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Comelec chief accepts budget cut, apologizes for resignation threat

Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Wednesday apologized for threatening to resign and said the poll body has decided to accept the P8.416-billion budget for 2013. "I think I would have to apologize. I was just so emotional when I got the P5-billion reduction and I said we'll have to go back to manual [poll count] and I did not want to manage that anymore," he said during Wednesday's Senate finance committee hearing on the budget of the Comelec. Brillantes had said the Department of Budget (DBM) had initially "approved in principle" a P13.4-billion 2013 budget for the Comelec. He then threatened to resign if the poll body does not get the budget he feels it deserves. But Senate finance committee chair Senator Franklin Drilon said the disagreement with the DBM should not cause Brillantes to resign. "This is just a matter of money, we can always appropriate," Drilon said. On Wednesday, Brillantes agreed and said that after several meetings with the DBM, they have come to an agreement. "We think the P8.4 billion would be okay as reduced by the DBM but we would have some problems with the 2012 and they said they can make some arrangements for the 2012," he said. He explained that the DBM agreed to source the budget for some of the preparations for the 2013 elections from the savings in the executive in 2012. "All of these are already settled [so] the P8.4 billion is acceptable to the Commission on Elections," he said. Drilon initially asked what happened to the savings of the Comelec from the postponed 2011 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections but Brillantes said they had to spend this amount on the ARMM general registration. — LBG, GMA News