Comelec chief on conspiracy vs Poe: 'We are independent'
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista defended the Comelec against allegations that other parties influenced their decisions to take Senator Grace Poe out of the presidential race.
Bautista, who was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III, said the commissioners of the poll body are all “independent.”
He was one of the two commissioners who voted against cancelling Poe's certificate of candidacy.
“Ang maganda naman po, kami lahat ay independent. Wala po akong utang na loob sa aking pagka-appoint.... So 'pag botohan, kanya-kanyang pag-iisip at kung sino'ng majority, 'yun po ang mananaig,” Bautista said in a live interview on ABS-CBN on Friday, December 25.
(What's good is, we are all independent. I do not feel indebted for my appointment.... When it comes to voting, we have our own thoughts and whoever's the majority, they win.)
Poe and her camp earlier linked the cases to have her COC cancelled to her rivals – administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Her running mate, Senator Francis Escudero, accused the poll body of "bullying" Poe.
Escudero said the poll body is "pretending to be an independent Commission" when they have been supposedly acting as Poe’s “persecutor” in “plain and simple bullying.”
Roxas is allegedly connected to “The Firm,” the term used to call the former law office of former Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, former Solicitor General Simeon Marcelo, and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Carpio was one of the 4 members who voted against Poe in the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Binay is a known ally of former Senator Francisco Tatad, one of the 4 petitioners who filed a case seeking to bar her from running in 2016.
“Alam 'nyo na. Makikita 'nyo naman sa mga galaw nila. Sino ba ang may koneksyon sa malalakas na law firm? Sino ba ang dati pang kaalyado ng dati pang tumatakbo?” Poe earlier said.
(You know, you can see it in their moves. Who has connections with big law firms? Who are longtime allies of those who ran before?)
Some commissioners also have supposed links to Roxas. The ruling Liberal Party, the opposition said, is using Commissioner Rowena Guanzon to ensure Roxas’ victory in 2016. After all, they claimed, Roxas backed Guanzon’s appointed in the Commission on Audit in 2013.
Commissioner Arthur Lim, meanwhile, was one of the private prosecutors in the administration-backed impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Commissioners Arthur Lim and Al Parreño belong to the same fraternity as Carpio, Marcelo, and Cruz.
The 3, as well as commissioners Sheriff Abbas and Luia Tito Guia, voted in the en banc to ultimately disqualify Poe from next year’s elections. (READ: How Comelec commissioners voted on Grace Poe's case)
Despite this, Bautista maintained that all commissioners think on their own.
“Sa amin naman po, we are a 7-member commission. Kanya-kanya kaming kuro-kuro at pag-iisip. In the end, majority wins,” Bautista reiterated. (We are a 7-member commission. We have our own opinions and way of thinking. In the end, majority wins.) – Rappler.com
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