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New Comelec commissioners to take oath

Posted on: October 15, 2009

New Comelec commissioners to take oath

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 11:31:00 10/15/2009

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Elections

MANILA, Philippines – Elias Yusoph and Gregorio Larrazabal take their oath of office as new commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday – completing the members of the poll body’s en banc, an official said.

The two executives were confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday.

Former Marawi City prosecutor Yusoph, who will serve until Feb. 2, 2015, replaces retired commissioner Resureccion Bora.

Larrazabal, who turned 38 on September, will serve until Feb. 2, 2011, the remaining term of Leonardo Leonida, who was bypassed twice for the position and was now with Philex Mining Corp.

Larrazabal replaces former commissioner Romeo Brawner, who died in 2008.

Larrazabal joins the first division with Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco.

In February, Yusoph was unable to take his seat in the poll body during his first appointment because he was not able to take his oath of office between January 12, the day he was appointed, and January 19.

Yusoph denied allegations that he has links with former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who has been accused of rigging the 2004 polls in favor of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In his 20-year career as prosecutor, Yusoph noted how he deferred his membership for the Marawi City board of canvassers in 2004 because he had a relative running for office at the time.

Larrazabal, who also heads the Comelec Regional Election Directors Organization that includes all REDs nationwide, previously served as provincial election supervisor in Bulacan, Camarines Sur, and Basilan, and as regional election director in Bicol.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo welcomed the confirmation of the appointments of the two poll commissioners and challenged them to give their “100 percent to help the conduct of clean, honest automated elections in 2010.”

Both Yusoph and Larrazabal accepted the challenge from Melo and said they would use their experience to ensure the success of the 2010 national elections.

“We will help the people have clean and honest elections,” said Yusoph.

“We would like to tap the youth for the elections and we want them to recognize that this is their elections. We want people to go out and vote to be empowered to make a change for the country,” said Larrazabal.

Larrazabal said he could also offer his experience in automated elections, citing his involvement in the computerized 2008 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) polls and his recent visit to the US to observe the conduct of automated elections there under the International Volunteers Leadership Program.

Comelec will use precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to automate the counting, transmission, and canvassing of votes from polling and canvasing centers.

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