MANILA — Officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have decided to move forward and leave behind them the “misunderstanding” that developed between Chairman Juan Andres Bautista and Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

This was announced by Commissioner Arthur Lim, who was with the six other members of the Commission en banc at the Comelec Session Hall on Tuesday.

“In the past few days, you have been witnessed to certain issues or controversy that involved the commission, particularly our good Chairman and our good Commissioner Guanzon… We have ourselves now decided to move forward and to leave this controversy behind us,” he said.

Lim added, “All is well that ends well. Your Commission is firmly in good hands. We are united and focused to do the mandate that the Constitution has given to us.”

The poll body official noted that such misunderstandings are to be expected since the collegial body is composed of seven different individuals.

“That is to be expected in the light of any collegial body. The important thing is that we are able to address the issues,” he said.

Lim also assured the public that they are one in ensuring the holding of a clean and honest May 2016 national and local polls.

“We would like to give a firm assurance to our people that the Comelec is firmly committed to the holding of a clean, honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible elections ‎in 2016 and we shall not be sidetracked by any other issues other than to focus on the 2016 elections and make it a successful exercise for our people,” he added.

The public rift between Bautista and Guanzon started after the poll body chief issued a memorandum to the lady commissioner asking to explain why the comment on the disqualification case of Senator Grace Poe was filed before the Supreme Court (SC) without the needed authorization.

For her part, Guanzon answered through her Twitter account, noting that the comment she filed last Jan. 7 had the approval of the Commission en banc.

Meanwhile, Lim has announced that they are adopting the comment filed by Guanzon on the disqualification cases filed by former University of the East Law Dean Amado Valdez, former Senator Francisco Tatad, and De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio Contreras against the lawmaker.

“The Comelec en banc will be ratifying and confirming the comments that have been filed in the cases of Tatad et al.,” he said.

On Monday, the poll body submitted its comment on another disqualification case against Poe, filed by Atty. Estrella Elmaparo before the High Tribunal.

Last month, the Comelec en banc affirmed the separate decisions of is First and Second Divisions, which ruled that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino and failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement.

For her part, the presidential aspirant has filed petitions before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to reverse the en banc ruling.

The High Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the removal of her name from the list of presidential candidates in next year’s polls. PNA /