The head of the Task Force PiliPinas Debates 2022 Fiasco of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recommended the temporary relief of Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez, and Education and Information Department (EID) Director Frances Arabe, from their duties in dealing with the media as the investigation on the foiled presidential and vice-presidential debates continue.
Comelec Commissioner Rey Bulay, in a statement released on Friday, said, in the interest of the service, he recommended “Directors James Jimenez and Frances Arabe be temporarily relieved from any functions involving media relations and exposure.”
At the same time, he recommended that Comelec designates replacements for the two officials.
“To continue the duties of Directors Jimenez and Arabe in the Education and Information Department (EID), it was recommended that temporary replacements be designated,” he said.
Bulay added that Jimenez and Arabe may still retain their other internal posts.
“To prevent disruption in the essential election operations, the elections being a few days away, Directors Jimenez and Arabe were recommended to continue other functions under the supervision of their committee heads,” he said.
Both officials were among those involved in the partnership with Impact Hub Manila in producing the PiliPinas Debates 2022.
Bulay said the task force found reasonable cause to merit a fact-finding and administrative disciplinary investigation on the matter.
He added that no other information will be released while the investigation is ongoing.
“(We) cannot release information on the issue to avoid a trial by publicity, to preserve the dignity of the procedures; and considering that government officials enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties,” the poll body Commissioner said.
Aside from Bulay, the task force is comprised of the Executive Director, Director of the Finance Services Department, Director of the Law Department, and Director of the Personnel Department.
The investigation stemmed from the financial woes faced by the private company with Sofitel Hotel that led to the cancellation of the holding of the last presidential and vice-presidential debates.
Source: Philippines News Agency