MANILA, March 10, 2016— A Catholic bishop urged the Commission on Elections to refrain from sowing undue fears of delayed elections.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo advised the Comelec to instead exhaust all possible means to ensure that the May 9 elections will push through smoothly and peacefully.
The poll body expressed uncertainty whether the elections will be held as scheduled following the Supreme Court order to print vote receipts.
With only two months remaining before the elections, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said it is possible that elections be postponed.
“It’s up to them, but they should follow the law,” Pabillo said. “Unless they are just sowing fears again because they are against (the SC decision).”
He said the Comelec violated the law twice in the past and it is about time the poll body be compelled to implement all the security features required under the automated election system.
“They should address this problem because they have been taking it for granted. And now they are putting the blame on the country,” stressed the prelate.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, meanwhile, lauded the SC for its “sound and right decision”, saying the ruling assures Filipinos that their votes “will be rightfully accepted, read and be counted.”
“With this receipt we will now have a proof, evidence for those who misused these receipts as to redemption copy to collect the promised money, and so they-vote sellers and vote buyers-could be both arrested, and [prosecuted],” he said.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting said the SC ruling must be followed even if it previously agreed with the Comelec’s stand to forego the vote-counting machine’s receipt-printing feature.
But PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa warned the court ruling will certainly affect the preparations of the Comelec.
“But SC also specified receipt should not leave the precinct but dropped in a box. Difficult but doable. Voters will have to be obedient,” said De Villa.
The PPCRV is Comelec’s citizens’ arm for the 2016 polls. The church-backed poll watchdog also served the same role in the 2010 and 2013 electoral contests. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)