Comelec denies selling of ballots in ARMM

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2012 07:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2012 03:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed reports on the alleged sale of ballots for the 2013 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco said there is no basis for such reports, adding that they are ready to face any congressional investigation on the matter.

“Walang basis, paano sila makakagawa ng fake ballots at this time, January pa ang start ng printing,” said Velasco.

He also pointed out that the poll body has not even finalized the list of candidates, which is necessary in the printing of ballots.

Sarmiento echoed the sentiment, saying the poll body remains “transparent.”

“We will not tolerate ‘yung ganoong shenanigan. Wala pa namang printing of ballots, baka premature pa. Mahirap ‘yun eh, wala pa namang balota,” he said.

Sarmiento said the poll body is keeping a close watch over ballot printing especially after the controversy involving the National Printing Office.

Security for 2013 polls

Sarmiento said the poll body is beefing up security ahead of the elections.

Part of this is the reshuffling of election officers and registrars at the local level in January.

The poll body has also formed several committees, with Commissioner Elias Yusoph being designated as chair of the committee on the gun ban.

Comelec will meet with the Philippine National Police in a command conference Monday to identify the “hotspots” in the coming elections.

It will also attend a joint congressional oversight committee hearing at the Senate on the project of precincts for the mid-term polls.

Comelec is also finalizing the bidding for its requirements for the elections.