MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has appointed two judges as commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), a senior Palace official announced.
The appointment of Malabon regional trial court Judge Leonard Leonida and former Court of Appeals Justice Lusinito Tagle fills up two of three vacancies at the Comelec.
Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo said the two new commissioners will take their oath Thursday morning.
"I have not met any of them yet. But they will take their oath of office tomorrow with me," the Comelec chairman said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net.
He said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita called him Wednesday to inform him about the new appointments, which he welcomed.
"They are welcome. We will need all their help," Melo said.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the appointments will leave only one vacancy in the poll body.
Commissioner Romeo Brawner died two months ago while commissioners Resurreccion Borra and Florentino Tuazon retired earlier this year.
Leonida, 59, passed the bar in 1974 after finishing Law at the Manuel L. Quezon University.
A native of Marinduque, he has served as 3rd assistant provincial prosecutor of Rizal and presiding judge of Branch 27 regional trial court in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
Prior to this appointment, Tagle served at the Court of Appeal's 15th division.
Among the cases Tagle handled were the petition for a writ of amparo against then military chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and national police chief Avelino Razon Jr. filed by the family of a soldier involved in last November's takeover of the Manila Peninsula by rebel soldiers and the nullification of a traffic citation scheme of the Metro Manila Development Authority using cameras in apprehending erring motorists.
Meanwhile, the Comelec en banc signed a resolution on June 30 naming the commissioners-in-charge of the different provinces during next month?s elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
They are Rene Sarmiento for Tawi-Tawi and Sulu, Nicodemo T. Ferrer for Basilan, Moslemen T. Macarambon for Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Shariff Kabunsuan
A copy of the resolution is posted on the Comelec's blog.
In his weekly news conference Wednesday, Ermita also announced the appointment of Public Works-Caraga regional director Romeo Momo as undersecretary of the DPWH.
Josephine de Castro-Dominguez, an undersecretary at the presidential legislative liaison office, was named to the Office of External Affairs as undersecretary for indigenous peoples. She is the widow of Mountain Province Representative Victor Dominguez who died in February from cardiac arrest with complications from diabetes.
Danilo Valero was also named executive director of the Road Board Secretariat of the Department of Public Works and Highways, while Angelo Ang Palaña was assigned as commissioner representing the employers' sector at the National Labor Relations Commission.
Defense assistant secretary for personnel Ruben Ciron was appointed director General of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Ermita also announced the selection of actress Amalia Mulach (screen name Amalia Fuentes) to sit as acting member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.