Comelec still investigating anomalies in 2004 polls

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 24 2011 05:01 PM | Updated as of Nov 25 2011 01:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections will conduct a separate investigation into alleged irregularities in the 2004 presidential elections.

But this early, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento says no one can be held liable for electoral sabotage.

Sarmiento explained the offense of electoral sabotage was created in 2007 only.

Other possible election offenses like vote-buying, Sarmiento noted, may have already prescribed.

He added election offenses that carry a maximum of 6 years imprisonment have a prescribed period of 5 years, which means these would have prescribed in 2009.

Sarmiento, meantime, declined to comment on cases involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He said that on the matter of the inhibition of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, the matter is already sub judice because it is before the court already.

He added that for both Corona and Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, who has likewise been asked from some sectors to inhibit from the investigation, the matter of inhibition is something left to the discretion of the person involved.

Sarmiento administered the oath of office to members of the Comelec advisory council (CAC) for the 2013 midterm elections. Other commissioners also witnessed the oath-taking.

The CAC is tasked with coming up with recommendations on which technology will be used for the 2013 elections.

Commissioner Gus Lagman said the CAC will only recommend the technology for the precinct level voting and maybe even electronic transmission while the consolidation and canvassing system is already being devised by Comelec.

Lagman said he hopes the panel can come up with a recommendation by January 2012.

The CAC members include Louis Napoleon Casambre, executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) and chairman of the CAC; Science and Technology Undersecretary Fortunato dela Peña, Education Undersecretary Alberto Muyot, Prof. Rommel Feria of the University of the Philippines, George Kintanar of the Chief Information Officers Forum Foundation (CIOFF), Atty. Rogelio Quevedo of the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), Atty. Louie Tito F. Guia of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), and Ambassador Henrietta T. de Villa of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).