Veteran elections lawyer, Marcos' ex-counsel is appointed Comelec chairman

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2022 04:19 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2022 06:38 PM

Commissioner George Erwin Garcia speaks during the Comelec briefing at their headquarters on April 22, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Commissioner George Erwin Garcia speaks during the Comelec briefing at their headquarters on April 22, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) -- George Garcia, a veteran poll lawyer and former counsel of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., has been appointed chair of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). 

In a message sent to reporters, Garcia shared a photo of his appointment document dated July 22 and signed Aug. 1.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles confirmed the development, saying Marcos "submitted Mr. Garcia's name to the Commission on Appointments as required by law."

Garcia represented Marcos in his poll protest against 2016 rival, former vice president Leni Robredo. 

Garcia was appointed by former President Rodrigo Duterte as Comelec commissioner last February but his confirmation was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments.

While a Comelec commissioner, Garcia inhibited from cases involving his previous clients, including Marcos, to dispel concerns on conflict of interest. 

"Para sa akin naman, that’s part of lawyering... But I will be inhibiting from all the cases that I handled," Garcia told reporters. 

Garcia disclosed he was also a lawyer at some point for presidential contenders Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 

In a statement, Garcia said he is "humbled and thankful for the trust and confidence given" by Marcos.

"Under my watch, the Comelec will aim for meaningful reforms that will resolve issues identified by stakeholders and the voting public. These will include structural reforms that will strengthen good governance founded on accountability, transparency, and integrity," he said.

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