To ensure undisrupted preparations for the upcoming elections, Senator Win Gatchalian on Friday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately appoint new members of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) after two of its senior commissioners, Christian Robert Lim and Arthur Lim, retired today.
“The Commission can’t afford to lose precious time as we are nearing the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May and the midterm national polls next year. It is only through a complete and functioning election body that the rigorous demands of its preparations can be eased. Therefore, I believe the speedy appointment of new COMELEC commissioners is critically needed here,” Gatchalian said.
He added that their bulk of work might also include the handling of possible plebiscites given the ongoing political discourse on charter change as well as the push for the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.
The senator stressed that the President “should consider aspirants having an expertise in managing systems or software technologies, as the current automation process is being clouded with questions of integrity and accuracy which should be prevented in the succeeding polls.”
Gatchalian added, “They should all maintain a good working environment and act in healthy accord with their fellow commissioners to ensure all reform initiatives take a singular direction.”
At present, the collegial body has four active members: Sheriff Abas, Rowena Guanzon, Luie Tito Guia and acting chair Al Parreño.
Abas, an incumbent commissioner, was appointed COMELEC Chairman in November to replace Andres Bautista and re-appointed on January 16 after the Commission on Appointments (CA) failed to act on his nomination last year. The CA must first approve his nomination before he can assume office as COMELEC chief.
With this, the President needs to appoint three new Commissioners to complete the 7-man election body.