'Dapat live': Constitution framer wants televised selection of next Comelec commissioners

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2021 04:05 PM

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MANILA – The Commission on Appointments’ selection of the next Commission on Elections commissioners should be aired live on television, a Constitution framer said Wednesday. 

Atty. Christian Monsod, a former Comelec chairman, said airing the interviews live would help the public scrutinize the next poll commissioners. 

"'Yung vetting ng appointees, importante 'yun. Sa’kin, dapat live yun, kasi meron ding tendency 'yung gobyerno natin na pag sinabing medyo alanganin, kino-correct na nila next day or afterwards na no, that’s not what he meant. But I want the people to listen doon sa kanilang answers firsthand,” he said in an ANC interview. 

Monsod is one of the civil society leaders who recently called on the public to be vigilant in the selection of four Comelec commissioners by February 2022.

Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho Jr. will end their terms in February 2022, or three months away from the elections that will elect President Rodrigo Duterte's successor.

There is also one vacancy that has yet to be filled up following Michael Peloton's failure to secure the Commission on Appointments' nod.

By February 2022, Comelec will be left with commissioners Soccoro Inting, Marlon Casquejo, and Aimee Ferolino, all Duterte appointees, and all from Davao City.

Monsod said he can see why Duterte appointed commissioners from his home city.

“I think the regional aspect, we can also understand that because siguro, the president’s--unfortunately, because from mayor he became president. So parang wala siyang national experience at wala siyang connection with the other regions, or possible sources ng independent people. Pero, marami naman tao, marami naman tayong independent eh."

"And, dalawa doon sa kanyang in-appoint, although from Davao, came from the ranks,” he said.

He also noted that he hasn’t seen any signs of partisanship from the Comelec so far.

“And today, I still have not seen partisanship on the part of the Comelec,” he added.

He stressed, however, that it’s important that independent Comelec commissioners be appointed in the coming months.

“Kaya importante yung bagong apat. Kasi magiging majority yun at kasama pa yung chairman. Alam mo sa ating constitutional design, the Comelec, and so the chairman, is the most powerful person in the country for 120 days before elections, and 30 days afterwards. It can do lot of things about the election except right to vote,” Monsod said.

“Kailangan talaga 'yung independence because siya ang more powerful. And elections, that’s the time when the people, the sovereign people will vote for kung sino ang kanilang kakatiwalaan na agents of government. Not the other way around. The people are the principals. And government officials are only their agents,” he said.

Article II, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution says, in part, that "Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them."

“Building block natin sa democracy yung eleksyon eh,” he added.

A former justice secretary previously said that complaints on new poll commissioners appointed by President Duterte can be raised with the Commission on Appointments.

"Ang patakaran ng Commission of Appointments ay talagang kung merong reklamo, complaint o objections, ito ay kasama sa records," said Atty. Alberto Agra.

--ANC, 27 October 2021