Comelec’s Abas confirmed by Commission on Appointments

MANILA, Philippines – More than a year after President  Benigno Aquino III named him poll commissioner, the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the appointment of lawyer Sheriff Abas to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Abas’ colleague, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, announced this on Twitter on Wednesday, May 25.

In an interview with reporters, Senate President Franklin Drilon said, "At least we confirmed the two constitutional bodies."

"In the next session, we will work on the confirmation of the Armed Forces and the career ministers and counsellors of the Department of Foreign Affairs, before we adjourn," he added.

The CA also confirmed Commission on Audit Commissioner Isabel Dasalla Agito, who was appointed in January of this year.

Aquino appointed Abas, along with Guanzon and Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, on April 28, 2015.

The CA already confirmed Guanzon on June 10, 2015, and Bautista on September 22, 2015. 

Nephew of MILF's Iqbal

During his first few days at the Comelec, one of the first issues hurled against Abas was his being a nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

Bautista urged the public then to focus on Abas’ performance. 

While not yet confirmed before the May 9 elections, Abas headed the Comelec’s packing and shipping committee.

A law professor, Abas worked as acting assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao until his appointment to the Comelec. He worked at the CSC from June 2007 until April 2015.

Abas, who also describes himself as a missionary, finished his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, in 1999. 

He obtained his law degree from the Ateneo de Davao University in 2004. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at