Well, there you have it. Melo will be Chairman. But I have to say the reactions are a mixed bag: predominantly supportive of the appointment, with several against. I suppose a universally acceptable appointment was too much to hope for.
Incidentally, it would seem that Melo’s appointment has given Abalos a new career opportunity: bogeyman.
(cue drumroll) … Jose Melo.
The Philippine Star reported today that former Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Melo will be appointed Comelec Chairman to replace the disgraced Benjamin S. Abalos Sr. The Star also reported that Jovencito Zuno, the Chief State Prosecutor, might be appointed to replace either Resurreccion Z. Borra or Florentino A. Tuason Jr.
I’ve written about my views on Melo, and I stand by them. What has he done that makes him qualified to lead the Comelec out of the morass it’s in? Or even to just lead the damned agency? However, he seems to have three aces: the President has trusted him enough to lead the special committee to investigate extra-judicial killings (snort!); a recommendation from Chris Monsod (snort!) and, if the scuttlebutt is to be believed, a recommendation from the Abes panel (double-snort!). And, he’s from the Diokno law office. That puts him in the same stomping grounds as former Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo and current Commissioner Rene V. Sarmiento. And, in the interest of fairness, it seems his expertise is in Administrative law, which (unless I’m sorely mistaken) includes election law.
On the down side, the dude is old! He’ll be 76 this May, and 78! in 2010. Comelec chairman is a stressful job, to say the least. Does he have the stamina for it? Another problem with him, vis-a-vis the need to salvage credibility, is that his report on extra-judicial killings hasn’t been released yet (as far as I know). To be fair, though, I suppose that really isn’t his call.
In any case, the first hurdle for this guy is simply to get the news confirmed. According to the Star, the President has made any formal announcement yet, so this might very well be just another trial balloon. The Palace sooooo loves doing that, doesn’t it? It reveals the President’s mind, but she retains plausible deniability.
Zuno, on the other hand, has been a strong contender for some time now. In fact, alot of people over at the DOJ – where one of my innumerable aunts earns a living – have been muttering about how it’s time Zuno’s career got a boost. Apparently, the guy has been a solid rock at the Prosecutor’s office for some years (and Presidents) now. They say he’s a straight-shooter. In which case, I really feel bad for him. The last straight shooter GMA appointed got totally screwed over, first being unceremoniously dumped as Comelec Chairman in favor of Abalos; and second being pressured to defend questionable presidential decrees as Solicitor General. Good thing he quit that job without waiting to get sacked. Zuno, if he truly is a straight guy, might find himself in the same dire straits; not to mention the fact that the ew factor of GMA’s kiss is sure to come into play.
If true, this leaves one vacancy at the Comelec. I nominate Pong Pagong.
Everyone trusts Pong. Even Ate Sienna. He can explain the most complex concepts in two to three sentences and still end on a cheerful note (WHEEE!), which is approximately what those jokers in the Comelec seem to think is a good way to rationalize their dumbest moves. He’ll fit right in. He can even be the mascot of the Commission, considering how totally zippy their vote counting is.
So what if he’s a six-year old? He’s chronologically 24 after all. And besides, he’s tall enough to pass for middle-aged. His wrinkle free face (and intellectual capacity too, maybe) can be explained by a liberal use of botox, but there’s just no disguising the turkey neck – a sure sign of age as any woman will tell you. So what if he’s not a lawyer? The law allows that, except that he can’t be Chairman.
But the most important reason, I think, that he should be named Commissioner, is a defect this timid and trippy testudo elephantopus has: it can’t pull its head back into its shell completely. This will be a very useful defect when it comes time to hold him accountable for things he’s done as Commissioner. The poor dear literally won’t be able to save his neck!