GMA lawyer resigns, insists "Comelec is not ready" for May 10 elections
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's election lawyer and legal counsel Romulo Macalintal quit last night, May 5, due to his insistence on postponing the May 10 elections and Malacañang's conflicting decision to push through with them, reports GMANews.TV.
Macalintal said, "Sabi ko sa kanya [President Arroyo], baka maapektuhan siya ng opinyon ko. Hindi ko naman pwedeng bawiin ang posisyon ko. So dahil ayoko namang mag-away kami, o lumabas na nagkokontrahan sa mga press release, baka pwedeng mag-resign na lang ako," President Arroyo accepted his resignation amicably, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar.
On Tuesday, May 4, after the discovery of rampant glitches in the testing of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, Macalintal urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to postpone the automated elections for at least 15 days. "Hindi handa ang Comelec. Naghahabol sila. Pinipilit lang nila na matuloy para hindi mapahiya, kahit hindi maisabay ang botohan sa ibang lugar," he said.
Reports GMANews.TV, "Macalintal explained the Comelec may be held liable for abuse of discretion and violation of the Constitution if the poll body insists on pushing through with the May 10 schedule while voting in other places, which may have problems with the machines or ballots, will have to be stalled." Macalintal said, "According to the Constitution, the elections must be synchronized. What the Comelec wants, which is to postpone the elections in some places, is a violation of the Constitution," which he says, may result in "chaos."
Olivar said President Arroyo will support whatever the Comelec decides to do–whether to hold the elections as scheduled or to order its postponement.