By Jeffrey Damicog
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Amelia Guanzon on Wednesday (May 15) vowed to file charges against officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) if an investigation will reveal that a sub-contractor was used to supply the poll body with voter’s information sheets in violation of existing Commission on Audit (COA) rules.
“Kung nag-violate sila ng COA rules, ako mismo ang magfa-file ng complaint sa kanila (If it is found that they violated COA rules, I will personally file a complaint against them),” Guazon told reporters.
In the meantime, Guanzon has sought the investigation of the NPO after receiving reports last Tuesday that it used a contractor, which she identified as the Holy Family Printing Press, to provide the Comelec with 61 million copies of voter’s information sheets.
The voter’s information sheets were supposed to be disseminated to the public prior the May 13 elections to inform them who are the candidates running in the local and national elections.
“Pag totoo pina-subcontract yan at bawal yan sa COA (If found they had a sub-contractor and it is not allowed under the COA rules), it is a crime,” Guanzon stressed.
“Dapat sinabihan kami hindi ninyo pala kaya mag-print niyan (The NPO should have told us it can’t print the voter’s information sheets),” she pointed out.
Guanzon explained the printing of the voter’s information sheets was given to the NPO so the Comelec would no longer hold a public bidding and select a contractor to do the printing pursuant to existing procurement laws.
“Kaya nga sa inyo binigay dahil gobyerno din kayo (That’s why the contract was given to the NPO because it is a government agency),” she said.
Apart from this, Guanzon lamented that there were many errors in the voter’s information sheets which forced the Comelec not to use them.
“So dahil mali-mali (due to the errors) it could have confused the voters could have resulted in failure of elections,” the commissioner said.
“Mabuti na lang naagapan (Good thing we prevented it) and we, the Commission en banc, ordered na hindi idistribute yung voter information sheet (to no longer distribute the voter information sheet),” she added.
Guanzon cited that there was one governor who complained that he was listed as number 6 in the voter’s information sheets when in fact he is number 2 in the ballot.
The commissioner also fumed that the NPO even asked the Comelec to pay P4 for each of the 61 million copies of the voter’s information sheets for a total of P244 million even though none was even used.
“Hindi naman sila nagprint, bakit naman namin sila babayaran (They did not even print it, so why would the Comelec pay up),” she stressed.