Comelec officers ask City: increase allowance, buy car-A A +A
Saturday, October 9, 2010
CEBU City's two election officers requested City Hall to increase their monthly allowance from P5,000 to P12,000 and also asked for a new vehicle for the Commission
on Elections' (Comelec) trips to the barangays.
Lawyers Edwin Cadu-ngog and Marchel Sarno, election officers for the south and north district, respectively, requested for at least one new vehicle, “preferably a Toyota Altis, in replacement of the present vehicles used by our office.”
Sarno said the 14-year-old Mitsubishi L300 van detailed to their office was borrowed from the Comelec 7 office.
Both the north and south district poll offices share the van for trips to 80 barangays in the city, but it has been unserviceable for several months now due to mechanical malfunctions.
“It's almost 15 years old na grabe ka gubaon ug dilapidated. Dili gani namo magamit kay ayohonon pa and dili namo mapaayo kay sa central office pa namo ipaagi ang request sa mga pyesa... We requested for an Altis but it's the discretion of the city
officials to give whatever car is available,” Sarno told Sun.Star Cebu.
In their Aug. 26,2010 letter addressed to Mayor Michael Rama, Cadungog and Sarno said “our request will really help us achieve one of our goals, to serve the public by way of giving them good service in visiting concerned barangays in relation to election matters.”
Sarno said the vehicle will be used to transport election supplies to the barangays, as well as their personnel who might have to visit the barangays.
In a separate letter dated Sept. 7, 2010, the election officers also requested for an increase of their P5,000 monthly allowance.
Specifically, they asked to be given the same allowance as the Cebu City chief prosecutors, who are getting P12,000 each a month.
The request came a month after Rama granted the request of the city prosecutors, who also asked for an increase after learning that the monthly allowances of the judges were also increased to as much as P45,000 a month.
“We also would like to appeal from your end to please grant us also an increase of our allowance, like that of the City Chief State Prosecutor, in the amount of P12,000, being also the head of our respective offices,” their letter read.
City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said he does not see anything wrong with the request, but it still has to be evaluated.
He told reporters he has to check with the mayor if the request should be approved, and whether the City has extra funds for the additional P14,000 a month they will have to shell out for it.
“I don't think there is a conflict of interest there if we grant the request, I do not want to look at it that way because I think the request is made in good faith.
Besides, the local government has the authority to assist our Comelec office,” Poblete said.
Among the things they will consider in granting the request for additional allowance, he said, is the workload of the election officers.
While it is true that the elections are held only every three years, Sarno said it does not necessarily mean that their workload is full only during elections.
In between elections, the Comelec has to hold continuing registration of voters, prepare for general and barangay elections, prepare and issue voter's identification cards and issue Comelec certifications to registered voters.
The local poll offices also prepare for referendum whenever there are proposals to split barangays.
“Just like other officials and employees asking for an increase an allowances, the reason for the request is that the amount we are getting now is no longer sufficient to cover or daily expenses, especially those related to work. Mahal na ang mga palitonon ron,” Sarno said.
As for the vehicle, Poblete said he still has to check with the General Services Office if there is an available vehicle that can be lent to the Comelec Cebu City offices.
The City recently purchased 21 new vehicles, among them around 10 units of Toyota Altis, but they were intended for department heads.
Last February, the City passed its first supplemental budget amounting to P25 million, which represented the Election Reserve Fund for the election-related expenses of the local poll office, including the honoraria of the board of election inspectors and job order employees.
In March, the City also appropriated P1 million for the cost of the renovation of the two Comelec Cebu City offices and for fixtures and office partitions.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2010.