By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is already investigating the alleged inspection conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in one of its warehouses.
“If the police officer went into a Comelec facility without invitation, authorization that is not allowed. They can’t even do that in a polling place. They cannot enter a polling place without the authorization of the Board of Election Inspectors. That’s pretty clear,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in a press briefing Tuesday.
Earlier, a photo of a police officer allegedly inspecting vote counting machines (VCMs) and other election paraphernalia at the Comelec warehouse in Baguio City was posted on social media April 22.
Jimenez said he was already asking their field official in Baguio regarding the matter.
“This is just preliminary information but the way I understand it, there was security during the delivery. The police was just photographed observing the process,” he said.
“We really need to know what happened that’s why I’m asking,” added Jimenez.
On Monday, the lawyer of Otso Diretso senate bet Chel Diokno asked the poll body to conduct an investigation on the matter.
“We urge the honorable Commission to immediately conduct an investigation, come out with a report and along with it, an assurance to the public that such breach will never happen again,” said Emilio Maranon III in the letter he submitted on behalf of Diokno.
“This incident is a clear breach of the Comelec warehouse’s security and, worse, by its own supposed guards. This should be taken very seriously by Comelec as this incident can cast doubt not only on its independence, but on the very integrity of the upcoming polls,” it further read.
Maranon said the visit and access of a non-Comelec personnel to what should have been a restricted facility raises a serious concern.
READ MORE: Comelec official slams PNP’s inspection of voting machines in Baguio City, PNP defends Cordillera police over controversial vote-counting machines ‘inspection’, Otso Diretso bets question PNP inspection of vote-counting machines in Baguio