Sotto urges bickering Comelec officials to cool off

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Saturday, Jan. 29 moved to cool down simmering pressures on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as he appealed to the public, especially candidates in this year’s polls, to accord respect to the poll body and spare it from politics.

Sotto reminded everyone that the Comelec is an independent body.

The Senate chief issued the statement following an allegation of outgoing Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon that a senator might be behind the delay in the release of the decision on the disqualification case of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Guanzon had revealed that she penned a decision in their three-member division disqualifying the candidacy of Marcos.

The alleged premature disclosure of Guanzon of her decision triggered varied reactions, for or against.

'’It's best that she names the senator, otherwise we will all be suspect,’’ Sotto said.

‘’If there is proof, I will ask the (Senate) Committee on Ethics to look into the matter,’’ he added.

In his statement, Sotto said: “Sa lahat ng oras at pagkakataon ay kailangang mapanatili ng Comelec ang kanyang integridad sapagkat ito ang sandigan ng ating karapatang makapili ng mga lider na magpapatakbo sa ating bansa (The Comelec should at all times maintain its integrity as it is the guardian of our right to suffrage.’’

‘’That is why I am calling on all parties to stop corrupting the poll body and the electoral system,” Sotto said.

He also said: “Nananawagan ako sa publiko, lalo na sa mga kapwa kong kandidato, na kung maaari sana ay iwasan nating gamitin ang ahensya sa ating pamumulitika (I appeal to the public, including my fellow candidates, to leave the Comelec from politics).

‘’Let us not use the Comelec for political propaganda, and for grandstanding,’’ he added.