Comelec can still configure PCOS machines for 13 senators – Drilon

July 6, 2012 9:27 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, July 6 – Senator Franklin Drilon said on Friday that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can still configure the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for 13 senators even without asking International Criminal Court (ICC)-bound Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to resign.

Drilon said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes was wrong in pressuring Santiago to decide whether the lady senator would resign or not before the deadline of the filing of candidacy in October so that the poll body can open the 13th slot for senator in the 2013 elections.

”The PCOS machines can be configured to vote 13 senators but the Comelec will proclaim only 12 while Miriam is waiting to assume her ICC position,” Drilon explained.

Santiago was overwhelmingly elected in the ICC in elections held by the Assembly of States Parties on Dec. 12, 2011 in New York. She is the first Filipino and first Asian from a developing country to sit in the ICC, which tries cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The lady senator said that she is unable to determine the date of her resignation and assumption to her ICC seat because of a provision in the ICC Charter.

The ICC Charter, also known as the Rome Statute, provides that any incumbent judge shall not be allowed to retire until he finishes any trial where he participated in.

“In order to observe the provision that the ICC should consist of only 18 judges, a newly-elected Judge has to wait until an incumbent Judge has disposed of all his pending trials, even if the tenure extends beyond the retirement date of the incumbent,” Santiago said.

“In other words, a Judge assigned to a Trial or Appeals Chamber continues in office in order to complete the trial or appeal, even after the expiry of his or her term. Then and only then will the new Judge be called to duty,” she added.

Drilon said the Comelec has no basis to pressure Santiago to resign, adding the PCOS machines require only little technical effort to configure to top 13 senators that will be elected in the 2013 midterm elections.

”Perhaps I should write Chairman Brillantes on what they should do because although I’m not an IT expert, I can see no problem. There is no complication and there should be no reason to pressure Miriam to resign,” Drilon said.

Drilon added that whoever will be elected as the 13th senator in 2013 will not be proclaimed until Santiago assumes her ICC post.

Santiago received another six-year mandate from 15,679,164 voters behind top two Senators Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada in the country’s first automated elections in 2010. (PNA) scs/jfm

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