MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday, April 12, unanimously junked its plan to hold the national canvassing of votes in the Manila Hotel, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said.
Guanzon said the Comelec decided to hold the canvassing in the government-owned Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) instead.
She pointed out that the PICC "is government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC)."
"It is a GOCC, and it can do all the civil works we require," Guanzon said. These civil works include setting up a stage where the national board of canvassers will sit when meeting.
Guanzon earlier told Rappler it was the office of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista that proposed the canvassing of votes in the Manila Hotel.
The Comelec drew flak for this plan. This was also the case with the proposed P26.55-million ($574,300) "bib vest" uniforms for election inspectors, which the Comelec junked partly due to public anger.
Comelec: Not about 'frivolity'
Before scrapping the planned canvassing in the Manila Hotel, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez rejected claims it was "all about frivolity."
"If people think that it’s all about frivolity, then perhaps it would be enlightening if they could inquire deeper into the thing that they’re commenting on, rather than just engaging in knee-jerk reactions," Jimenez said.
Jimenez added: "It’s very easy to stoke outrage using a few keywords. Just use words that people normally equate with luxury – for instance, like Manila Hotel. ‘Hotel, ergo luxury, ergo expensive.’ That’s not fair, right?"
The national canvassing in the PICC will involve votes for senator and party-list representatives.
The canvassing of votes for president and vice president is traditionally held in Congress. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.