MANILA, Philippines -- Nominees to the Commission on Elections should be “younger, more aggressive,” Senator Richard Gordon said Monday.
Gordon, who heads the committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, was reacting to reports that retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo would be appointed as Comelec chairman.
Last week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Iligan City regional trial court judge Moslemen Macarambon as Comelec commissioner.
“We need a young leader who is savvy about information technology because we have an antiquated election system. There are going to be pressures. We need someone who can move fast and decide cases, and who can have a tight rein on commissioners and Comelec people like [former election commissioner Virgilio] Garcillano and [missing Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang] Bedol,” said Gordon.
He said he would have to check if retired justices could still be appointed to the Comelec, even after they had received their retirement paychecks.
With Macarambon's appointment, there are three more vacancies at the poll body -- the one vacated by resigned poll chief Benjamin Abalos, and the two to be vacated by acting Comelec chairman Resurreccion Borra and commissioner Florentino Tuason in February next year.
Gordon said that aside from appointing people of proven integrity, independence, and competence, electoral reforms must be instituted.
“There are so many things that you need to fix in the Comelec. Number one is the pride problem. There is no pride in the Comelec, and their reputation as independent arbitrator is shot. And they are in charge of the most basic and fundamental right of the people,” he said.
Gordon, who is set to file a bill seeking to penalize “political butterflies,” said automation of the electoral system should be the administration’s top priority.