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YUSOPH APPOINTMENT: Watchdogs assail ‘lack of transparency’

Posted on: February 24, 2009

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 00:01:00 02/06/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Watchdog groups on Thursday assailed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s “lack of transparency” in the appointment of Elias Yusoph as election commissioner.

“The civil society seeks transparency from the President, the appointing authority in the country, on how these appointments are done and what are the criteria for the selection so the people will not be clouded with doubts,” said Vincent Lazatin, member of anticorruption group Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN).

He said the problems surrounding the appointment of Yusoph was “driven by the lack of transparency in the process of appointment.”

Lazatin said TAN had submitted to Arroyo a list of nominees for the Commission on Elections post but his group failed to receive “even a ‘Thank You’ note” from the Palace.

Henrietta de Villa, chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)
and National Movement from Free Elections (NAMFREL) said members of the civil society should voice their concerns on the appointment process.

“The 2010 elections is vital for the life of our democracy. ‘Rush’ and non-transparent appointments like that of Yusoph is creating again anxiety and doubt among people because there have been rush appointments like Garcillano, then later involved at the Garci tape scandal,” said de Villa, referring to controversial former poll exec Virgilio Garcillano.

Yusoph, who will be joining the Comelec in the midst of its preparations for the 2010 elections, was appointed by Arroyo on January 12 while Congress was on a break.

“It depends on the civil society to air questions on the appointment—the circumstances, the process and the person,” De Villa said.

By voicing concerns on the process of Yusoph’s appointment, civil society groups could “call the attention of President Arroyo so she can be guided on how she will appoint officials.”

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said Thursday Yusoph would not be able to take his seat as the sixth and newest commissioner because he was not able to take his oath of office before his ad interim appointment lapsed. With a report from Kristine L. Alave, Inquirer


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