POLL watchdog group Kontra Daya on Thursday urged President Duterte to appoint a Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman who is willing to look into and resolve various issues and cases that had tarnished the commission’s image.
In a news statement, Kontra Daya convener Prof. Danilo Arao said the replacement of resigned Comelec Chairman Andres D. Bautista should be his exact opposite in terms of dealing with the problems confronting the poll body.
“The bottom line is clear: We need a Comelec chairman who is the direct opposite of Bautista, if we want to ensure clean and honest elections in 2019 and beyond,” Arao said.
The group particularly cited the so-called Comeleaks issue that rocked the commission in 2016.
Arao said Bautista’s replacement must also be willing to review the impact of the automated election system (AES), especially the Comelec’s enduring partnership with Smartmatic International.
He added that the next Comelec chairman must push for the prosecution of those proven to be inefficient and incompetent in doing their jobs, including Bautista.
Bautista was forced to vacate his post last Monday after President Duterte accepted his resignation “effective immediately.”
In his letter of resignation, Bautista told the President that he intended to remain in his post up to December 31to give way for a smooth transition.
On Tuesday the commission en banc designated Commissioner Christian Robert Lim as the acting chairman until Duterte makes an appointment.
Aside from being an opposite of Bautista, Kontra Daya said the President must appoint as next poll chairman a person of known probity and integrity.
This, he said, would mean that the appointee must be one who shall not allow the Comelec to be used for the political gains of those in power.
“Whoever will be appointed Comelec chair[man] should ensure that suffrage is not replaced by suffering,” Arao said.