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Arroyo names Jose Melo as new chief of Comelec

January 26, 2008 10:35am

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo named retired Supreme Court justice Jose Melo as the new chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), government-run radio said Saturday.

A dzRB report from Switzerland, where Mrs Arroyo is meeting with world economic leaders, said the President announced Melo would assume the top post at the Comelec on February 2.

It said Mrs Arroyo claimed Melo was the “karapat-dapat (rightful)" person to head the poll body, which had been suffering from credibility problems.

The Comelec had been accused of failing to stop cheating in elections, including the 2004 presidential polls marred by a wiretap scandal involving then commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

Also, Mrs Arroyo said Melo managed to bring down extra-judicial killings by “80 percent" since he was named to head a fact-finding commission on extrajudicial killings in 2006.

The top post in the Comelec has been vacant since October 1 last year, after Benjamin Abalos resigned from the poll body. He stepped down after being linked to an anomaly in the government's $329.48-million broadband deal with China's ZTE Corp.

In Manila, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita claimed he was not informed the reported decision on Melo.

Walang sinasabi si (presidential spokesman Ignacio) Bunye. Maging pag-alis ni Pangulo, walang binanggit na announcement sa pagpili. Kailangang hintayin natin si Pangulo early morning Tuesday (Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said nothing about it when we talked earlier. When the President left for Switzerland she made no such hints about an announcement. We have to wait for her arrival on Tuesday)," he said earlier Saturday morning on dzRH radio. - GMANews.TV
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