Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Monday, April 6, that the next chairman and two commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must be independent and very familiar with election laws.
Pimentel said he would only bat for an independent-minded appointee who is familiar with the automated election system, and preferably very knowledgeable in information technology.
“He should not be a political personality. If once upon a time a politician, the appointee must have shown independence in the past and has retired from politics completely,” he said.
The Mindanao senator also batted for the inclusion of a Muslim appointee in the Comelec whose credentials fall within the stringent requirements imposed by the job.
Pimentel, a member of the powerful Committee on Appointments, said he would exercise his right to block the appointment of those who have failed to meet the criteria.
The recent retirement of Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes and Commissioners Elias Yusof and Ramoncito Tagle created vacancies in the poll body which is preparing for the 2016 elections.
The commissioners, including the chairperson, serve for seven years without reappointment. They must be natural-born Filipinos and at least 35 years old at the time of the appointment.
The chairperson and majority of the six commissioners must be members of the Philippine Bar who have practice law for at least 10 years and did not participate in the immediate past election.
Pimentel said he favored the appointment of independent-minded candidates, who have no political bias or potential conflict of interest to ensure fair, honest and transparent elections.