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Bautista good choice as Comelec chair but…

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MANILA, May 5, 2015 – Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Christian Monsod thinks President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino’s choice of PCGG Chair Andres D. Bautista as the new poll head is “good”, but has some reservations.

“While he is a good lawyer, he has not been an election lawyer,” the former Comelec executive said in a CBCPNews interview at the sidelines of the FOCAP-Friends of Peace Forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law at the Asian Institute of Management recently. He added he does not know how technology literate the new Comelec chairman is.

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Christian Monsod

Monsod said Bautista has a good background in law as Dean of the Far Eastern University’s Institute of Law and enjoys a good reputation as “an honest person”, however, he believes being an election lawyer is critical qualification for his position.

Management job

He added he does not know if Bautista has sufficient management experience because being Comelec chairman “is primarily a management job.”

Bautista will join six other lawyers in the Comelec, which faces a management problem rather than a legal, Monsod noted.

Asked if the new appointees would have enough time to “learn the ropes,” Monsod said they will have a “very short time learning period.”

The member of the Philippine Bar also offered unsolicited advice to Bautista, the two other new appointees and the current commissioners.

“They should immediately connect with their field organization because credible elections are delivered from the ground level,” Monsod explained.

Asked what Bautista should do with the controversial automated elections, Monsod said the Comelec commissioners should consult their field personnel and let them recount their personal
experiences on automation and how people feel about it.

On watchdogs

The former Comelec chair said watchdogs should truly “act as watchdogs and not lapdogs.”

“I think people know who I am referring to and I call on them not to agree
with everything that Comelec says,” he further said. He explained watchdogs should train and empower people and promote structural changes for elections to be truly democratic.”

Monsod said there is also a need to ban the use of money, specifically, government money, warlordism. According to him, ways should be found to address problems brought about by the rise of political dynasties that threaten democracy.

He concluded the coming national elections would have corruption as its “main issue” because the Philippines has turned into a basket case compared to Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. The same holds true with other ASEAN countries, which have overtaken the
Philippines.

Asked what led to the present sorry state, Monsod said the government has failed to implement the constitutional provisions on justice and social development, which is embodied in the
proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)


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