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Bautista still not talking to us, says Guanzon

By: - Correspondent / @kquitasolINQ
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon (left) says poll body chief Andres Bautista has yet to talk to the other members of the body. INQUIRER FILES

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon (left) says poll body chief Andres Bautista has yet to talk to the other members of the body. INQUIRER FILES

BAGUIO CITY—Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista still refuses to discuss the issues fellow commissioners have within regarding some of his decisions, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said here on Friday.

The Comelec en banc has been meeting for a month without Bautista, said Guanzon, who visited the Comelec Cordillera office here.

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Guanzon was one of the commissioners who sent Bautista a strongly-worded memorandum detailing their objections to his management decisions.

But Guanzon clarified that the memorandum was not meant to be a complaint or a petition against Bautista.

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“When we asked for a meeting with him (Bautista), he told us to just write down our concerns, so we came up with the memorandum,” she said.

In the memo, the commissioners raised the issue with the barangay and Sanggguniang Kabataan elections scheduled this year.

Bautista had urged Congress to suspend the joint polls in October, saying the Comelec had just gone through  a divisive national election.

But last week, the Comelec allocated P695 million to buy election materials intended for the manual elections in October.

“It is work as usual for us at the Comelec en banc [because] we have a barangay election to prepare for,” Guanzon said.

“The barangay election will push through unless Congress decides to postpone it again. But for us, we really want it to push through,” she said.

She said the Comelec was also working for the release of funds to pay teachers who had served in the May 9 elections.

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The Comelec has paid 410,000 of the 476,000 teachers who served as elections inspectors, Bautista said, adding that election officials may have been unable to deliver the debit cards of the remaining 66,000 teachers in the provinces.

Guanzon said Bautista also needed to meet with the commissioners soon regarding the hacking of the Comelec website.

Meanwhile, a poll watchdog is opposed to the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, as well as plans to synchronize it with the possible election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention.

The Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said it was not in favor of proposals to postpone the Oct. 31 joint barangay and SK elections, saying that polls “should be conducted regularly and postponing it would go against this standard.”

Rona Ann Caritos, Lente acting executive director, said a projected election of Constitutional Convention delegates in 2017 was not definite.

Early this week, Bautista reiterated his suggestion to synchronize the barangay elections with the selection of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 2017.

Bautista cited “election fatigue” by voters as a result of holding two consecutive elections in 2016, as well as a possible P5 billion in savings if the two exercises were simultaneously held.

However, Comelec commissioners, led by Guanzon, stated their opposition to Bautista’s suggestion.

Lawmakers pushing for changes to the Constitution are looking at the selection of the delegates by next year.

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, Comelec, Comelec Cordillera, Comelec en banc, Commission on Elections, Lente, Rowena Guanzon, The Legal Network for Truthful Elections
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