Padaca Appointed Comelec Commissioner

MANILA, Philippines - Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca has been appointed a commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), a Malacañang official on Tuesday confirmed.

"Upon verifying with the Office of the Executive secretary, I confirm the appointment papers of Ma. Gracia Cielo "Grace" Padaca as Comelec Commissioner have been transmitted to Comelec," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

Padaca replaces Comelec Commissioner Augusto Lagman, who was removed from his post at the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes welcomed the appointment of Padaca, saying she'll be a big help to the poll body.

In an interview, Brillantes said he had earlier asked the President to appoint a lady commissioner.

"Ang hiningi ko sa Presidente ay babae. Apparently nadinig nila at babae nga ang inappoint," he said.

"I can always say that I've known her already. Her reputation is... walang problema sa integrity so malaki ang maitutulong niya dito. We welcome her," said Brillantes.

Padaca was a broadcast journalist in Cauayan, Isabela, who was elected as Isabela governor in 2007.

She is a polio victim who proved that a physical handicap is not a hindrance to success. She was conferred the International Women of Courage Award by the US Embassy in 2007 and the Ramon Magsaysay award for government service.

Padaca has campaigned against illegal logging in her province and is among the founders of the "Kaya Natin" movement that advocates genuine change and ethical leadership in the country. Kaya Natin movement founders include then Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio and the late Interior and Local Government chief Jesse Robredo.

In another development, a Malacanang official said Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) vice chairman Emmanuel Borlaza will be temporarily replace MTRCB chairperson Grace Poe - Llamanzares following the latter's filing of her certificate of candidacy (COC) for a senate seat in the 2013 midterm elections.

"MTRCB chair Grace Poe Llamanzares is going to be running under the administration slate. Vice-chair Emmanuel Borlaza will be taking over temporarily until a new chair is named by the President," Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing yesterday.

The MTRCB Board, composed of the chairperson, Vice-chairperson and 30 board members hold a one-year term but may be reappointed.

"The entire board is up for reappointment also," Valte said.

Valte said Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala will be designating an officer-in-charge of the National Food Authority following the filing for candidacy of NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo, who is running for a congressional seat in the First District of Agusan del Norte.

"Secretary Alcala of the Department of Agriculture will be designating an officer-in-charge or an acting administrator in the time being while the President is yet to appoint the replacement," Valte said.

The Palace official meanwhile assured that the Aquino administration will continue to work even with the election season.

"At least for us, administration work is still work. Work will continue despite the election or not. Tuloy pa rin yung trabaho natin," Valte said.

President Aquino earlier said those who will be running for the 2013 midterm elections but are currently holding a government position would have to resign after they file their certificate of candidacy.

Meanwhile, President Aquino has approved the nomination of Gil Buenaventura as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Buenaventura replaces DBP president and CEO Francisco del Rosario Jr. Buenaventura's term will be until June 30, 2013.

Likewise, President Aquino appointed Buenaventura as member of the DBP board of directors for a term beginning October 1, 2012 up to June 30, 2013, in place of Del Rosario.

Buenaventura is currently the senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI). He has extensive experience in the financing sector, having been appointed to high-level position in the banking industry, including Prudential Bank, Citytrust banking Corp., and Citibank.

Buenaventura holds a Masters in Business Administration major in Finance from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of San Francisco. -with a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino