Comelec junks motion to stop Pampanga recount
Posted August 19, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 15:22:00 08/19/2009
Filed Under: Eleksyon 2007, Politics, Elections
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied the motion of Governor Ed Panlilio to stop the recount of votes in Pampanga in the 2007 elections personnel for “lack of merit,” a commissioner said.
Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, who sits as the presiding officer of the Second Division that handles the Pampanga recount, said allegations of indirect bribery by Panlilio’s lawyer Sixto Brillantes stemming from his client’s rival giving snacks to the revisors was “making a mountain out of a molehill.”
But at the same time, Ferrer directed the people concerned, referring to the camp of Lilia Pineda, to stop giving and distributing snacks to Comelec personnel.
“They are making a mountain out of a molehill with the allegations. Kami sa [We in the] judiciary, we can see the ulterior motive on the motions filed and clearly, the motion [by Brillantes] aims to stop us from performing our constitutional mandate to resolve this election protest,” said Ferrer who issued the resolution against Panlilio’s motion Tuesday.
“How can giving out merienda [snacks] be called bribery? The members of the revision committees will not decide the case, we at the en banc Second Division will decide on this. And even if the food was given out, this will not translate to undue favors. The grounds they cited are insufficient for us to postpone the proceedings, which was directed to be done in six weeks,” added Ferrer.
Ferrer urged both parties of Pineda and Panlilio to cooperate with the Comelec so that the poll body could finish the recount on time and avoid making untoward statements in the media to get sympathy.
“The time for them to state their comments is on the hearing where they will be required to present evidences. They can say everything on the media even without concrete evidences ad that would be unfair because we are only doing our jobs here,” said Ferrer.
By next week, each of the 21 revisors will be given 10 ballot boxes to open and revise in a day, up from the current six to fast track the recount of 4,683 contested ballot boxes and the inspection of ballots for spurious marks, said Ferrer.
Ferrer is optimistic the Comelc will finish the recount within six weeks, as directed by Comelec chairman Jose Melo.