Lawmaker urges Comelec to open records

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio today urged Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give the public freer access to records submitted by organizations wishing to participate in the 2013 party-list elections because as it is, their system is prone to corruption and abuse.

“The people can help Comelec weed out bogus party-lists, but they have to be armed with information which, right now, is mostly in the hands of Comelec. If these information are hidden from the public then bogus partylists can slip into Congress more easily,” Tinio said.

The poll body earlier vowed to rid the final list of organizations which do not legitimately represent marginalized sectors.  However, those who wish to aid in the purging are usually frustrated in the earliest stages, since they cannot even get from Comelec copies of relevant records.

Tinio cited Comelec’s irregular application of its rules on securing Petitions for Registration, Manifestations of Intent, and accompanying documents.  Resolution 9366 ensures the availability of these records to the public, subject to reasonable rules.

Tinio said that the public accepts as reasonable some restrictions like letters of request and nominal photocopying fees.  Lengthy processes and requirements unequally imposed are not.

“Genuine members of organizations who truly represent marginalized sectors are in the best position to tell which among those who filed their Petitions and Manifestations are fake,” Tinio said.

“They can, for example, confirm to Comelec that this group’s track record proves that it has actually worked against their sector’s interest, or that person is not really a member of their sector or has never advocated for them.”

Tinio added that Comelec is duty-bound to respect the people’s right to information.  He also stressed that the people should be able to exercise this right as soon as possible—before Comelec’s own deliberations close.

Tinio also urged Comelec to rethink the P10,000 fee for filing of petitions for disqualification of party-lists and nominees.

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