Sheriff Abas is new Comelec chairman

Pia Ranada
Sheriff Abas is new Comelec chairman
Sheriff Abas, nephew of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, replaces Andres Bautista as chairman of the Commission on Elections

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Commission on Elections commissioner Sheriff Abas as the new Comelec chairman, replacing Andres Bautista.

Abas’ appointment papers were signed on Wednesday, November 22. He will serve until February 2, 2022, or for what should have been Bautista’s remaining term. 

Abas’ appointment must be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.


Abas is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. As a Comelec commissioner, he headed the packing and shipping committee.

A law professor, Abas worked as acting assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao until his appointment to the Comelec. He worked at the CSC from June 2007 until April 2015.

Abas, who also describes himself as a missionary, finished his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, in 1999.

He obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Davao University in 2004.

Abas replaced Bautista who tendered his resignation supposedly effective by the end of the year but was accepted by President Rodrigo Duterte in October. 

Bautista tendered his resignation nearly a week after the House justice committee, by a vote of 19-2, formally junked an impeachment complaint against him. – With reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.