• Comelec en banc to telecommute for speedy resolution of cases


    With the advent of modern communications, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is planning to modernize its operations to speed up resolution of cases and other matters that need its approval.

    Acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim on Monday said he wanted to liberalize the attendance of commission members in the poll body’s en banc deliberations by using text-message technology, among other modern means of getting the work done electronically.

    “For so long as they [en banc members]know the agenda, they need not attend our meeting personally. They can send their votes or concerns through text [messaging]or any other means of communications,” he explained.

    Lim said he would soon issue a directive to that effect.

    His proposal has long been adopted by the Congress of the United States and in other countries wherein congressmen or senators need not go anymore to the session hall or committee meetings to cast their votes.

    If the plan is implemented, the Comelec will be the country’s first quasi-judicial body to do so.

    According to Lim, the sooner his plan is implemented, the better for the Comelec, particularly at this time when President Benigno Aquino 3rd is yet to fill vacancies caused by the retirement last month of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. and Commissioners Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle that left the seven-man commission with only three members.

    Under his proposal, he said, the Comelec would be able to function smoothly even if it is undermanned.

    Earlier, Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said they expect Malacanang to name a new chairman and two commissioners anytime soon or before the Comelec goes full blast in its preparations for the 2016 national and local elections.

    “We’re only four now, but we’re holding out. Hopefully, by next week we will have a new chairman and [two]commissioners,” Guia added.

    Among those mentioned as the next Comelec chairman are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima; Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Rep. Rudy Farinas; Winston Gines, chairman, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; and lawyer Joey Penafrancia.

    De Lima earlier said she was not interested in the position.

    Rodriguez and Farinas may not be qualified for the coveted post because of a constitutional prohibition that bars candidates in previous elections to become chairman of the Comelec.

    The two ran and won in the 2013 polls.

    The two lawmakers being ruled out as strong contenders for Brillantes’ post leaves Ginez and Penafrancia to slug it out for the position.


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