MANILA, Philippines – The commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) pushed for a dialogue with Chairman Andres Bautista following their criticism of his leadership in a strongly-worded memo in early June.
They also clarified that they are not asking for Bautista’s resignation.
“We wanted to talk to him, to shed light on some issues,” commissioner Christian Robert Lim told reporters on Friday, June 24. “We still want to improve things.”
“At the end of the day, we can always be professionals,” Lim added.
In a separate interview, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said: “No, why should I ask him to resign? He should just come back from his travel abroad and sit down with us. We have been asking him to sit down with us.”
Bautista filed a leave for Thursday, June 23, for a personal trip to accompany his son in Japan from June 24 to 26. June 24 is a holiday in Manila to commemorate Manila Day, while June 25 and 26 fall on a weekend.
Comm. Guanzon also not asking Comelec chair Andy Bautista to resign. "We have been asking him to sit down with us." pic.twitter.com/OqJddv3U1D— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) June 24, 2016
Rappler learned that the 6 Comelec commissioners have been requesting an executive session with Bautista in the hope of airing their concerns to Bautista without anyone else in the room with them.
In the absence of this meeting, the 6 commissioners wrote Bautista a scathing memo on June 3. (READ: All Comelec commissioners hit Chairman Bautista)
The 6 commissioners told Bautista that they did this “because of your request to reduce our concerns in writing, in lieu of discussing the grave concerns of the Commissioners face to face.”
The said memo raised a wide range of issues including the delayed payment of teachers who served as boards of election inspectors (BEIs) during the May 9 polls.
A Comelec insider said the commissioners expect a reply from Bautista by Tuesday, June 28.
PPCRV report on 2016 polls
Commissioners Lim, Guanzon, and Luie Tito Guia were at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila on Friday to hear the report of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on the 2016 elections.
The PPCRV commended the Comelec for its efforts in making the 2016 polls more transparent and ensuring faster transmission of election results.
The PPCRV, for its part, pointed out the challenges in running the country’s 3rd automated elections.
Among them is the readiness of the Comelec and the BEIs in the face of late additions to poll operations – like the inclusion of voter receipts and replacement ballots.
The PPCRV also identified a total of 50 mismatches between the electronically-transmitted election returns (ERs) and the ERs manually encoded by the PPCRV, as part of its duties as a Comelec-accredited citizens’ arm.
Technology provider Smartmatic has provided to the PPCRV possible and plausible theories on these mismatches. But the PPCRV said that these theories have to be verified through the logs stored in the SD cards of affected vote-counting machines.
The PPCRV likewise reported lingering problems in some areas, such as election-related violence, vote buying, and inaccessibility of some polling places for senior citizens and persons with disability. – with a report from Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com