MANILA — A senator on Friday called out the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the alleged "special preference" granted to a political party backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
During the last day of filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) held at the Sofitel Hotel, Duterte suddenly showed up at the Comelec tent to have a photo op with 7 of the administration's Senate bets, all running under the PDP-Laban wing led by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi.
Duterte individually raised the hand of each aspirant. At one point, Duterte and the aspirants were seen holding their hands up together.
Under the Comelec's resolution outlining the health protocols during COC filing, aspirants are allowed not more than 3 companions. Physical distancing must also be followed at all times.
According to Sen. Nancy Binay, whose father former Vice President Jejomar Binay filed his candidacy for senator Thursday, what Comelec allowed PFD-Laban Cusi wing to do was "unfair."
"Comelec, do you really have to give special preference to the PDP-Cusi Wing? Napaka-unfair naman. We followed your rules sa Sofitel Tent, then you accommodated the candidates of PDP and broke your own rules?" the senator asked.
"If you can't be fair & impartial, then what will #Halalan2022 be like?" she added.
In a virtual press briefing, Comelec denied giving Duterte and his slate special treatment.
"I would like to point out that we have been very fair in our handling of all the parties. All parties have received the same sort of treatment," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
Jimenez added that companions of the administration slate were asked to go out because "they were too many."
Jimenez also addressed Duterte's act of raising the aspirants' hand and called it a "momentary" thing that was out of their control.
In the same press briefing, Comelec commissioners called the conduct of the 8-day COC filing as "success."
The COC filing is one of the first major activities by Comelec ahead of the 2022 national and local elections.