Duterte to name more Comelec members as 2 Lims retire

Paterno Esmaquel II
Duterte to name more Comelec members as 2 Lims retire
Comelec commissioners Christian Lim and Arthur Lim retire from the poll body, which is bracing for a possible plebiscite for a new Philippine constitution

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is now free to name two more members to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after poll commissioners Christian Lim and Arthur Lim stepped down on Friday, February 2.

The terms of the two Comelec commissioners, both Aquino appointees, expired on Friday.

Duterte earlier named Comelec Commissioner Sheriff Abas as Comelec chair, but he cannot assume office until the Commission on Appointments confirms his nomination. (READ: Sheriff Abas to break many firsts as Comelec chair

While waiting for the confirmation of Abas, the Comelec first designated Christian Lim as acting chair.

With Christian Lim retiring on Friday, the Comelec announced that Commissioner Al Parreño is set to chair the Comelec in an acting capacity.

The retirement of the two Lims means at least 3 Duterte appointees will soon be in the 7-member poll body.

These changes in Comelec come as the poll body braces for a possible plebiscite for a new Philippine constitution.

In the meantime, the Comelec said it thanks Christian Lim and Arthur Lim for their service in the poll body.

“Both Chairperson Lim and Commissioner Lim are highly respected and admired, not just within the Comelec but also by the broader elections community,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said.

Christian Lim, the most senior member of the poll body, was the man who practically ran the 2016 elections as its steering committee head. The conduct of the 2016 elections garnered awards abroad.

Arthur Lim, a veteran lawyer, headed the Comelec’s Office for Filipino Overseas Voting. Under Lim’s leadership, the number of overseas voters “breached the one million mark” in 2016, Jimenez said.

Their retirement comes months after then elections chief Andres Bautista stepped down from office as he was set to face impeachment hearings. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.