MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has empowered chairperson Saidamen Pangarungan to place areas of concern under the poll body's control in "meritorious and urgent circumstances."
In a press conference Monday, Pangarungan said this was contained in the amendment to Comelec Resolution No. 10728 to recalibrate the rules and regulations on the election gun ban.
"The amendment also allows the Comelec to be more responsive to security concerns in election hotspots by granting the chairman the authority to place Election Areas of Concern, already approved by the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC), under Comelec control," Pangarungan said.
Pangarungan said that the resolution was approved by commissioners Rey Bulay, George Garcia, Aimee Neri, and himself, making up the majority vote.
However, the 3 other commissioners, namely Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, and Aimee Ferolino, opposed the resolution.
"Mostly they dissented to the granting of exemptions to the officials and also to the authority given to the chairman of the commission to declare an election area of concern under Comelec control," Pangarungan explained.
Pangarungan said the dissenters wanted a clear definition of what would be considered an "urgent and meritorious case."
"Kasi ang gusto nila ma-define yung urgent and meritorious cases... Alam mo kailangan merong authority ang chairman to declare an area under Comelec control kasi halimbawa nagbabarilan sila doon sa Lanao del Sur... does it mean that I have to wait for another one week to convene the CBFSC para ma-declare ito under Comelec control?" Pangarungan said.
Pangarungan gave assurance to be responsible in exercising this power.