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Party-list groups back activist poll exec

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05:44 AM April 25th, 2013

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By: Gil C. Cabacungan, April 25th, 2013 05:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Lawmakers are hopeful that lawyer Al Parreño, who has an activist background, will bolster the system of check and balance in the Commission on Elections.

Sen. Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said he was certain that Parreño’s experience as a human rights lawyer and his information technology (IT) savvy would “certainly” be an asset in the Comelec.

Parreño and Luie Guia, also a lawyer, were named last week by President Aquino to fill up the two vacant seats in the Comelec.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said: “I wish him the best. I hope his human rights background will stand him in good stead in advocating the right kind of reforms in Comelec, where the corruption is deep-rooted, as well as in resisting the external pressures from politicians of all sorts who seek to influence Comelec in one way or other.”

Senatorial bet and Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said: “If he keeps fast to his principles he has a lot of work to do in improving the Comelec.”

Parreño has handled cases of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings involving activist groups such as Gabriela on top of his speciality—legal technology and legal process outsourcing—during his stint at “The Firm” or Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo and Angangco. Parreño also served as prosecutor during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan said Parreño has the potential to carry out reforms in Comelec.

“We look forward to a performance that shows integrity, competence and a sense of fairness. But militance is not enough. Competence, integrity and a sense of fairness are more important,” said Ilagan.

Ilagan said Parreño has of course yet to prove himself true to his background. “The best intentions and background can be thwarted if he gets co-opted or allows utang na loob (debt of gratitude) to the appointing power to cloud his work,” said Ilagan.

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