MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Andres Bautista, chairman of the the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), as the new chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte announced on Monday, May 4, that Aquino has named Bautista as Comelec chair along with two new commissioners: Rowena Amalia Guanzon and Sheriff Abbas.
The terms of Bautista, Guanzon, and Abbas will all expire on February 2, 2022. Aquino signed their appointments on April 28.
The 51-year-old Bautista heads the Comelec as it faces an unprecedented problem: A Supreme Court ruling that might render 82,000 vote-counting machines useless in the 2016 elections. (READ: Open up, Comelec chairman once told 'gods of Faura')
In an interview on April 30, Aquino earlier said his top pick for Comelec chair "is relatively young" and is "acknowledged in legal circles." Aquino said, "He has already proven his mettle."
A lawyer for more than a decade, Bautista used to serve as dean of the Far Eastern University's Institute of Law.
He was also the CEO of the Kuok Group in the Philippines, the investments of which include Shangri-La hotels and resorts in the Southeast Asian country.
Bautista later served as chairman and president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, as partner in an international law firm, and as a constitutional reform commission member under different Philippine presidents.
Bautista finished his law degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1990 as class valedictorian. He also topped the bar.
He eventually took a master of laws degree at Harvard University in 1993. – Rappler.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.