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Hagedorn scores Brillantes for ineptitude

Posted last September 12, 2014, 9:07 pm in News report article

Palawan’s 3rd District Rep. Douglas S. Hagedorn criticized Chairman Sixto Brillantes and the members of the Commission on Elections during its budget presentation for failure to fulfil their duty of conducting lawful recall elections.   

The 1987 Constitution mandates the COMELEC to implement all laws and regulations on election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall. The poll body, however, has refused to favourably act on valid recall petitions, citing “lack of funding” as a convenient alibi.   

“How could COMELEC ignore Puerto Princesa City’s over 40,000 recall petitioners, which in fact exceed the required 20% of the City’s voters?” Hagedorn lamented.   

COMELEC has accumulated huge savings which it could realign to fund recall. In 2013, the Comelec savings amounted to P3.6 Billion. If it wants to, it could easily fund Puerto Princesa’s recall, which by Comelec’s own estimates needs only P13.4 million, Hagedorn bared.   

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Isidro T. Ungab confirmed that with fiscal autonomy COMELEC can ‘allocate, administer and utilize’ its own savings in the performance of its functions.   

Hagedorn asked Brillantes to confirm whether he had made a pronouncement that there will be no recall elections during his term. Brillantes denied this, saying that he only “discourages” it. He said that they will wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.   

“Despite the fact that the Commission has lots of unused appropriations carried over every year, it still claims that it has no money to perform its mandated function to hold a recall election? Why then should the House approve their request for additional budget, much less approve their present budget proposal, when it has billions and billions of unused funds carried over every year, and yet still fails to perform their duties?” Hagedorn stressed.   

Hagedorn vowed that he will move for the deferment of the approval of the Commission’s budget until Congress is convinced that it will fulfil its duty and mandate.  

"If ever, I will recommend only a peso budget, as the COMELEC has other sources from savings and continuing approproriations running to billions of pesos," Hagedorn said.