The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Friday completed its accreditation of “oppositors” to the plebiscite, authorizing the Save Palawan Movement (SPM) and the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (AVT) to deploy poll watchers on March 13.

The poll body beat its own February 26 deadline for the accreditation of the two separate “No” campaign groups with the release of a formal resolution.

At the same time, the poll body dismissed the application of another group that applied for the same accreditation as an “oppositor” and field its own watchers, a group calling itself Promote Palawan Movement (PPM).

On the decision to dismiss the PPM’s application, provincial election supervisor Urbano C. Arlando expressed concern about its intention and willingness to work with other oppositors as provided for under the guidelines of the COMELEC.

A provision in the guidelines categorically points out that failure of accredited oppositor groups to work together will deprive all of them of accreditation and the right to field poll watchers.

Both the SPM and the AVT had filed a formal opposition to PPM’s application, claiming the group to be an unknown entity with unclear motives.

The SPM told the COMELEC they “have not met, communicated with, worked with nor collaborated with PPM”at any time during their campaign on the plebiscite.

“To appoint watchers to polling places is necessarily in the interest of transparency which cannot be defeated by disagreement of an oppositor who refuses to cooperate with the other oppositors,” the COMELEC resolution stated.

“Granting the Petition of the PPM will defeat the purpose of the other oppositors who agreed among themselves on the division of polling places to appoint watchers. Hence, the Petition of PPM must be denied”, the resolution added.

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is a desk editor and reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.