Duterte picks insider Abas as new Comelec chairman

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed a fellow Mindanaoan, Sheriff Abas, as the new chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Abas’ appointment papers, dated November 22, were released by the Palace on Friday. His term will expire on February 2, 2022.

Sheriff Abas

Abas replaced Juan Andres Bautista, who resigned on October 11 after an impeachment case was filed against him amid allegations from his own wife that he accumulated P1 billion in ill-gotten wealth and accepted illegal commissions from the law firm of UST law dean Nilo Divina.

Bautista has denied the allegations against him.


Abas was one of the six Comelec commissioners who called on Bautista to take a leave of absence “for his (Bautista’s) sake, for the sake of his career, and, most importantly, for the sake of his family particularly his 4 innocent children,” warning that “the effects and consequences of impeachment and conviction by the Senate acting as Impeachment Court will be life-changing, if not catastrophic.”

Abas, a lawyer, served as assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for eight years before he was appointed Comelec commissioner.

Abas, earned his bachelor of arts in philosophy degree from Notre Dame University in Cotabato City in 1999 and finished law at Ateneo de Davao in 2004. He passed the bar exams a year after his law school graduation.

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