Bacolod City – Provincial Commission on Elections supervisor Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria recently confirmed the resignation of Atty. Jonna Cabanilla as Election Officer of Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental, which took effect mid-January this year.
Ananoria disclosed that Cabanilla cited personal reasons for her resignation, after two years serving the Commission on Elections.
Cabanilla and Himamaylan City Election Officer Romeo Palma are being investigated by the Comelec for the hiring of support staff during the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, which were not included in Comelec Resolution Number 10924.
Ananoria said that Cabanilla personally paid P2,000 to each of the 660 support staff, who had rendered poll duties in Kabankalan City.
The support staff were supposed to be paid P5,500 each.
The remaining amount is still pending with the Comelec en banc, he added.
A total of 211 Comelec support staff were also hired in Himamaylan City, during the 2023 BSKE polls.
The investigation into the hiring of unauthorized Comelec staff in Himamaylan City is also ongoing, Ananoria said.
Despite her resignation, Ananoria said that the Comelec will be pursuing a civil case against Cabanilla, but the administrative aspect will be dropped.
Anna Liza Edral took over the position vacated by Cabanilla, being the senior Election Assistant of the Kabankalan City Comelec office, he added.
In a message obtained by local media, Cabanilla said “I would like to personally inform you that I have already resigned from COMELEC. I am no longer connected as of today. I have been receiving threats to my safety hence, I came up with such a decision.” “The issue on your compensation is in National Comelec and it will continue to be tackled on.
As per the provincial Comelec, they will be the ones to follow up the status of the compensation for Kabankalan and Himamaylan,” she added.
Ananoria said Atty. Keinth Horario was designated as Election Officer of Himamaylan City, and Atty. Johnnie Lou Darigan-de la Cerna as La Carlota City Election Officer, both permanent in status.
Palma, who is still assigned at the Himamaylan City Comelec, earlier said that the hiring of 211 support staff was an honest mistake, as he admitted that he overlooked the Commission on Elections Resolution 10924 that states that for purposes of the October 30, 2023 BSKE, “the hiring of support staff shall not apply.”
The hiring of support staff was allowed in previous elections. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)