Monday, January 21, 2008

Gordon wants nominees to Comelec publicized

Gordon wants nominees to Comelec publicized

By Fel V. Maragay

Senator Richard Gordon said yesterday he saw no harm if the five nominees to the chairmanship of the Commission on Elections will be revealed in response to the call of various sectors for transparency in the selection process.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said the administration is hurting from apprehensions that somebody outside the list may be appointed as Comelec head to replace Benjamin Abalos.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye confirmed that the list is now with President Arroyo. But he said it could not be publicly divulged without her clearance.

Comelec said the list of nominees should be kept under wraps to keep the process from being politicized.

But Gordon countered that Malacañang was fanning the controversy with its continued refusal to heed the public clamor for transparency in choosing the people who should pursue electoral reforms. “There is no need to fear that short list, once divulged, will be politicized if the chosen nominee deserves to lead. Malacañang should have nothing to worry.”

Despite the Palace’s no-disclosure policy, the search committee claimed that the following have made it to the list—retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo, former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero, chief state prosecutor Jovencito Zuño, Legal Network for Truthful Elections convenor Carlos Medina and former Court of Appeals Justice Raul Victorino.

Gordon vowed that he would see to it that the person picked out by the President as next Comelec chairman should pass through the proverbial eye of the needle before the Commission on Appointments.

As member of the CA, he said he would scrutinize the credentials and qualifications of the incoming Comelec chairman so that all the information that was denied to the public by the Palace would come out.

Gordon emphasized that the CA will reject the nomination of any appointed Comelec chairman found to have fallen short of qualifications. He said the ability to implement the Automated Election Law should be a key criterion in assessing the competence of the appointee.

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