Abas
Comelec, COA execs get CA nod
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Sheriff Abas was finally confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) yesterday, eight months after his initial hearing before the body. 

The appointment of Abas, a nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, was first taken up in August last year alongside that of Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista. 

His confirmation was deferred twice as a result of separate manifestations from Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.

Even though Congress has convened as the National Board of Canvassers for the proclamation of the president and vice president, the CA, which is composed of senators and members of the House of Representatives, made time yesterday morning to confirm three officials of three constitutional offices.

Apart from Abas, Commission on Audit commissioner Isabel Dasalla-Agito was also confirmed by the CA.

Not so fortunate was Civil Service Commission commissioner Nieves Osorio, whose confirmation was again deferred upon the request of House members of the CA.

Agito and Osorio were bypassed by the CA last Sept. 22 when Enrile invoked Section 20 of the Rules of the CA during its plenary session that day.

Section 20 of the CA’s rules states that “any member may move for the suspension of action by the Commission on any nomination or appointment favorably recommended by a standing committee and the Chairman shall suspend the consideration of said nomination or appointment.” 

During his confirmation hearing yesterday, Abas was asked about the alteration of script done by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia in the transparency server that was used for the quick count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

This script change has led to concerns raised by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who ran for vice president in the May 9 elections, about the integrity of the electronic results of the elections.

Asked by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez who gave the authority to Garcia to alter the script, Abas said that as far as the Comelec was concerned, “We have not given any authority to Mr. Marlon Garcia.”

“But this is without prejudice to the cases filed against them and the investigation to be conducted by our office,” Abas said.

Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, who joined Abas during the hearing to answer questions about the script change, said that what was done by Smartmatic was “unnecessary but cosmetic.”

Senate President Franklin Drilon, who serves as the chairman of the CA, said that the CA would hold another session before Congress adjourns in June.

JENNLYN MERCADO JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
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