The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has replaced suspended education superintendent Natividad Bayubay as a member of the board of canvassers (BOC) that will supervise the final tabulation of the March 13 Palawan plebiscite.
The poll body confirmed its decision in a letter reply to the One Palawan campaign group that had earlier petitioned the Department of Education (DepEd) to inhibit Bayubay from the coming polls, citing her alleged bias.
“Ms. Bayubay had been substituted to act as a member of the Provincial Plebiscite Board of Canvassers (PPBOC) of Palawan for the reason that she is not the sitting Schools Division Superintendent of the Schools Division of Palawan at the time of March 13, 2021, and during the canvassing of votes for purposes of the Palawan Plebiscite,” provincial election supervisor Atty. Urbano Arlando stated in a letter dated March 6 and addressed to Corazon Davila of One Palawan Movement.
The letter also indicated the membership of the PPBOC as follows: Provincial prosecutor Atty. Alen Ross Rodriguez as vice chairperson, Atty. Maricar Misa-Tan as member-secretary, Rep. Gil Acosta, Jr. and Board Member Leoncio Ola as proponents for the “Yes” vote, and Roger Garinga of the Save Palawan Movement and Rev. Fr. Reynante Aguanta of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay as proponents for the “No” vote.
The group had earlier petitioned the Department of Education (DepEd) to inhibit Bayubay from the plebiscite. The latter is currently under preventive suspension while facing various administrative complaints.
One Palawan has complained about Bayubay’s alleged bias and open endorsement of the Yes vote in the plebiscite. Bayubay had justified her position on several social media posts, saying it is for the benefit of the Department of Education.
The COMELEC’s reply was also furnished to the Presidential Complaint Center of the Office of the President which had received a separate petition from the group.