Bayan to Brillantes: Clean Up Comelec (PR)

News Release
January 16, 2011

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today called on new Comelec chief Atty. Sixto Brillantes to “clean up Comelec and rectify the systemic problems of fraud and corruption that have become the hallmark of the poll body.”

“Atty. Brillantes is now in a position to look into many of the problems that have plagued Comelec, especially the ghosts of election fraud over the past decade. For the longest time, Comelec has been perceived as one of the most corrupt government agencies because of the conduct of its officials. Now is a good time to begin the process of cleaning up Comelec,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

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Among the issues Bayan said Brillantes should look into are the involvement of Comelec officials in the rigging of the 2004 presidential elections, the various irregularities and anomalies in the approval of contracts for Comelec paraphernalia, the problems that beset the 2010 automated polls and the questionable groups and nominees that have participated in the partylist system.

“The problems of Comelec have not been eliminated by automated elections. On the contrary, new problems arose even as many old problems persisted. The public does not trust Comelec because of this,” Reyes said.

“Atty. Brillantes can start with the Comelec officials that have been most notorious in election fraud, overpriced contracts and the like. We saw them operate even during the last presidential elections. The new Comelec chair should also lead an honest assessment of the automated polls conducted by foreign firm Smartmatic. This should include an audit of the Compact Flash cards used for the PCOS machines and the release of the source code for interested groups,” Reyes added.

Bayan also called on Brillantes to look into the abuses of the partylist system which was used by former Arroyo officials and other influential persons to try to gain seats in Congress. Former Pampanga representative and presidential son Mikey Arroyo was able to get a favorable ruling from a majority of Comelec commissioners allowing him to sit as a partylist representative.

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