MANILA -- If the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could not investigate memory cards and election returns dumped in Cagayan de Oro, it cannot hope to investigate election delays in thousands of barangays, former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said Thursday.

Pimentel, speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado forum, said he had asked the Comelec to investigate compact flash cards and election returns found in a dumpsite in his city.

The Cagayan de Oro election officer given custody of the cards and documents has reportedly been relieved. But Pimentel said "nothing has been heard about this (since then)”.

He added a Comelec fact-finding committee formed to look into reports that saboteurs were behind the delays would be pointless, saying if the committee finds evidence against a Comelec employee that would reflect on his superior, and so on up the chain of command.

To avoid scandal, Pimentel said: “The tendency is to cover up.”

Pimentel, author of the Local Government Code, said there is no need for the fact-finding committee as complaints can be handled by prosecutors or forwarded to the Comelec law department.

The former senator said the delays and reports of 80 election-related deaths showed a "malfunction" of the Comelec. "Some heads must roll over this."

Pimentel's son, Aquilino III, has been locked in an electoral dispute with Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri since the 2007 elections. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)