MANILA, January 11, 2011â€”A lawyer, known for his election reform advocacies, led the list of nominees as the next chair of the Commission on Elections.
Atty. Carlos Medina, also a recognized human rights advocate, topped a short list of nominees that various organizations submitted to President Benigno Aquino III for consideration.
Medina is the national convenor of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), a non-partisan poll watch group composed of lawyers and paralegal works that assisted the Comelec in recent elections.
He is currently a member of the Truth Commission formed by Aquino to investigate alleged irregularities during the Arroyo administration but has been recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Church-based and civil society organizations have conducted a search process to provide Aquino a shortlist of nominees that they believe fits for the top Comelec post.
These qualities, they said, that poll body officials should possess involves â€œindependence, competence, and integrity.â€
The committee includes Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of the Philippines; former Comelec chair Christian Monsod of the Bishops-Businessmen Conference; and Jose Cusia of the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections.
Roan Libarious of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Mahar Mangahas of the Social Weather Stations, Vincent Lazatin of the Transparency and Accountability Network, and Gregorio Navarro of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines are also part of the search committee for Comelec nominees.
While Medina is the top pick, they also have recommended Atty. Antonio Pastelero as another choice to replace Comelec chairman Jose Melo who is set to retire end of this month.
As a litigator, Pastelero has appeared and personally argued cases before major courts the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and numerous other government departments and agencies, including the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Among the cases he argued and won before the Supreme Court was the case involving the automated counting machines purchased by the Comelec from the MegaPacific.
Also being recommended for the post to be left by retiring Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer and Gregorio Larrazabal are Ma. Caridad Manarang, Baltazar Endriga, and Dr. Edna Estifania Co.
The committee related that Manarang is an acknowledged expert in information technology and systems design and management having had extensive experience at the SGV Business Systems Consulting Group in assisting clients in strategic systems planning, software package selection and implementation and middleware application development.
Endriga, meanwhile, is a Namfrel official, and is one of the pillars in setting up the first Operation Quick Count back in 1986 while serving as president of the Philippine Computer Society.
Co, on the other hand, is bringing forth her expertise in political science and is believed to be well-versed in Philippine political conditions and reforms that are necessary.
They are hoping that their names will be considered to replace Larrazabal and Ferrer despite their being non-lawyers.
â€œGiven the critical transition to the new system and as shown by the experience of the recent elections, the electoral process is primarily about management rather than about law and expertise and depth in administration, information technology and other disciplines are called for in the Comelec at this time,â€ they said.
Ferrer and Larrazabal are either set to retire on February 2, or mere days after the resignation of Melo takes effect. (CBCPNews)