Poll watchdog LENTE urges Comelec to address cases of abuse of state resources during #Halalan2022

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2022 01:05 AM | Updated as of Apr 13 2022 12:05 PM

MANILA - Legal Network For Truthful Elections (LENTE) Philippines called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to address cases of abuse of government officials or workers who use state resources to further their own campaign or their bet’s to increase their chances in this year's elections.

“Ang ating request sa Comelec, ang ating paglalambing sa kanila, sana isama rin nila ang problema ng ASR (Abuse of State Resources),” LENTE Philippines Executive Director Atty. Ona Caritos said during LENTE’s second Twitter Space Conversations Tuesday.

LENTE said the law is explicit on abuse of state resources - in the Constitution, Revised Penal Code and even in the Corporation Code.

“Nakalagay sa Article 11 ng Philippine Constitution that public office is a public trust. Ibig sabihin, lahat ng dapat pagserbisyohan ng gobyerno ay kailangan pag-serbisyohan. Walang kinikilingan, walang favoratism,” Caritos said.

Abuse of state resources are of four kinds: financial, institutional, regulatory, and collective resources.

“Financial, kapag pera ng gobyerno ang ginagamit. May institutional - ito ang pinaka-familiar tayong lahat: ginagamit ang sasakyan ng gobyerno, building ng gobyerno, staff para mangampanya. Andiyan ang regulatory resources, nung paggamit ng powers ng legislative, executive o judicial branch of the government to favor the incumbent. And lastly, yung collective resources, yung pag gamit ng mga security forces natin to coerce the opponent of the incumbent or to favor the incumbent,” Caritos explained.

And much like vote buying, LENTE receives reports of ASR but hardly turn into formal complaints.

“Ang realidad ng politika at election sa Pilipinas, mahirap magsampa ng kaso sa mga malalaking pangalan,” Caritos said.

“Pivotal ang role ng Comelec kasi katulad ng vote buying di ganun ka dali na magprosecute ng ASR. Kasi may kalaban ka sa buhay, na mag- reklamo, sa responses. kaya sana ang COMELEC mangunguna sa pag iimbestiga at magpo-prosecute sa mga violations sa batas natin,’ she added.

Malou Mangahas, co-convenor of Right to Know, Right Now Coalition, believes media should be “watchful” for cases of ASR on government’s media platforms.

“Actually magandang bantayan ang coverage ng Philippine News Agency, PTV 4, and which we are trying to do right not pero para lang makita yung quantitative analysis.. and i think all of us in the media should be more watchful kung paano nagagamit yung mga state media platforms at social media official pages,” she said.