Comelec chief wants village officials appointed, not elected
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes would rather have barangay or village officials appointed instead of elected.
“It is not only cumbersome and expensive, it’s truly problematic in the Commission,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes.
The veteran election lawyer, who was here recently for the launching of the ARMM Electoral Reform Summit, said, “the exercise is not only expensive but so problematic. In fact, we still have so many unresolved barangay election cases pending at the office.”
Brillantes did not say how much would be needed to hold village polls, which have been scheduled for October 2013.
“If I were to decide, it would be more convenient and reasonable that officials in the barangays are appointed,” said Brillantes whose proposal the poll body would endorse to Congress and Malacañang.
There were mixed reactions to the Brillantes move, but majority of elected incumbents appeared to be supportive of the idea.
“When carried out, it will enhance smoother implementation of programs since the appointees are trusted allies of the appointing authority,” said Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu.
Sultan Kudarat town Mayor Tocao Mastura looked at the Comelec proposal differently, saying it might be favorable to the governor or mayor appointing his choice of village officials, but if majority of the villagers therein were opposed, “it kills the democratic process by depriving villagers of their rights to choose.”
“Personally, this is good for me as the incumbent mayor, but we should respect the constituents. We should listen to them, for we believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God,” said Mastura, Liberal Party provincial chairman.