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Ausan sees complications in SC ruling on appointive officials

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Western Visayas is awaiting guidance from its central office as regards the recent decision of the Supreme Court on appointed officials who filed their certificates of candidacy (CoC) for the 2010 elections.

Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec regional director, said he has yet to see a copy of the SC decision stating that Cabinet officials and other appointive public servants participating in next year’s elections need not resign from their respective posts even if they have filed their COCs.

Ausan said he learned of the SC decision only in media reports.

The Comelec official said he saw some complications in the new ruling, particularly in the case of PNP, AFP and Comelec officials who are running for the 2010 elections.

Ausan cited the case of Alfonso Combong III, election officer of Hamtic, Antique, who is running for board member next year.

Combong filed his CoC Monday and did not report to work thinking that he automatically resigned his post after formalizing his candidacy.

But the SC order put the Comelec regional office in a bind whether to let Combong continue to discharge his office as election supervisor or consider him resigned.

Ausan said there might complications in Combong’s case and other officials such as the police and the military.

He said the SC might have overlooked the case of AFP and PNP personnel.

“Will they continue to be police and military officers while campaigning? We have to seek guidance from our central office on this. As regards Combong’s case, we suggested that he go on leave but it all depends on him,” Ausan said.

Reports from Antique said Comelec’s director for personnel Adolfo Ibañez to go on leave for the meantime.

Ausan said while appointive officials can stay in office even if they are candidates, they cannot use their office resources for their campaigns.

“If they use their offices for political purposes, they can still be pinned down by anti-graft laws,” he added.

The latest SC decision is the result of a petition filed by election lawyer Romulo Macalintal questioning a resolution issued by Comelec.

The Comelec resolution was based on Sec. 13 of Republic Act 9369 (The Automation Law) which states that “any person holding a public appointive officer shall be considered ipso facto resigned from office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of CoC.”

But Macalintal, in the petition, argued that such provision runs counter to another section that says “any person who files his COC shall be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.”

Macalintal argued that the requirement discriminates against government officials vis-a-vis the elective officials who are not obliged to give up their posts when they run for public office.

The SC ruled that appointive officials are only considered resigned at the start of the official campaign period.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

POWER supply is one of the major reasons why Transcom, a European business processes outsourcing (BPO) firm, decided to open shop in Iloilo City.

Duncan H. Cowie, Transcom vice president and regional manager for North America and Asia Pacific, said electricity was a key factor in their decision to locate their fifth Philippine site in Iloilo City.

“I consider power as a critical element of our business. And with power you have networks and the other elements that supply your infrastructure. I’m very excited that Iloilo has a new power plant coming on soon. Did that (power plant) make a difference in our decision? Absolutely. It’s very important to us. It’s so important to have security of supply because my clients don’t really mind what’s happening where we are. They only want to know we keep working,” Cowie said.

Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) is putting up a 164-megawatt coal-fired power plant at Brgy. Ingore, LaPaz, Iloilo City to address the power shortage not only in the city but in Western Visayas as well.

The power plant, which is expected to go online next year, will be operated by the Panay Energy Development Corp. under the GBPC umbrella and supply electricity to Region 6.

Cowie said they will initially employ more than 800 Ilonggos when they open next month.

“We plan to increase that capacity by 50% in the next six months. By March 2010, we expect to employ around 1,500 people and will increase to 2,000 by end of next year,” Cowie said.

Transcom will be located at the Amigo Plaza Mall on Iznart Street in downtown Iloilo City. The building has been accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to host BPO firms.

Cowie said the manpower potentials attracted Transcom to locate its fifth center in Iloilo City after Metro Manila and Bacolod City.

“We are not attracted by facilities or regions. We’re attracted by the people, the individuals,” Cowie said.

Cowie said they began hiring and training employees more than a month ago.

Chris Mason, Transcom vice president for implementation and solutions, said they were did not meet any difficulty in hiring employees, particularly for the management level posts.

Mason said the hiring rate in Metro Manila is 20-25% but in Iloilo it ranges from 40-45%.

“Your hiring rate in Iloilo is double the national rate which speaks a lot of your manpower potentials here. Hiring management level officers is usually the hardest process but here in Iloilo, we did not find it hard to get the people we need. It’s primarily because of the numerous universities in Iloilo,” Mason said.

As regards Transcom expansion, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said he has been talking with several businessmen who are interested in putting up buildings for new and expanding BPO firms.

Cowie said North America and Asia Pacific are the fastest growing areas among Transcom’s five regional operation areas at 50% annually.

“Transcom’s global growth is around 20%. In North America and Asia, the fastest growing country is the Philippines. Our growth rate in Asia is more than 100% yearly. Two years ago, we only had 800 employees in the Philippines. This year, we already have more than 6,000 employees,” Cowie said.

Transcom’s main business areas are customer care, sales and support, credit management and additional customer related services. It also provides CRM consulting, translation and interpretation, and legal services. Its expertise is in a wide range of industry sectors including telecommunications, the financial industry, travel & leisure, utilities and retail/consumer goods. It has 75 sites in 29 countries worldwide.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A CANDIDATE for the Sangguniang Bayan of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo was arrested and jailed for oral defamation charges right after filing his certificate of candidacy Tuesday.

Antonio Parcon, former barangay captain of Poblacion Ilaya, Barotac Nuevo, found himself inside the jail cell of Barotac Nuevo PNP Tuesday afternoon.

Parcon was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Barotac Viejo and Banate.

Parcon is facing criminal charges filed by Diana Biron, mother of 4th district Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron, for allegedly maligning the complainant.

According to Mrs. Biron’s complaint, Parcon badmouthed their family in public by accusing them of murdering a househelp.

Parcon also allegedly accused Rep. Biron’s company of selling expired medicines which killed several persons.

He is running under the Liberal Party ticket headed by Barotac Vice Mayor Pedro Hautea who will challenge Mayor Hernan Biron, father of Rep. Biron.

Parcon said over Aksyon Radyo that he will face the charges against him even as he accused the Birons of orchestrating his arrest.

He said he is willing to stay in jail if only to generate sympathy from his townmates.

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