Comelec eyes hiring retiring commissioners as consultants


MANILA, Philippines—Two seats on the Commission on Elections are now vacant following the retirement of Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, who have completed non-renewable seven-year terms, and the commission’s head said he was contemplating holding on to their services as consultants.

On the sidelines of their ceremonial sendoff on Friday, Comelec  Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he would like to appoint Sarmiento and Velasco as consultants in light of the approaching mid-term elections in May. But he has yet to make a formal offer, he said. Sarmiento and Velasco will officially retire Saturday.

“As consultants they can sit during the en banc sessions but they cannot vote,” Brillantes told reporters.

In a separate interview, Sarmiento said he would decline the offer because he believed that “new blood” should be allowed to work for the Comelec.

“Of course that is an honor but personally I don’t like it. First, there are so many Filipinos who are qualified and more competent… let’s give way to new blood,” he told reporters. “Honestly, when you say consultancy, it’s like being ‘kapit-tuko’.”

He would rather continue his advocacy empowering vulnerable voters, such as people with disabilities and indigenous people, in his own private way, said Sarmiento. He was also keen on working with the Comelec in pushing for electoral reforms.  “I can lobby with the Comelec,” he said.

Velasco was more open to Brillantes’ offer but he had no intentions of staying on after the elections.

“I will enjoy my private life but if the Chairman wants me to continue [as a consultant], I will consider but only during the preparations for elections. I will have to let go during the implementation,” he said.

The 59-year-old Sarmiento served as vice chair of the government’s panel in talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF during the Ramos administration and peace adviser during the Arroyo administration before he was appointed election commissioner in 2006.

Velasco, 56, joined the Comelec in 1990 as election officer in Baguio City. He was appointed in November 2008 to serve the five remaining years of the term of former Commissioner Moslemen Macarambon.

Earlier, Brillantes appealed to President Aquino to immediately name the two commissioners’ replacements since the election body was swamped with work in relation to the upcoming balloting.

The Comelec head said on Friday that while they were waiting for the appointments, he and the remaining four election commissioners have already divided among themselves the duties left behind by Sarmiento and Velasco.

“Actually, we are on the end side of the preparations for the May 13 elections but we are still swamped with work for the implementation so we really need seven people in the en banc,” said Brillantes.

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  • Your_King

    Who decides who will be in the Comelec vacant positions? The last person to be appointed chairman was Padaca, appointed by Aquino even tho she has questionable activity from the past including a graft case against her pending. If it is up to Aquino i would surmise that he would place another of his KKK in those vacant positions.

  • vaporub123

    baka pwede naman humanap ng ibang pwedeng magiging “consultants”.dating commissioners mga yan kaya alam na nila ang pasikot sikot kung papaano i-maniobra ang dayaan sa elections.kung bakit pa kasi hindi na pagsimulaan ang proseso para ang mga kapalit ay makapagsimula na sa pagtratrabaho.

  • KonsensyaNgBayan

    WHY not hire NEW Commisioners without blemish and ideas to cheat and create confusions, rather than these TWO retards who help the previous CORRUPT, CHEATER, and MASTER MANIPULATOR Administrator who sits on her favorite wheeled chair and braced on her alibi necklace. UNLESS the Comelec Chairman is also SOLD and CONTRACTED having plans and hidden ideas to support the UNA party.

    • FernandoBusi

      Do you have any evidence? Commissioner Sarmiento has a good record of government service. Kung may evidence ka you should have filed a case. You may be referreing to a different commissioner. 

  • RyanE

    The President should immediately appoint the replacements for the retiring Comelec commissioners. I remember that PNoy forced the outgoing chief of PNP to retire early so that preparations for the coming elections will not be interrupted due to the transition in the PNP leadership. In the same manner, the commissioners are indispensable during the preparations and actual conduct of the elections.

  • superpilipinas

    “In a separate interview, Sarmiento said he would decline the offer because he believed that “new blood” should be allowed to work for the Comelec.”
    At least this guy has some decency!

  • George Lapulapu

    baka pwede si Garcillano ….

  • joboni96

    pwede ba

    reappoint Rene Sarmiento

  • tower_of_power

    Hayyyyyyyyyyy nako … why not get fresh talents?

  • pubringjuandelacruz

    “Of course that is an honor but personally I don’t like it. First, there are so many Filipinos who are qualified and more competent… let’s give way to new blood,” Rene Sarmiento told reporters. “Honestly, when you say consultancy, it’s like being ‘kapit-tuko’.”
    LOL!!! mukhang may pinapatamaan si sir ah!!! mabait tlaga ang Dios at meron pang mga ganitong klaseng tao na naiwan at nandito sa pinas. 

    Kudos to Rene!

  • disqusted0fu

    What’s keeping Pnoy from appointing replacements for the retiring commissioners? Are there not enough KKKs any more? Are all of them already set in their own positions?

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