Yusoph takes oath as election commissioner
Posted March 9, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 11:26:00 03/09/2009
Filed Under: Elections, Government
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Marawi City prosecutor Elias Yusoph took his oath of office as the sixth commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday morning.
Yusoph, who will serve until Feb. 2, 2015, replaces retired commissioner Resureccion Bora, the appointment letter signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo March 7 said.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Yusoph’s appointment is ad interim, or one done when Congress is on break. This means the appointee can immediately assume office after taking the oath of office, pending confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
“Before I die, I have a dream that there will be clean, honest elections in the Philippines,” Yusoph said after taking his oath, as he promised “never to compromise [my] office to sacrifice justice.”
In February, Yusoph was unable to take his seat in the poll body because he was not able to take his oath of office between January 12, the day he was appointed, to January 19, Comelec chairman Jose Melo said.
In that first appointment, Yusoph was supposed to have replaced the late commissioner Romeo Barwner, who died last year, and serve a term ending in 2011.
Yusoph denied allegations that he is connected with controversial former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, after whom the “Hello Garci” scandal was named.
The scandal involved the leaking of purported wiretapped phone conversations between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Garcillano in which they allegedly discussed rigging the 2004 elections in her favor.
Yusoph said he was not a member of the Marawi City board of canvassers in 2004 because he had a relative running for office at the time.
“I have no hand with the controversy that corrupted the 2004 elections,” he said.
“If I am here, it is because I am nominated by the Bishops-Ulama Conference and they know my record as a prosecutor, lawyer, professor and advocate of change,” Yusoph said.
“As advocate of change, I have a program [called] ‘Know your Candidate’ that advocates [that] voters [should] know the platforms of the candidates that they will vote for,” he said.
“I assure the Filipino people that I will not tarnish the name of this Commission. I am an independent person and I will never allow my office to be an instrument to commit and perpetuate any act of graft and corruption,” he said.
He also said that, as an imam (Muslim cleric), he considered his post entrusted to him “by God.”
“I will not fail God because if I fail him, I have no reason to stay in Comelec. I am accountable not only to my people and the Filipinos but to him [God] as well,” he said