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Commissioner Socorro Inting will act as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) chair starting February 3 in preparation for Chairman Sheriff Abas’ imminent retirement from the Commission.
This was confirmed by Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in a Tweet.
— Rowena Guanzon (@rowena_guanzon) January 24, 2022
“Commissioner Socorro Inting, most senior [commissioner] on February 3, will be Acting Chair [of the] @COMELEC while [President Rodrigo Duterte] has not appointed a chair,” she said.
Commissioner Inting is from Davao City, and served as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) for nine years.
Abas is not the only one whose term will end next month. Commissioners Guanzon and Antonio Kho Jr. will also step down a day before Inting assumes her post.
Aside from Inting, this leaves the COMELEC with Commissioners Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino, and Rey Bulay – all appointees of the Duterte administration.
Duterte has to appoint the next COMELEC executives before the nationwide prohibition on the appointment of new government employees this March 25.
COMELEC information director James Jimenez pointed out how the vacancy of three executive positions in the Commission would be a challenge,
“It is very important because with three commissioners gone, we will end with four commissioners left and that’s just basically the quorum,” he said. “None of the commissioners, under that situation, can afford to be absent or can afford to do other things so medyo challenging talaga (it can be a little challenging),” he said.
Election watchdog group Kontra Daya (Against Fraud) expressed concern over the appointment of the next COMELEC officials, with its convenor believing that public pressure is vital in the selection of new commissioners.
(UPDATE: The original headline claimed that Abas was resigning. For clarity, ex-chair Abas retired from the Commission. We apologize for this oversight.)
Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.
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