Press Release
January 10, 2016


Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero called on Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista to fight attempts by certain elements within the poll body to undermine the integrity of the institution and imperil the holding of a fair and credible election in May.

"I implore Chairman Bautista to stand his ground and expose these people who are seeking to sabotage the electoral process. It is his duty to the Filipino people if only to reassure voters that their sacred right to vote, to choose the next leaders of this country is protected," Escudero said.

The filing of the COMELEC comment with the Supreme Court on January 7 by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon without the concurrence of the full commission, however, has surprised poll officials and has prompted Bautista to issue a memorandum asking Guanzon to explain.

Bautista said Guanzon's filing was "irregular and personally disrespectful" since the COMELEC was given until January 12 to file its comment in connection with the petition for certiorari against the full commission's decision to cancel the certificate of candidacy for president of leading candidate Sen. Grace Poe.

The Comelec chief warned Guanzon that he will be compelled to inform the high tribunal that the filing of the 73-page comment was not authorized, should she fail to give a satisfactory explanation.

But a defiant Guanzon said: "I must emphasize that as a commissioner, I am not a subordinate or employee of Chair Bautista and he has no administrative supervision or control over me."

According to Escudero, he was appalled at the insubordination of Guanzon and disrespect to the COMELEC chairman and the institution that she was mandated to serve and she herself has sworn to serve.

"Even assuming arguendo that she is not a subordinate of the Chairman as she claims, the COMELEC is a collegial body that always acts collectively, and not individually," Escudero pointed out.

"This validates our observation that Commissioner Guanzon is threat to our democracy and the conduct of elections come May," added the frontrunner in the vice-presidential race.

"I challenge her to make public the COMELEC en banc resolution that authorized her to file the comment herself on behalf of the poll body and put the names of commissioners in her submission to the Supreme Court," the veteran senator added.

Escudero also urged the public to remain vigilant against these dangerous tendencies of some COMELEC officials to weaken the institution and erode the foundation of the democratic right to vote.

"This bullying has got to end," he said.

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