Comelec officials told: Act mindful in public

Posted on October 12, 2012


Commission on Elections (Comelec) supervisors were reminded to be circumspect in their conduct and dealings with the onset of the election season that will last until the middle of next year.

Comelec Regional Director for Central Visayas Timie Lambino issued the reminder in light of the controversies surrounding two top Comelec officials in Cebu Ci ty and the prov ince.

Comelec Cebu City north district officer Marchel Sarno was under investigation for being photographed by CEBU DAILY NEWS meeting with controversial boxing promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud who’s facing a residency case before the court.

Also under fire was Comelec provincial supervisor Marco Lionel Castillano w h o w a s p h otographed again by CEBU DAILY NEWS making a hand gesture that the Liberal Party ( LP) Cebu chapter claimed was a victory sign for the rival One Cebu party.

Sarno said the meeting with Salud, who’s running for Cordova town’s mayoralty seat, was coincidental since he was with Comelec staff at the time.

Castillano explained that his hand gesture was intended for Garcia’s son who appeared to be crying when the group photo was taken.

Since Comelec officials hold a “very sensitive” position in light of the election season, Lambino said they are always subject to public scrutiny.

“Sometimes actuations are not palatable but I repose my trust and confidence on these people. I don’t have to worry about it,” Lambino said.

Lambino said he already asked Castillano to explain to him in writing about his gesture.

A memo will also be issued today asking Sarno to also explain in 72 hours a CDN photo that showed him meeting Salud over lunch in a restaurant.

“I talked to him ( Castillano) yesterday ( Wednesday) about it. I believe that he was just entertaining a child ( when he made the no. 1 sign). There was no intention on his part to influence or entertain a political party,” Lambino said.

Lambino also reminded all election officers to always be mindful of how they conduct themselves in public.

He said it cannot be avoided that the photos taken of Castillano and Sarno “will create doubt from the other camp.”

“I know them ( Castillano and Sarno) well so what I would so is just to ask for a clarification. They should be careful though because a picture speaks a thousand words and people hold various opinions on one picture only,” he said.

For its part, the OmbudsmanVisayas Office at the Mandaue City election office in the 2010 election.

“We won’t unless a complaint is filed before our office,” said Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol.

Like the anti- graft office, Apostol said the Comelec is an independent agency.

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