ROCO WANTS OWN WATCHERS TO GUARD BALLOT PRINTING
MANILA, March 13, 2004 (STAR) The Aksyon Demokratiko party of presidential aspirant Raul Roco cried foul yesterday over the alleged failure of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give notice to its watchers of the printing of official ballots for the May 10 elections.
In a letter of complaint addressed to Rufino Javier, chairman of the Comelec printing committee, Aksyon pointed out their legal right as an accredited political party to be given notice of the printing of the ballots at the National Printing Office (NPO).
According to the party’s legal counsel Pablito Perez, Comelec failed to notify them of the printing of ballots at the NPO.
The NPO is a government agency tasked to print official documents, including the ballots and materials that would be used in the coming May elections.
The printing of the ballots, Perez said, had been going on since February.
He said Aksyon had earlier sent a list of watchers to the Comelec to observe the printing but the poll body apparently failed to give notice to party representatives.
Perez said they later learned the notices were sent to only six political parties, "an action that has no legal basis for unjustifiable discrimination and preferential treatment."
"Aksyon Demokratiko is a registered political party in good standing (but it) has not been given notice (to observe the printing) as required by law," Perez said.
Perez said Comelec should explain why Aksyon watchers were not included to observe the printing of the ballots.
"Under the circumstances, your immediate action is warranted," Perez told Comelec.
Aksyon was the political party of Roco which launched his presidential bid in the 1998 elections.
The party has merged with two other political parties – Reporma of former defense secretary Renato de Villa and Promdi of former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña – to form the Alyansa ng Pag-asa in a bid to form a common slate and launch Roco’s presidential bid for the May elections. - Sheila Crisostomo
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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