The final press briefing for the security preparations for safe and fair national and local election 2016 held yesterday at Camp Simeon A. Ola Conference room was not attended by the regional director of the COMELEC, instead he sent his alter ego – Attorney Alberto Cañares III.

His absence in the final press briefing was explained by by Attorney Cañares III, using the over used bureaucratic discretion – he is out for a very important appointment.

The COMELEC being on the top of the Regional Joint Security Control Center is incumbent to be around in the occasion as the national and local election is in the home stretch is very crucial as far as the RJSCC preparations are concerned.

The presentation prepared by the Poice Regional Office – 5 pertaining to their security preparations was tangible, detailed, transparent and organized slide presentations has pointed out the 22,361 checkpoints conducted and the deployment of 181,274 police personnel all over the six provinces of Bikól Region was provided by the Regional Election Management Action Center [REMAC].

The pronounced absence of the COMELEC Bikól Regional Director in the press briefing was aleady exacerbating and further aggravated by lack of an available materials prepared for slide presentation. Having no such materials, there is nothing to appraise on the COMELEC as what do they have in their contingency plans.

The COMELEC region-wide responsive, pro-active contingency plan including media plans remains unknown.Without these ready informations, Bikól media can not deliver factual and transparent informations to the public.

The opportunity for the regonal COMELEC officials is lost again for them to be media friendly, as they preferred to be reclusive and selective.

The COMELEC has awarded the P1.7-billion contract to Smartmatic-TIM for the lease of 23,000 PCOS units, why can’t they afford to prepare the simple slides for the power point preparations as a point reference?

The COMELEC empty-handed gesture during the press briefing means anti-transparency approach and has shortchanged the PNP and the Bikólanos. Perennially, the COMELEC is using the argument of an “under manned” constitutional body – is a lame bureaucratic excuse and is unacceptable.

The public safety officers are working on a 24/7 basis in the battle zones during election period, leaving their families, without buts and ifs,  yet  the top honchos of the COMELEC have their own reasons to be  in their comfort zones.

The doctrine of public accountability that “public service is a public trust” and as the protector of the people’s right of suffrage, are none of their concerns. This is their [COMELEC hierarchy] time to show their faithful commitment protecting the people’s rights to suffrage has failed.

This deadly  bureaucratic indolence, the sanctity of votes had become an electoral merchandise the right to suffrage in this archipelago is dead, before the votes are casted in the ballot boxes.