'No boycott': Comelec's Guia clarifies position on barangay polls

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2016 07:04 PM

MANILA - Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia on Wednesday clarified several reports that he and two other members of the en banc are choosing to boycott the preparations for the barangay elections because of infighting among the members of the poll body.

"Wala namang nagsabi na magboboycott. Trabaho po namin na magpatakbo ng barangay elections," Guia told reporters.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Monday claimed that she and fellow commissioners Guia and Christian Robert Lim have chosen not to participate in the operational preparations for the barangay polls scheduled in October, saying it was about time that Chairman Andres Bautista "run an elections on his own."

Guia explained that unlike the 2016 national polls, he decided not to take any committee assignments this time around so that he could focus on the resolution of pending election cases.

"Of course, kapag na-assign ka to do something else, hindi naman aatras siguro. But that does not mean na wala kaming gagawin sa elections. Every week, magdedesisyon pa rin kami sa mga policy issues on the barangay elections. Kasama kami doon, hindi pwedeng hindi kami kasama," the commissioner said.

The Comelec Employees Union has expressed their concern that the infighting at the en banc will affect more important issues at the poll body, including the preparations for the barangay elections.

But Bautista assured the public that this is not the case. He also clarified that he is not against commissioners who choose not to take any committees for the polls.

"Kami naman, kung sinong gustong tumulong, tatanggapin namin yung tulong. Pero kung ayaw tumulong, okay din, kaya namin yung trabaho," he said.

READ: Comelec can run village polls sans 3 commissioners: Bautista

Bautista has yet to answer in writing the issues raised by commissioners in their internal memo, but said that he already sent a draft of his answer to several members of the en banc.

Guanzon on Tuesday reiterated the request of the members of the en banc to talk about the issues in an executive session.

"Willing naman po kaming mag-meet anytime at kung anong klaseng environment ang gusto, kung may facilitator. Hindi naman pwede na ang chairman hindi kami kakausapin," Guanzon said.

"Chairman just needs an introspection to really appreciate that we are not doing this to harm him. Siya naman ang nagsabi na isulat na lang, ayaw niya kaming harapin. Sana kung pinagusapan na lang ito face to face, I mean we are all lawyers, so dish it out and take it," she added.

The poll chief is however noncommittal about setting an executive session, saying that he has already talked to some commissioners.

"Baka hindi na kailangan. Basta sabi ko lang, kapag tayo magkameeting ayoko ng sigawan, bastusan, kasi yun ang nangyayari minsan, at hindi karapat-dapat," Bautista said, referring to a time when he said a commissioner yelled and humiliated a Comelec senior staff during an en banc meeting.

"Ako anytime makikipagmeeting, basta may kortesiya, may respeto."