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Comelec employees endorse another insider to vacant post

Employees of the Commission on Election (Comelec) on Friday recommended to President Benigno Aquino III lawyer Ferdinand Rafanan for one of the vacant positions of Comelec commissioner. In a letter to Aquino dated March 1, the Comelec Employees’ Union (Comelec EU) said Rafanan will be a big help to the administration’s fight against corruption because of his “unwavering commitment to transparency.” Rafanan, who has been working for the Comelec for 15 years, is currently the poll body's lead prosecutor in the electoral sabotage case filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Rafanan was the second person to be endorsed by the union after lawyer Alexander Pilotin, the poll body’s election attorney for Region II. Aquino has yet to appoint the replacements for Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, who both retired on February 2. Sarmiento, meanwhile, suggested to Aquino to appoint one insider and one outsider to the two vacant posts. "Hopefully ang pipiliin ni [President Aquino is] one from the inside, one from the [outside], 'wag lang completely two outsiders,” he said in a chance interview with reporters at the Comelec office in Manila. He said the outsider should be somebody who has backgrounds in electoral reform, law, information technology, education, media, and management. In a text message to GMA News Online, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there are still no new developments on the matter. Rafanan called as “urgent” Aquino’s duty to appoint new Comelec commissioners as he stressed that a poll body insider would be more efficient in helping the agency in light of the upcoming elections. “Kasi kung outsider mag-aaral pa, pag-aaralan pa, hindi siya makakatulong kaagad para sa darating na eleksyon at malapit na. Kapag insider, alam na natin ang pagpapatakbo, kung ano mga problema at kung ano mga dapat gawin,” he said. In his letter addressed to Aquino where he cited his qualifications, Rafanan wrote that he can “do more” to help the administration’s anti-corruption drive. “You want genuine reforms in Comelec, Mr. President; so I know I qualify under your transformational Presidency of the Philippines and the pragmatic Chairmanship of Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. in the (Comelec),” he said. It will be Rafanan’s third time to apply for the post after his first two attempts in 2011. — KBK, GMA News