MANILA – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Juan Andres Bautista has no intention of quitting his position, shrugging off claims of all six poll commissioners of a “failure of leadership.”
He noted that there are no reasons for him to resign.
“I am not thinking of leaving my post at this point in time at all because I did not do anything wrong. The past election is a clear proof that the Comelec can hold an orderly, successful, and peaceful election,” Bautista said in an interview.
He said he is saddened by the current squabble at the poll body since they have just finished the successful conduct of the May 9 national and local polls.
“I am a bit saddened because we have just successfully conducted the elections, where it appears that the public perception towards us went up. Now, with this, it creates some doubts to our people,” Bautista added.
Last week, the six commissioners claimed in a memorandum a “failure of leadership” at the Comelec.
Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Arthur Lim, Luie Guia, Rowena Guanzon, Sheriff Abas, and Al Parreno want Bautista to answer at least 15 issues.
The poll body chief said he has accepted that being in a public office, he is a target of criticism from people inside the poll body and outside it.
“Every public servant cannot be onion-skinned. They should be ready for scrutiny. We should not also have gecko-like grip to our positions,” he said.
For her part, Guanzon noted the reason they raised the issues now because of Bautista’s continued refusal to deal with it prior to the May 9 elections.
“I think it’s been a long time. So finally that phrase (failure) was arrived at, you know, by consensus to describe everything. Because it’s been months before the elections, we really think that Chair Bautista could have solved many problems but he did not,” she added.
Among the issues were the unusual way of dealing with the en banc meeting agenda, the reshuffle of the field personnel prior to the elections, payment of teachers who served as Board of Elections Inspectors, and the failure to immediately promulgate resolutions and decisions.
But, both officials are hoping that the issues will be settled during the en banc meeting on Tuesday, June 28.
“What I want is a meeting that is conducted in a professional manner. As I said, we should have respect and courtesy to one another. Even if we don’t agree in certain issues, it should not lead to shouting and scolding. We can disagree without being disagreeable,” Bautista said.
Guanzon added, “We want a meeting because if something happens to somebody, we are all in this together. That’s our problem. That’s why we want to solve this problem early on… I don’t understand why he cannot meet with us. He is our chairman. How can he lead these commissioners (if he doesn’t meet us)?”
Meanwhile, the lady commissioner revealed that she, together with Commissioners Christian Robert Lim and Luie Guia are no longer participating in the operational preparations for the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.
“We don’t want to take part in the operational aspect of the Barangay elections anymore,” she said.
Guanzon added they want Bautista to run the October polls and allow him to prove his capabilities.
But, she noted that they will be taking part in the administrative functions of the en banc.
“Of course, we will just participate in the en banc if there are any actions needed from the en banc such as bidding procurement for the Barangay elections,” the poll body official said.