Press Release
January 20, 2016

Drilon to election chief: Wait for SC decision before printing ballots

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon reiterated his call for the Commission on Election (Comelec) to defer the printing of the ballots until the Supreme Court has finally ruled on all the disqualification cases pending before it.

The Senate chief said that all these concerns aired by Chair Bautista about his agency running out of time to print the ballots are unfounded fears, saying that the Comelec can always opt to hire more printers to meet its deadline.

Drilon also scored Comelec chairman Andres Bautista for his insistence to print the ballots while the High Court is weighing on the issue, saying the move is very disrespectful to the Supreme Court.

"Pushing through with printing the ballots even before the SC can decide on the disqualification cases is equivalent to an utter disrespect to the Supreme Court and its jurisdiction on the matter," Drilon said.

"I urge Comelec chair Bautista to accord due respect to the Supreme Court. The case is currently being heard by our esteemed justices. Why would Comelec Bautista want to pre-empt them? Why bypass our justices?" he stressed.

He added: "The Supreme Court is well aware of the time constraint and it knows its Constitutional mandate."

The Senate leader also said that the Comelec will only create more problems and delays if it will insist on printing the ballots before the high court rules on pending cases.

"I think Chairman Bautista knows better than to railroad the printing of the ballots. Besides, Chairman Bautista's insistence to rush the printing of the ballot will only trigger speculations on his impartiality, which may affect him and the agency at this crucial time," Drilon said.

He also said that the credibility of the 2016 elections will be put in question when the printed ballots would contain names of candidates that the Supreme Court would not allow.

"What will the Comelec do if the Supreme Court upheld the Comelec en banc's decision to disqualify Senator Grace Poe? Will the Comelec re-print the ballots? That will prove to be very costly and impractical," Drilon said.

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