Robredo backs ‘public vetting’ of new poll officials

Published October 31, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo has agreed that the people should participate in vetting the new Commission on Election (Comelec) commissioners who will be appointed by President Duterte next year.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP)

The President will appoint a new Comelec chairman and three commissioners before his term ends.

Robredo said during a media interview in her home province of Camarines Sur on Sunday, October 31, that she agreed that the Comelec appointment is “a matter of public concern.”

“So para sa akin, lalong binibigyan iyong tao ng pagkakataon na mag-ambag sa pag-vet ng mga kandidato. Nakakadagdag siya sa confidence ng tao (So, for me, if we give people the chance to contribute in the vetting of candidates. That adds to the confidence of the people),” Robredo, who is seeking the country’s most powerful seat, added.

The Vice President stressed that “public trust” is the most important to people during elections because they must believe that the officials who are tasked to guard the votes are “without biases.”

When people are not given the chance to participate in the process of vetting candidates for Comelec commissioner, it will add to their apprehensions, Robredo noted.

Her comments came amid a call from former Comelec Commissioner Christian Monsod for a public vetting of the new commissioners because they will form the majority of the poll body’s members.

READ: Monsod pushes for public vetting on appointment of poll officials

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas will retire on February 2022 along with Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho Jr. The President will need to appoint another commissioner because Michael Peloton failed to secure the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Monsod said that Comelec is the most powerful agency—with the chairman being the most powerful person—125 days before the May 2022 elections because not even the President can intervene.

“And alam natin na iyong eleksyon kasi, iyon iyong pinakapowerful tool ng democracy ‘di ba. So pinakamahalaga na dapat pag may proseso iyong tao, wala siyang agam-agam sa kalinisan ng proseso (We know that the elections is the most powerful tool of democracy. So, it’s important that when there is a process, they should have no doubt on the truthfulness of the process),” she added.