'Early Comelec appointees may be questioned in SC'

Posted at 10/23/12 3:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rene Sarmiento expressed reservations at the possibility of naming early his and Commissioner Armando Velasco’s replacements to sit as understudies.

Sarmiento and Velasco are set to retire in February 2013, months before the elections.

Sarmiento said this has never happened in the history of the poll body. He said an early appointment may even be questioned before the Supreme Court.

He urged President Benigno Aquino III to name new commissioners a day after they retire amid a midnight appointments ban prescribed in the Constitution. He explained the poll body can grant exemptions to the ban in a resolution, citing the need for a full commission to prepare for the elections.

Nevertheless, even with just five members, the poll body can still function, he said.

He explained their 7-year terms cannot be extended. He said he will transfer to newly appointed Commissioner Grace Padaca his responsibilities in the inter-agency offices for detainees, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.

Sarmiento also proposed an inter-agency office for media voting since no implementing rules and regulations have been laid out yet.

As part of the preparations for the 2013 elections, Chairman Sixto Brillantes revealed they will release the final list of senatorial candidates either on Friday or on Monday the following week.