GMA names new Comelec commissioner

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Commission on Elections yesterday said President Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed a regional trial court judge from Iligan City as new Comelec commissioner.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said he received information Wednesday that the President had named Judge Moslemen Macarambon, Sr. as new commissioner of the poll body.

“We received information yesterday (Wednesday) that a certain Moslemen Macarambon was appointed, an ad interim appointee, as a commissioner. We call it ad interim appointment because Congress is not in session. He will be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments the moment Congress resumes session,” he said.

Sarmiento said although he does not know Macarambon personally, he welcomes his appointment which is in line with the GRP-Moro National Liberation Front Peace Agreement.

“I cannot say anything about him, his integrity, his independence and his competence because I don’t know him personally. But he is a Muslim and I welcome his appointment because it is consistent with the peace agreement between the GRP and the MNLF that Muslims should be appointed to the government,” he said.

Macarambon was not on the list of nominees reportedly submitted by Malacañang to the poll office which included Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada, law dean Amado Valdez, Comelec law department chief Alioden Dalaig, lawyer Severo Maluenda and law professor Howard Calleja.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita denied the list came from Malacañang but Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno confirmed the list saying Saguisag and Rodriguez were nominated in response to calls for the inclusion of members of the opposition.

Only the vacancy created by Benjamin Abalos’ resignation last month needs to be filled up.