Comelec exec told to explain in writing-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Central Visayas Director Temmie Lambino has directed Cebu City north district elections officer Marchel Sarno to explain in writing the photo showing him having lunch with Cordova mayoral candidate Rex “Wakee” Salud.
This after Lambino heard last Wednesday Sarno’s explanation of the occasion when the picture was taken.
“I explained to him that the photo was taken on Sept. 22 yet and the picture with the news item was published on Oct. 8 or about two weeks later,” Sarno told reporters yesterday.
If the picture was published before Salud filed his certificate of candidacy (COC), its implication would have been different. But the photo was published on Oct. 8, a few days after Salud filed his COC.
So it was that Lambino called Sarno to tell the Cebu City election officer to submit a written explanation.
The picture showed Sarno having lunch with lawyer Fillmore Gomos with Salud sitting a table away.
Sarno said he and Gomos, Salud’s lawyer, arranged to have lunch in a Chinese
restaurant last Sept. 22. Salud just happened to be there as well.
Sarno admitted Salud asked him for advice about his plan to join the mayoral race in Cordova, even though the court has ruled that he is not a registered voter of the town.
Sarno said he told Salud to “to do it again” anyway.
Describing his meeting with Salud as a “chance encounter,” Sarno said he did not regret his decision to give the boxing promoter advice.
He said he would do the same if he meets Cebu City election candidates outside his office by chance—answer their election-related questions. He added that this is part of his job as election officer.
Sarno feels better that Lambino wants him to explain the incident because it would be a formal venue to air his side of the story.
He said getting involved in controversies “is part of public service as not all people will be happy with you.” “The higher the position, the bigger the burden for criticism,” he added.
Apart from Sarno, Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano also received criticism for having been photographed making the One Cebu sign.
Castillano and the photographer explained that Castillano was only teasing the son of gubernatorial candidate Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu Province, third district) during the COC filing.
Even the photo showed that Castillano was looking at the child.
Sarno made light of the incident, telling Castillano, “Sali na (Join me)!” referring to the controversies surrounding election officials.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 12, 2012.