BRILLANTES NOT QUITTING COMELEC / INTENSIFIES WATCH VS VOTE BUYING


[Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes poses for a photo opportunity along with AFP vice chief of staff, Lieutenant General Allan Luga, (left) and PNP chief, Director General Alan Purisima, during a joint command conference at Camp Crame on Monday (April 22, 2013)]

MANILA, APRIL 29, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Jamie Elona - Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. announced Monday that he will not resign from his post.

“Hindi ko iiwan ang taumbayan (I will not leave our countrymen)… at this stage,” Brillantes said during the command conference among the Comelec, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Education on the final preparations for the upcoming midterm elections in May.

“Meron akong naririnig na sinasabing kaya ako magre-resign kasi tatakasan ko mga problema. Hindi totoo yan. Hindi ko aatrasan lahat ng problema (There are those who say that I’m resigning because I want to run away from the problems. That’s not true. I will not retreat from all these problems) ,” he said, adding that he was “almost absolutely sure” that this upcoming midterm election would be successful.

Brillantes said he consulted his children, who advised him to continue and just think about it again after the elections.

“Of course the other reason is because the President [Benigno Aquino III] himself said that I should not. And I thank the President for saying although I am not bound by what he said. . .”

“I respect his (Aquino) opinion that I should finish this job,” said Brillantes, whose term ends in 2015.

In an interview with reporters last week, Brillantes expressed his desire to leave his post after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Comelec’s airtime limit rule.

The Comelec, under resolution 9615, limits the number of airtime for each candidate to 120 minutes for television advertisements and 180 minutes for radio ad. The previous rule was on a per station basis.

Brillantes noted that it was the fourth time the SC had decided against the Comelec. The first was the “Team Patay / Team Buhay” tarpaulins of the Diocese of Bacolod, then the disqualification cases against the partylists, and the election protest case in Imus, Cavite.

But President Benigno Aquino III, in an interview in Cebu City over the weekend, asked Brillantes to reconsider his decision.

“I think he will see that the country needs him to chair the Comelec at this crucial period,” Aquino said. with Matikas Santos

FROM THE PHILSTAR

Brillantes stays on as Comelec chief By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com) | Updated April 22, 2013 - 11:54am

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Monday said he would not resign from the poll body.

In an interview with reporters, Brillantes said he would not step down from his the Comelec as the poll body prepares for the upcoming midterm national and local elections in May 13.

"Hindi ko aatrasan ang lahat ng problema... I would like to make sure that this elections would be a successful one ...hindi ko pababayaan naman at this stage," Brillantes said right after the command conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said he has heeded the "opinion" of President Benigno Aquino III to complete his job in the Comelec.

"I respect the President...I respect his opinion that I should finish my job...just for the record, I also talked to the Vice President (Jejomar Binay) who just called me up just last night ...and he said huwag mo naman kaming iiwanan. Sabi ko hindi ko naman kayo iiwanan , wala naman akong iiwanan ...hindi ko iiwanan ang sambayanang Pilipino, not at this stage'," Brillantes added.

The Comelec chief has earlier threatened to quit his post after the Supreme Court barred the Comelec from implementing air time limits for national and local candidates in the May 13 elections.

Sigh of relief

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) welcomed Brillantes’ decision to stay put as Comelec chief.

“Hay salamat (Thank goodness). I trust Chairman Brillantes,” UNA campaign manager Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said in a text message.

UNA senatorial candidate Sen. Gringo Honasan said Brillantes’ move would ensure continuity in the poll body’s preparations.

“I think it’s good because it would prevent disruption in their (Comelec) work given the limited time,” Honasan said in a phone interview.

Honasan, nevertheless, said the Comelec would survive even if Brillantes decides to quit his post.

“Our Comelec will not collapse because its chairman resigned,” Honasan said.

“If the resignation pushes through it would not have a huge impact because Comelec is a collegial body,” he added.

Earlier, UNA candidates urged Brillantes to stay, saying it is too late to effect leadership changes in the poll body since the 2013 election is fast approaching. – with Alexis Romero and Bjorn Beltran

COMELEC INTENSIFIES WATCH VS VOTE BUYING By Matikas Santos INQUIRER


[[Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO]

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered its regional election directors to closely monitor vote buying throughout the country as the May 2013 elections draw closer.

Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Monday presided over a coordinating conference attended by the Comelec en banc, senior staff, and regional election directors, where they discussed preparations for the upcoming elections.

“There are several forms of vote buying … it is really very difficult to monitor,” Brillantes told reporters in a briefing after the conference.

He said that the giving of goods, such as uncooked rice or grocery items, can become a form of vote buying if these are too valuable.

“If you are giving away something very valuable it becomes a form of vote buying, so we are discussing the possibility of putting a cap on certain amounts,” Brillantes said.

He said that certain election gimmicks where small items are given away such as shirts, lighters, face towels, umbrellas, etc. are no longer prohibited. But they are looking at the giving away of items that are too expensive.

“We are trying to determine a cap on it, like the giving away of rice, if they are giving away sacks of rice, it’s no longer an election gimmick,” he said.

Commissioner Grace Padaca also said that she received reports about rice and groceries being readied for distribution to the voters as early as Monday.

“Back in the 2010 elections, vote buying does not happen only on the night before elections, this thing happens two weeks or three weeks before elections,” Padaca told reporters.

Brillantes said that they were aware of the usual vote buying method of giving envelopes with cash the night before election day.

Newly appointed commissioners Al Parreno and Luie Guia attended the conference as an observer. They are likely to take their oath of office within the week, Brillantes said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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