The resignation of former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos ushers in the chance for the Commission on Elections to go on a new direction towards redeeming its credibility as the Administrator of elections and Guardian of the Vote. It is therefore important that this golden opportunity should not be put to waste by ensuring that the next chairman of the Comelec will have an impeccable service record, an unassailable character and reputation and integrity beyond reproach.
The controversies that have hounded the past two elections have dragged the down the people’s trust in the Comelec and tarnished its reputation as an institution. With the presidential elections coming in 2010, it is imperative that the replacement of former Chairman Benjamin Abalos will have the right combination of qualities and qualifications to lead the Comelec in the conduct of a peaceful, honest, orderly and most of all, credible elections.
The replacement of former Chairman Abalos should have the following qualities in order to achieve such a goal, aside from the basic qualifications prescribed by the law and the Constitution:
1. A proven track record in previous positions held.
2. Must not have any political debts to pay nor any political favors to give.
3. Should not have been involved in any controversy, whether political or legal.
4. A reputation that is untarnished and a character marked by integrity.
5. The ability to make sound and firm decisions that are not easily swayed by external persuasions.
Beyond these qualities, the most important of all is that the post of Comelec chair must not be filled by a politician, which is the anti-thesis of what the head of the Commission on Elections should be. The poll body’s chair should not be one who has been tainted by political agenda, influence and methodology of doing things. Once a politician, always a politician. And the Comelec is not the place for a politician to serve.
The vacancy in the chairmanship of the Comelec is a golden opportunity. But it only becomes golden if the right person is appointed to the position.