila]. Pero ako naman, ako, kung ayaw po nila mag-trabaho, okay lang. Kami na lang po magt-trabaho at sisiguraduhin namin na maayos yung ating halalan,” the poll body chief said.
(Others say what they’re doing could be dereliction of duty. But for me, if they don’t want to work, it’s okay. We’ll just work and ensure that the elections will run smoothly.)
Guanzon, Guia and Lim make up the Comelec’s first division.
On Monday, Guanzon said that it’s “about time” for Bautista to run an election, as the May 9 polls was led by a steering committee headed by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim.
“In the last en banc meeting, I said the Chair should be the one to run the barangay and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) elections. I will not get involved with it. Because, you know, perhaps it’s about time that Chairman Bautista runs an election… it’s better that he does it all by himself because you can give credit where credit is due,” she said.
The infighting among the top officials in the Comelec has escalated following the release of a strongly worded joint memo signed by all six commissioners accusing Bautista of “a failed leadership” on various issues, such as the delay in the release of honoraria for teachers and a mall company’s “demand for damages” after the Comelec cancelled mall voting. JE/rga
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