Chair of poll watchdog PPCRV resigns after head surgery

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Chair of poll watchdog PPCRV resigns after head surgery
Former elections commissioner Rene Sarmiento quits as chair of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting or PPCRV

MANILA, Philippines – The election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is set to elect a new leader after its former chair, Rene Sarmiento, resigned to recover from a head surgery he had a few months back.

Sarmiento confirmed on Monday, September 17, he has stepped down as PPCRV chair. He tendered his resignation on August 31.

Sarmiento underwent a head surgery on April 1 after his head struck a wall on March 13. “The operation was successful but the doctor advised me to slow down,” Sarmiento said.

Before he became PPCRV chair, Sarmiento served as Commission on Elections commissioner for 7 years. In an interview with Rappler before he retired as Comelec commissioner in February 2013, Sarmiento said he is proud of having kept his record clean during his 7-year stint.

Sarmiento was also a framer of the Philippines’ 1987 Constitution, and is a veteran in negotiations with communist rebels.

He was supposed to serve as PPCRV chair from November 1, 2016, to October 31, 2022. He was the successor of PPCRV’s co-founder, former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta “Tita” de Villa.

De Villa said Johnny Cardenas, PPCRV’s vice president for internal affairs, now serves as the election watchdog’s interim chair. She is helping the PPCRV board prepare for electing a new chair.

“PPCRV preparations for the national and local elections 2019 continue full blast,” De Villa said. 

Composed of lay Catholics, the PPCRV is one of the traditional election watchdogs in the Philippines. The changes in PPCRV come as the Philippines prepares for the 2019 midterm elections, where Filipinos will elect a set of 12 senators in what is seen as a referendum on the Duterte administration. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email