MANILA, Philippines – The appointment of commissioners Luie Tito Guia and Al Parreño of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) were endorsed by the committee on constitutional commissions and offices of the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday, March 4.
Their appointments await confirmation in the next plenary session of the CA on Wednesday.
Guia and Parreño were appointed ad interim by President Benigno Aquino III on April 15, 2013, a month before the 2013 midterm elections. They replaced retiring commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco.
Guia, 48, was the executive director of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), while Parreño, 39, was a board member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) prior to their appointments. Both finished law at the University of the Philippines.
Guia was a staff member of former Comelec Chairman Christian Monsod from 1992 to 1995. He then became a consultant to former Commissioner Regalado Maambong from 1996 to 1998. Soon after, he was involved with the Consortium on Electoral Reforms. (READ: Even Aquino’s critic wants Guia in Comelec)
Parreño, on the other hand, worked as an information technology (IT) consultant and project manager. He extensively dealt with litigation involving special remedies and electronic evidence, information technology, and intellectual property and cyberlaw, among others. He has also handled human rights cases. (READ: Parreño: ‘Curious’ outsider in Comelec)
Pangasinan Representative Conrado Estrella III praised both commissioners, saying that they “went through the mill” and worked hard in their respective expertise.
Both were not the first picks of Aquino for the vacant Comelec posts following the retirement of Sarmiento and Velasco. Aquino chose election lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo and former ambassador Macabangkit Lanto, but both turned down the appointments – Sardillo for personal reasons, and Lanto due to controversy.
Their terms will expire on February 2, 2020.
House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas noted that Guia’s appointment was thrice deemed bypassed by CA by constitutional mandate because his appointment was not taken up during regular CA sessions.
He also said that Guia’s subsequent re-appointments by President Aquino were done outside CA sessions.
“The executive [department] has been precisely avoiding submission of your appointment to the CA,” said Fariñas.
“You have been appointed four times, but this is the first time that you appeared here. Why did you not come before the CA and ask why your nomination was not being tackled?” asked Fariñas. Guia apologized for this lapse.
“Let this serve as a warning to all nominees or appointees: If your requirements are already complete, then approach the chairman of the CA, to request for the deliberation of your appointment. If not, it would appear that you are not interested in your appointment,” Fariñas said.
Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez posed a question regarding Parreño’s appointment, despite being favorably endorsed to the plenary by Fariñas.
Rodriguez said that some sectors raised the constitutional requirement that Comelec commissioners should have a 10-year law practice.
Parreño replied that the rule applies to the majority of the Commissioners. He added that he was tapped for his IT expertise to help Comelec in conduting the automated elections.
Fariñas also recognized Parreño as one of the private prosecutors during the Corona impeachment trial. – Rappler.com