Comelec says 'not crippled' by en banc vacancies ahead of May polls

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2022 05:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 03 2022 05:56 PM

Comelec en banc ABS-CBN News/File
The Comelec's supposedly 7-man en banc only has 4 members as of now: Socorro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino, and Rey Bulay. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) would remain functional even if there are only 4 members in the 7-man en banc just 3 months away from the national elections in May, the poll body's spokesperson said Thursday.

"The Comelec is not crippled. It makes it a little difficult but it's not crippled, we can continue," Jimenez said in a press briefing.

On Wednesday, chairman Sheriff Abas and commissioners Antonio Kho and Rowena Guanzon retired from Comelec as they finished their 7-year term. 

This leaves the Comelec with only 4 commissioners namely: 

  • Socorro Inting
  • Marlon Casquejo
  • Aimee Ferolino
  • Rey Bulay

All four are also appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte, and 3 of them are from Davao. 

According to Jimenez, the public should not be worried of the 4-man composition of en banc because all elections-related policies are already in place. 

"Remember when we talk about running elections, we're talking about setting in motion preparations that were put in place while there was still 7 of them... We're at the stage when we're just implementing these procedures and processes," Jimenez noted. 

However, Jimenez admitted that the remaining commissioners must always be present to reach a quorum and "get anything done."

"They have to have a quorum at all times because when a matter gets elevated to them, they're going to have to sit as quorum to get anything done," he said. 

Jimenez added that filling the 3 vacancies remains an "urgent" issue.

Malacañang earlier said Duterte already has a shortlist of candidates that he may appoint at the poll body.

The Philippines is set to hold is national and local elections on May 9.

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