MANILA, April 3, 2013— The clergy of Lipa archdiocese no longer entirely trusts the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) despite its apparent offer to help ensure credible elections.
Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the PPCRV has lost much of their confidence particularly the group’s ‘objectivity” in performing its duties as poll watchdog.
“We cannot rely anymore on the present PPCRV because some of its leaders are former Comelec (Commission on Elections) people that have questionable reputations,” Arguelles said.
“We admire (PPCRV chairperson) Ambassador (Henrietta) de Villa. Lately, however, we are no longer sure if it’s still objective,” he said. “There seems to be personal interests in the leadership.”
The archbishop also revealed that their decision to drop their support for the PPCRV after learning that they are barred from seeing the contents of the fourth copy of the automated election returns.
“They won’t inform us of the result. It’s not right because we will only look pitiful especially with regards to the local elections,” he added.
Sought for comment, De Villa was quick to defend that the archdiocese’s concern stems not from the PPCRV’s own policy but rather of the election automated election system (AES) law.
“He does not agree that his volunteers are getting the 4th copy of the election returns without seeing the contents since this will be sent to us in a sealed envelope,” she said.
“This is not PPCRVs policy, it’s the RA 9369 AES law that specified this. But we respect his decision. There are lay volunteers we can mobilize,” de Villa added.
Arguelles also claimed that other bishops are also beginning to question the independence of the poll watchdog from the Comelec.
“What others used to complain about Namfrel (National Movement for Free Elections) in previous elections, the PPCRV is now guilty of the same, so we don’t want to be involved with them,” he said.
The Lipa archdiocese yesterday announced that it is ending its ties with the PPCRV for the May 13 polls.
But the archbishop said they will mobilize their volunteers and help ensure credible and orderly elections in Batangas province. (Roy Lagarde)