RP Poll Body Gets New Muslim Member

November 1, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 01, 2007) – President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday named a prominent Muslim judge from the southern Philippines to sit at one of seven commissioners at the Commission on Elections.

The Philippine News Agency said Arroyo appointed Iligan City Judge Moslemen Macarambon Sr. to fill a post that has been vacant for nearly a year. The last Muslim poll commissioner was Mehol Sadain, a professor of Asian studies at the University of the Philippines.

The appointment must still pass the scrutiny of and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, which convenes next week.

But this early, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he would oppose Macaranbon’s appointment because of the judge’s close association with former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who was accused of cheating in the last presidential elections in favor of Arroyo.

Macarambon’s appointment completes the six slots for commissioners. The seventh slot, that of chairman, has been vacant since October 1, when Benjamin Abalos resigned.

Abalos resigned after he was accused of bribery over a government broadband deal favoring a Chinese firm. Senior Commissioner Resurreccion Borra has replaced ABalaos.

Commenting on the appointment, Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said he was “quite surprised” since Macarambon’s name was not in a purported list recently circulated to the press.

“Honestly, I do not know the person, his professional background, his competence‚Ķ but he is a Muslim and for me it is a welcome (move) because it is consistent with the peace agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the government, that Muslims be appointed (to high posts) in government,” said Sarmiento, a former undersecretary in the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

The purported list, however, mentioned another Muslim, Alioden Dalaig, Comelec’s director of the law department, as among the candidates from whom the President picks her choice.

Macarambon was reportedly recommended by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and now ambassador to the Philippine mission in the United Nations. He belongs to the well-known and highly-regarded Macarambon clan of Lanao province.

The rest of the commissioners are Florentino Tuason, Romeo Brawner, and Nicodemo Ferrer.


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