Comelec denies Namfrel's application for accreditation as citizens' arm in May 10 polls

February 3, 2010 11:30 pm 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Feb. 3 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied the application of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) for accreditation as citizens’ arm of the poll body in the May 10, 2010 national and local elections.

In a nine-page resolution issued on January 29, the Comelec en banc denied the group’s application to become its citizens’ arm, questioning its impartiality.

“News of partisanship simmers among officers of the organizations. Issues that they favor one candidate against the others make a questionable dent in the impartiality of the organization,” the Comelec said.

It added: “In the case before us, we could not help but cast doubts to Namfrel’s credibility and qualifications.”

The Comelec noted that Namfrel founding Chairman Jose Concepcion Jr. is a known critic of former President Joseph Estrada, who is again running for the presidency in the upcoming elections.

“It would be open to objection when Comelec would accredit as citizens’ arm to assist in the elections an organization closely associated with a personality who broadcast his distrust towards a candidate,” the resolution added.

The group’s ties with the late President Corazon Aquino was likewise one of the reasons of the commission for denying Namfrel’s application for accreditation.

Last December, Namfrel and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines–National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-Nassa) filed their applications for accreditation.

The Comelec also noted that they denied the group’s application as they have already accredited the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as their citizens’ arm.

“Unfortunately for petitioners… this Commission has already accredited on October 26, 2009 the PPCRV to be the Comelec’s citizens’ arm in this coming May 10 national and local elections, after convincing this commission of its capacity to promote the public interest and to assist the Commission in the performance of its function and activities,” said Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, in his Separate Concurring Opinion.

During the elections, the Comelec-accredited citizens’ arm will receive the fourth copy of the Certificate of Canvass. (PNA) scs/FGP/utb

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