Anti-graft group urges the Comelec to refund filing fees worth P3M

June 14, 2010 8:35 pm 

MANILA, June 14 — An anti-graft group on Monday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to refund P3.7 million worth of filing fees for failure to resolve a number of electoral protest cases.

According to the Center for Anti-Graft and Corruption Prevention, Inc. (The Center) said the poll body should refund the filing fees of at least 37 electoral cases as they failed to decide on the issues.

“Failure to resolve aforesaid cases within three years to date already signify blunt and worst disservice to the public by the poll body aside from causing aggrieved parties to spend P100,000 each in filing fees only to get ‘hi-jacked’ in the end with non-resolution of their complaints on time,” the group said, in a statement.

Based on their research, they noted that of the 37 cases, 29 are still with the Electoral Contests Adjudication Division of the of the poll body while the remaining eight are pending before the commission en banc.

They claimed that the Comelec may also be facing charges for violating provisions of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees.

Paragraph (e) Section 3 of RA 3019 states that it is considered corrupt practices if any public officer causes any undue injury to any party “in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence”.

On the other hand, paragraph (e) of Section 4 of RA 6713 says that “public officials and employees shall extend prompt, courteous, and adequate service to the public”.

“The way we look at it, the Comelec has been doing disservice and negligence because it appears some candidates have been robbed… It is clear that the failure of Comelec to resolve the 37 electoral protests on time have caused serious undue injuries to aggrieved parties,” said The Center’s Secretary-General Lane Afable.

The Center also asked Comelec Chairman Jose Melo to address the issue before it gets buried again.

“Comelec Chairman Melo should look for measures that would pave the way for possible repayment to victims of such disservice and incompetence by Comelec at the earliest possible time to repair it and put a closure to the issue,” he said.

With this, they urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the matter. (PNA) LOR/FGP/utb

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