DILG chief, Comelec chair get CA nod
The two top officials behind the conduct of peaceful and credible elections next year got their appointments confirmed on Tuesday, less than a month before those running in 2016 will file their certificates of candidacy.
The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the ad interim appointments of new Interior Secretary Mel Sarmiento and Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Andres Bautista.
Unlike Bautista, Sarmiento breezed through the appointment hearings in the CA committee of interior and local government where he was its vice chair for the past two years.
There was no opposition to Sarmiento’s appointment as secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and his colleagues at the committee, save for a few banter, immediately recommended his confirmation before the plenary.
“I did not realize that it would be this quick,” Sarmiento later told reporters, as he admitted feeling nervous being at the other end of the confirmation hearing table or the “hot seat.”
He thanked his colleagues for their swift approval of his appointment and said he has to buckle down and focus on his job.
Keeping peace and order
The DILG through the Philippine National Police is in charge of keeping the peace and order in the country during elections.
Equally thankful for his confirmation was Bautista who said the Comelec could focus now in its preparations for the 2016 polls.
“It’s all systems go… Credible elections is our mantra and we also want to enhance the voting experience since our clients are the voters,” he told reporters after his confirmation at the plenary level.
He also underscored the importance of a stable leadership in the poll body.
This was echoed by Senate President Franklin Drilon who said: “We hurried up (the confirmation of Bautista) because we want to provide stability to the Office of the Chairman of Comelec because Comelec will be performing a very crucial function in the next eight months or so, and therefore we need stability and stable leadership in the Comelec.”
It took two confirmation hearings before Bautista got the approval of the CA. The first time he appeared at the CA committee last Sept. 2 saw his confirmation being deferred upon the request of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.