The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has designated Commissioner Socorro Inting as its acting chairperson, after Commissioner Saidamen Pangarungan failed to win confirmation from the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Comelec Director Frances Arabe said Inting would serve in that capacity until a new chairperson is appointed by incoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The position of Comelec chairperson and two commissioners have been left vacant after the CA by-passed the ad interim appointments of Pangarungan and Commissioners George Garcia and Aimee Neri.
The three Comelec commissioners were appointed to the post by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 8, while Congress was in recess.
The CA earlier this month bypassed their confirmation and two officials of other constitutional bodies. Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the committee on constitutional commissions and offices, said the CA hearing on the nomination of the five officials was cancelled due to the lack of a quorum.
Also bypassed were Commission on Audit Chairperson Rizalina Noval Justol and Civil Service Commission Chairman Karlo Alexei Nograles.
Villar said only nine members attended the CA hearing, one member short of a quorum.
The CA hearing on the ad interim appointments of the five was postponed earlier after Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said they should give President Marcos a chance to pick his own appointees.
Pangarungan said he accepted being bypassed “with a heavy heart.”
The Palace said those bypassed by the CA could be re-appointed by the next administration.
Under the law, the bicameral CA must approve all the ad interim appointees, whom Duterte appointed in March when Congress was in recess.
Garcia said he was saddened that his appointment was bypassed, but happy for the chance to serve in the last elections, where he stood out, often holding briefings. The veteran election lawyer said he may return to teaching, or practice election law.
He said he would accept staying on as Comelec commissioner should the next administration ask.