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Teachers’ solon gives details on inaccessible party-list records

4 July 2012 No Comment


4 July 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)


“ INACCESSIBLE IN REALITY”—While ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio welcomed Chair Sixto Brillantes’s assurance of transparency of records, he remained concerned that the policy is not being implemented down to COMELEC offices.

The progressive lawmaker earlier urged COMELEC to give the public access to Petitions for Registration, Manifestations of Intent, and other documents filed by organizations wishing to participate in the 2013 party-list polls.  Brillantes replied that the records are already open to scrutiny.

Tinio noted that the poll chief’s statement is faithful to the transparency policy in Section 4, Rule 7 of COMELEC Resolution 9366.  “This policy was the very thing relied on by the public when they try to get copies of the important documents,” he revealed, “but they end up frustrated because records are, in reality, inaccessible.”

Tinio cited his group’s experience when it tried to secure documents on behalf of teachers’ organizations.  “We thought that after submitting a request letter, we would be able to photocopy the records.”

Days after the request, the office said that copies cannot be released because ACT Teachers Party-List is “not the concerned party” and that “the documents were already transferred to the ponente.”  The office also said that it will request the en banc or ponente for “permission to release the documents,” citing Minute Resolution 12-041.

His group found this suspicious.  All offices involved in the 2013 party-list polls, including that particular office, were furnished with original copies of the documents, so no transfer of records or permission is necessary.  Resolution 9366 also does not limit access to documents to “concerned parties,” or the petitioning party-list or any group or person who intervened during the hearings.

To check if an en banc permission is indeed required, ACT Teachers looked for Minute Resolution 12-041 on the COMELEC website.  As of press time, it is not yet posted.

In the end, Tinio hopes that Brillantes’s verbal vow of transparency would direct all COMELEC officials to let the public peer into the entire poll process. ###


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