Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesperson James Jimenez admitted in the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon that the agency now has only five billion pesos budget for the upcoming May 2018 village polls.
The amount was originally seven billion pesos but the agency already used five billion pesos for the printing of ballots.
But Jimenez assured that the said spending will not go to waste.
“Ang maganda diyan Kuya Daniel, yung karamihan doon sa ginastos namin noon magagamit pa natin ngayon. Ang bulto talaga niyan ay yung balota. So magagamit natin yan,” said Jimenez.
(What’s good about it Kuya Daniel is that most of the things we spent on can still be used today. The bulk of which were the ballots. We can still use those.)
However, the official said the amount paid as salary for their additional personnel remains irrecoverable.
Still, several lawmakers are pushing for the postponement of the barangay election in May but Comelec insists that they will continue to prepare for the polls.
In fact, Jimenez said that the agency is now 85% prepared and will start the printing of 18 million ballots mid-February.
Jimenez argued that another postponement of the election would definitely affect democracy in the country specifically the public’s rights to select the leaders of the land.
On top of the problems considered by the Comelec is vote buying.
When host, Daniel Razon, asked Jimenez why no vote buyer has ever been jailed by the commission, the latter said, “Medyo mahirap mapatunayan ang vote buying (Vote buying is difficult to prove).”
Another issue the agency wants to resolve is the implementation of election gun ban since they still have not received any written notice from the palace regarding the ban.
“Nawi-weaken yung institusyon, nawi-weaken yung process kasi hindi ka sure (It weakens the institution and the process because you’re not sure). Yun ang (That is the) lasting damage,” said Jimenez.
Even the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are just waiting for the Comelec to issue its guidelines for the gun ban.
“Expected na magkakaroon ng gun ban (Implementation of a gun ban is expected),” said PNP PIO PCSupt. John Bulalacao.