Comelec denies snubbing Senate

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2012 04:14 PM | Updated as of Oct 24 2012 07:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes denied that the poll body boycotted a Senate hearing Tuesday morning.

Brillantes explained he and Commissioners Armando Velasco , Christian Robert Lim and Grace Padaca held an en banc session this morning while Lucenito Tagle and Rene Sarmiento went to UP Diliman to sign an agreement on voter registration and education.

Another commissioner, Elias Yusoph, is on official mission in Saudi Arabia.

Sarmiento also agreed they did not know there is a Senate hearing today. He said the Comelec has an en banc session today on preparations for the May 2013 elections.

Brillantes noted they send lawyers to attend the Senate hearing and they were briefed to answer questions on behalf of the poll body. He said he hasn’t heard comments from the Senate personally so he is being careful with his comments. 

He said they will go to the Senate if they have time, even daily if needed. Should the commissioners be unavailable, they will send representatives, he added.

Brillantes maintained they respect the senators too much to boycott them.

The Comelec chief, meanwhile, said he will not answer questions on the poll body's decisions on the delisting of party list groups.

He earlier said a review of their decisions is best left to the Supreme Court.

For his part, Sarmiento said if he attends the Senate hearing, he will only tell senators that questions on the party list are legal issues best left to the Supreme Court.