Comelec not pushing for poll postponement—Jimenez
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday clarified that it is not urging the postponement of the 2017 Barangay and SK Elections.
“Rather, the Comelec is seeking the earliest possible resolution to the question of whether the elections will be allowed by Congress to proceed as scheduled or not,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said on his Facebook account.
Jimenez’s clarification was in reaction to ACT Teachers Party-list Rep Antonio Tinio’s statement that “it’s inappropriate for Comelec to urge the postponement of elections.”
“It’s inappropriate for Comelec to urge the postponement of elections, since it’s basic mandate is to implement elections laws, which includes ensuring that they take place as scheduled,” Tinio said in a statement.
“A second postponement would be utterly unjustifiable. The basic democratic principle of electoral mandate with clearly defined terms of office must be upheld. Moreover, the additional proposal of replacing barangay officials with presidential appointees would be highly problematic, given the anti-democratic tendencies displayed by Malacañang at this point,” Tinio added, referring to the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the appointment of scores of ex-military officials in government.
According to Jimenez, the poll body has consistently adopted a neutral stance in the debate on whether the Barangay and SK Elections should be postponed.
“This reflects the institution’s role as enforcer of election laws—if an election is scheduled, it will be held; if Congress decides, as several bills currently pending in the House would have it, to change the schedule, then the Comelec will comply,” Jimenez said.
“However, speaking of the 2017 Barangay and SK Elections specifically, the inescapable fact is that the Comelec is already on a trajectory that will lead to significant expenditures. It behooves the institution, therefore, to seek clarification from Congress. This too, is consistent with the Comelec’s mandate,” he added.
But while the Congress remains undecided, Jimenez assured the public that its preparations for the polls continue. JPV
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