Comelec on P15-M ‘obligation’: We have rules to follow

Comelec on P15-M ‘obligation’: We have rules to follow

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) assured contractor Impact Hub Manila, its partner during the pre-election debates last year, that it is not running away from its obligations.

Comelec chair George Garcia confirmed the Comelec has not paid “a single cent” as they are still determining whether everything is in order because it involves public funds.

“Public fund was involved and it is our sworn duty to spend it only pursuant to established rules, regulations and auditing practices,” he said in a message to reporters Monday night in reaction to the final demand letter from Impact Hub Manila asking the poll body to pay its alleged unsettled liability amounting to PHP15.3 million.

“We are determining whether everything was in order or whether something somewhere along the way, serious issues of questionable nature did set in. We cannot be rushed to settle, more so that there are criminal, civil and administrative liabilities being investigated,” Garcia added.

The issue stemmed from the cancellation of the last two Comelec-sponsored debates at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City on April 30 and May 1, 2022 following the alleged failure of Impact Hub Manila to pay PHP14 million to the hotel.

Impact Hub Manila said there was a “misunderstanding” with Sofitel but their contract with Comelec stands.

The demand letter signed by lawyer Ma. Karla Denise Frias said that despite Impact Hub Manila’s repeated demands, both verbally and via email, the claims have remained unpaid.

“As such, please consider this as the final demand to coordinate and set a meeting with us to discuss the settlement of the outstanding balance. Please note that failure to respond or to make a payment arrangement within the next five days upon receipt of this Notice will leave us with no other option but to avail of the legal remedies under the law to recover the debt and to protect the company’s interests,” read the demand letter dated April 27 and received by the Comelec on May 8.

Garcia said he ordered the creation of an investigating panel to look further into the case after he assumed office in July 2022.

“The panel already submitted a report several months ago. However, the En Banc returned it to the body with the instructions to clearly pinpoint the specific laws and provisions involved, the responsibilities if there be any of certain mentioned individuals, and a more detailed recommendations based on the facts and the laws applicable,” he said.

“The factual antecedents as determined by the panel remained as is.” (PNA) 

Leave a Reply