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Drilon to Brillantes: Be patient with critics
Posted on 02/10/2013 1:42 PM  | Updated 02/10/2013 3:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Be more patient.

This was the advice of Senator Franklin Drilon for Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. after the latter said he was fed up with criticism over issues surrounding the May 13 midterm polls.

"Sa akin lang, dapat si Chairman Brillantes huwag mapikon, ang taumbayan naman may kani-kaninyang opinion; tingnan kung may merito ang sinasabi ng mga nagbabatikos sa kanya. Ang pikon talo," Drilon said in an interview over radio dzBB on Sunday, February 10.

(Chairman Brillantes should not be onion-skinned. People have their own opinions. He should look if criticisms thrown at him have merit.)

The senator was reacting to the near-walkout by Brillantes during a hearing of the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections, after election watchdog Center for People Empowerment in Governance raised issues over the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

He also emphasized that going back to manual polls is not an option.

"Hindi pwedeng balewalain ang mga panukala ng iba’t ibang sector. Meron na po tayong batas kaya hindi ko maintindihan 'yong mga posisyon na kung ayaw ninyo ng automated, mag-manual tayo," Drilon said.

(Comments from different sectors should not be ignored. We have a law on the automated polls, that's why I don't understand the position that if people don't want an automated election, we should revert back to manual polling.)

"Walang kapangyarihan ang Comelec na bumalik sa manual, dahil ang batas ay automated. Hindi option ang manual, wala po sa batas iyan. Pahabain pa niya ang pasensya niya," Drilon said.

(The Comelec does not have the power to revert the elections back to manual counting, because the law says it should be automated. Manual is not an option. He should be more patient.)

Drilon, however, said he trusts that the PCOS machines will be able to accurately count the votes on May 13.

Ad limits, new commissioners

On the issue of political advertisement limits, Drilon said the 120-minute rule on ads should prevail as stated in law.

"Sa akin, ang 120 minutes is really the limit on the candidates; yung interpretasyon ng 2010, to me, was not consistent with law," he told dzBB.

(120 minutes is really the limit on the candidates; the 2010 interpretation on ad limits was not consistent with the law.)

He also said the President should fill vacancies in the Comelec despite the ban on appointments during the election season.

The senator said the Commission should be in "full force." He said if the seats vacated by retiring commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco aren't filled immediately, the remaining commissioners will have a harder time doing their jobs.

"Hindi naman puwedeng acting diyan, dahil dapat ad interim appointment iyan, at dahil constitutional body, ito ay kailangang i-fill-up ng Pangulo," he said. - KD Suarez/

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