While it is still hot…like fuming hot…I really don’t know what else to say.
Only in the Philippines? Wow talaga.
Comelec exec: Nothing to pack
By Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:22:00 10/28/2010
MANILA, Philippines—Delivery of voting materials by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to a number of regions for the October 25 polls were delayed because at a certain point there was nothing to transport, the poll body’s packing and shipping committee (PSC) said Wednesday.
The delays and other glitches led to the postponement of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in 2,418 villages (about 6 percent of the total) across the country.
“There was a delay in the packing because we had nothing to pack … the ballots were incomplete,” PSC head Rey Doma said, defending his committee against accusations that it delayed the delivery of voting supplies for monetary gain.
A Comelec insider, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told the Inquirer on Tuesday that some employees and officials of the poll body intentionally caused delays because they wanted to get a share of the P230-million budget for delivering voting materials.
(So what else is new???)
The source said it was controlled chaos. “They delayed it until the last minute,” he said.
The Comelec has formed a fact-finding panel to determine the delays in the delivery of election paraphernalia and those who should be held accountable.
Doma said it was unfair for Comelec officials to put the blame on the PSC when it was merely enduring the “domino effect” of late preparations.
(Domino effect? Bakit hindi kaya natin sila lagay under giant dominoes and see how well they run…)
He said the fact-finding panel “must look at the whole gamut of the delay.”
“There are a lot of factors that contributed to the delay… I just hope that the investigation will be fair and impartial and that the fact-finding committee sees the whole gamut of the delay,” Doma told reporters.
Commissioner Armando Velasco, the head of the fact-finding panel, said his group would also review the timetable for the barangay and SK elections followed by the bids and awards committee (BAC), the National Printing Office (NPO) and the PSC.
“We would check how many days the BAC consumed before it issued the notice of awards to the winning bidders,” Velasco said. “We would also look into the schedule of the printing.”
Doma said his office could not immediately perform its functions, mainly to pack and ship ballots and other voting supplies, because there was “dilly-dallying” in the preparations and setbacks in the printing of ballots.
If the schedule had been faithfully followed, the shipping of election supplies could have started on October 18, a week before the nationwide polling in 42,025 barangays, Doma said.
But the NPO did not even complete the printing of ballots on that day, he said. Two days before the elections, some of the ballots were still at the NPO reception committee and had yet to be turned over to the PSC, he added.
Packing began October 15
Doma said the PSC started receiving election forms and supplies for packaging on October 15 and completed its work a week after or on October 23.
“We finished packing in one week,” he said. “We should have even been commended for this because we finished a job that is usually completed in one or two months in just one week.”
(We commend you….condemn seems to be a spelling mix up of commend don’t you agree?)
The shipment of ballots to far-flung areas like the Socsksargen and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao began only on October 19 and the following day in nearer regions.
This was after the Comelec allowed the PSC to carry out partial delivery of ballots after seeking its permission, Doma said.
“Of course we are the last phase of the preparation, so we look as if we are the ones who caused the delay,” he said.
He also denied that the delays were caused by his office so his men could get a share of the P230-million budget for delivering voting materials.
Doma said the packing and shipping committee had to designate deputized drivers from other government agencies to carry out the deliveries in the Cordillera Administrative Region and Ilocos as it would take more time if it were carried out by forwarding companies.
“We limited the personal deliveries to these two regions to make sure that the ballots would reach the areas on time,” he said.
Personal deliveries or those carried out by Comelec personnel were allowed only when bundles of the printed ballots had been inadvertently left behind by the forwarding companies, he added.
A list obtained by reporters on Wednesday showed that 17 Comelec personnel personally delivered official ballots and election returns to various parts of the country, including Sorsogon, Misamis Oriental, Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Quezon, Bohol and Sultan Kudarat.
The personnel were from the Comelec’s planning department, administrative service department, electoral contest and adjudication department, personnel department and election records and statistics department.
Eight drivers from other government agencies were deputized by the PSC to deliver the materials to Mt. Province, Abra, Quirino, Cagayan Valley, Nueva Vizcaya, Apayao, Benguet, Isabela and Laguna.
Doma acknowledged that during election time, the Comelec staff would bug him to make the deliveries out of town. “In fact last Sunday at the NPO, there were some people there waiting to be given trips like vultures,” he said.
The maximum budget provided to a Comelec employee making the delivery was P50,000. He also stood to receive a per diem of P800 and a stipend for gasoline expenses, he said.
Panalo talaga…. 🙂