Press Release
January 17, 2008


The next Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman will pass through the "eye of a needle" before the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) if Malacañang insists on keeping secret the list of nominees for the position, Senator Richard Gordon warned.

Gordon, a member of the CA, revealed yesterday that he would scrutinize the credentials and qualifications of newly-appointed Comelec officials to ensure that all information that Malacanang denied the public during the selection process will ultimately be unmasked.

"Malacanang's continued refusal to heed the public's clamor for transparency in choosing the people who should pursue electoral reforms and modernized elections only creates more controversy," Gordon said. " There is no need to fear that the shortlist of nominees, once divulged, will be politicized. If the chosen nominee is deserves to lead, Malacanang should have nothing to worry."

Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, also emphasized that the CA will reject the nomination on any appointed Chairman found to be incompetent for the sensitive position. He said that the ability to implement the Automated Election Law (AES) for computerized voting and canvassing should be a key criterion in selecting a replacement for former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos.

Earlier, Gordon who has been batting for automated elections and other electoral reforms, called on the President to be transparent in filling up the vacancies in the Comelec and urged the search committee created by Malacanang to reveal its findings to the public.

The Comelec, which has been besieged by scandals, principally the wiretapping controversy, currently has two vacancies: one vacated by resigned chairman Benjamin Abalos and the other, a vacancy that has not been filled up since way before the 2007 senatorial polls. With the retirement of commissioners Resurreccion Borra and Florentino Tuason early next year, there will be a total of four vacancies by February 2008.

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