Comelec employees nominate ‘insider’ as poll commissioner

Michael Bueza
Comelec employees nominate ‘insider’ as poll commissioner
If appointed commissioner, Comelec's director in Bicol, Romeo Fortes, will work for the enhancement of the ballots' security features and the expansion of random manual audits of the automated election system

MANILA, Philippines – Employees of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) nominated an insider to fill one of 3 upcoming vacancies in the 7-member collegial body.

On Tuesday, December 2, the Comelec Employees Union, the  Comelec Regional Directors Organization (CREDO), and the Provincial Election Supervisors Association of the Philippines (PESAP) asked President Benigno Aquino III to name Comelec-Region V Director Romeo Fortes as commissioner.

On February 2, 2015, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, and Commissioner Elias Yusoph will be retiring from the poll body.

In letters to the President, the 3 groups endorsed Fortes as next Comelec commissioner, citing his rise from the ranks, his exceptional and impeccable record in public service, and his advocacy for transparent and credible elections. (READ: Appoint insiders as next poll leaders – Comelec employees)

“As a true-blue Comelec insider, Director Fortes will work for the advancement of the rights and well-being of Comelec rank-and-file employees. Being a long-time ally of the ordinary employees, we believe Director Fortes will continue to champion the rank and file if appointed Commissioner,” the Comelec-EU said in its letter.

Fortes, 63, is the current president of CREDO. A private law practitioner for 25 years, he started in Comelec as provincial election supervisor of Camarines Sur in 2004.

Fortes became assistant regional director of Region V (Bicol) in 2008. He was promoted as regional director in 2011.

He was part of the joint panel of the Comelec and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that conducted preliminary investigations into the 2004 and 2007 electoral fraud cases against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos.

Fortes was also involved in the conduct of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in Maguindanao in 2005 and in Tawi-Tawi in 2008.

Fortes thanked the 3 employees groups for the nomination. If appointed Comelec commissioner, Fortes said he will help in ensuring transparency in the preparations and conduct of the 2016 national elections.

He said he will focus on the enhancement of security features in ballots and the expansion of random manual audits of the automated election system to cover more areas. –

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.