MANILA - Pro-democracy coalition 1Sambayan on Monday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to select poll commissioners not only from Davao City to ensure a "credible, honest and transparent" elections in 2022.
"Kung gusto talaga nilang patas ang laban... marami namang Pilipino na puwedeng maging commissioner at chairman ng Comelec," the group's co-convenor Howard Calleja told Teleradyo.
(If they want a fair fight... many Filipinos can be commissioner and chairman of Comelec.)
"Hindi lang naman mga taga-Davao o mga kaibigan o kaklase ni Presidente Duterte," he added.
(Not only those from Davao or friends or classmates of Duterte.)
This, after an anti-election fraud advocacy group expressed concern that the Commission on Election would all be filled with Duterte appointees during the 2022 elections.
"Nandito tayo sa isang scenario na definitely by May 2022 elections, 100 percent 'yong Duterte appointees na mga commissioner sa Comelec," Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao told Teleradyo.
(We are in a scenario that definitely by May 2022 elections, Comelec commissioners will be 100 percent appointees of Duterte.)
"'Yon ang dapat bantayan na sana nando'n 'yong quasi-judicial independence no'ng Comelec sa kabila ng ganitong klaseng development," he added.
(We should look into this hoping that the quasi-judicial independence of Comelec remains despite this development.)
Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, and commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho Jr. will end their terms on February 2022, 3 months away from the general elections that will elect Duterte's successor.
Guanzon is the only commissioner appointed by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino. Abas was first appointed by Aquino as commissioner, but he was made poll body chief by Duterte in 2017.
Comelec will be left with commissioners Soccoro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino, and Michael Peloton, all from Davao City.
One of the latest appointees, Peloton, is Duterte's long-time lawyer.
Arao, also an associate professor of journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman, said a Comelec commissioner should not only be picked because one is a lawyer. He said it is also time to choose someone with background on information technology.