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‘Inting may become acting Comelec chair’

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
âInting may become acting Comelec chairâ
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon posted in her official Twitter account that Inting, being the most senior commissioner, will be acting chairman of the poll body beginning Feb. 3.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — In the event President Duterte fails to appoint a chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by Feb. 3, Commissioner Socorro Inting will serve as the acting chairman, replacing Sheriff Abas who retires on Feb. 2.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon posted in her official Twitter account that Inting, being the most senior commissioner, will be acting chairman of the poll body beginning Feb. 3.

“Commissioner Socorro Inting, most senior commissioner on Feb. 3, will be Acting Chairperson @Comelec while PRRD (President Duterte) has not appointed a Chair,” Guanzon said.

Inting, a former Court of Appeals justice, was appointed by Duterte to the Comelec on April 17, 2018.

Aside from Chairman Abas, Commissioners Guanzon and Antonio Kho will also retire on Feb. 2.

Once they retire, there would only be four commissioners left in the Comelec en banc: Inting, Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino and Rey Bulay.

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections last year said that whoever would be appointed as the new Comelec chairman and two poll commissioners, they must be independent.

Ballot printing underway

Meanwhile, Comelec deputy executive director Helen Flores said printing of ballots started earlier this year compared to 2019, and the target is to complete printing of all 67.4 million official ballots by April 21.

Flores, the vice chair of the poll body’s printing committee, said that since they started early with the printing of the ballots this year, they are hoping to print ahead of time all the 67,442,714 official ballots that would be used in the May 9 national and local elections.

Flores took note that compared to 2019 when they began printing in February, this year they started in the third week of January.

“We are happy that we started in the second half of January, much earlier than in 2019 when the printing started sometime in February. We are hoping that with this early start or timely start, we could have a buffer period for possible contingencies,” she said.

“Our target is to finish the printing of the official ballots on April 21,” Flores added.

As of yesterday, the National Printing Office was already on its fourth day of printing ballots.

“On Jan. 20, we successfully started the printing of the local absentee voting (LAV) and on Jan. 21, we started with the printing of the overseas manual ballots. Yesterday (Jan. 23), we started the printing of the automated election system ballots for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” she said.

The Comelec earlier said that 60,000 ballots would be printed for LAV, 79,000 for overseas voting and 2,588,193 ballots for BARMM.

COMELEC

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