CA okays Garcia as Comelec chairman and Nograles as CSC head

Photos courtesy of Senate PRIB

September 7, 2022

The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, 7 September confirmed the ad interim appointments of George Erwin Garcia and Karlo Alexei Nograles as chair of the Commission on Elections and Civil Service Commission, respectively.

Garcia and Nograles both faced the CA in June after being appointed by then President Rodrigo Duterte, however, the constitutional body bypassed their appointments due to the lack of quorum.

The decision was made upon the motion of then-Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri to give then President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. a chance to pick his preferred choices for the said positions. 

Garcia, along with then Comelec Chair Saidamen Pangarungan and commissioner Aimee Neri suffered the same fate. 

Last 1 August, two months after vacating his post, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tapped Garcia, this time, to head the poll body.

During the body’s deliberation, Garcia highlighted the accomplishments of the poll body during the recently-concluded 2022 national and local elections last May.

“During the conduct of the 2022 national and local elections, we were able to have 84.1 percent of the total registered voters, who cast their vote,” he said.

“It was so far, the highest in the history of the country. Likewise, during the 2022 national and local elections, we were able to have only 23 election-related violence — the most peaceful election so far in our history,” he added.

Garcia also stressed that the poll body only took eight days to proclaim the winners of the 2022 senatorial race, as well as the winners of the lower house elections. 

He vowed to surpass the accomplishments of the Comelec in the 2022 national elections 

“I was happy that I was part of the Comelec at that time, we gained a lot of experience and a lot of… of course, there were setbacks but the experience and the learnings we acquired from the 2022 national elections are incomparable,” he said.

“We will definitely use that under your present leadership for the purpose of ensuring that 2025 elections and the elections after that will be if not coequal to the 2022 elections at least will be able to surpass the same,” he added. 

Zubiri, who sits as chairman of the powerful CA, moved to endorse Garcia’s nomination before the body. 

“He has answered our questions well and has plans for the next and future elections, and so I move to approve his appointment,” said Zubiri.

Prior to his appointment, Garcia served as Marcos’ head legal counsel during his electoral protest in the 2016 vice presidential election against former Vice President Leni Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

He will serve as Comelec chair until February 2029.

‘Nograles gets CA’s approval’

Likewise, Nograles suffered the same fate as those other officials whose appointments were bypassed the CA in June. 

During the hearing, Nograles answered queries of the body’s members which ranged from the rightsizing of the government workforce to securing benefits for contractual and job order workers.

Zubiri also moved to endorse Nograles’ nomination before the body, saying he had to make up for his earlier call for the deferment of the latter’s nomination. 

“To make up for him, since I sought the deferment of his appointment. I lobbied for him to be retained as CSC chairman for his information because I really believe in this gentleman,” he said.

“I am also a friend of your father, and I am sure he is looking down at you very proud at what you have accomplished today,” he added.

Prior to his appointment, Nograles served as Cabinet Secretary under the Duterte administration. He also served as co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease.

He also served as a three-term congressman of the 1st District of Davao City.

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