Garcia named Comelec chairman

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GEORGE Erwin M. Garcia answers questions during a press conference on April 27 when he was election commissioner. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has named his former election lawyer, George Erwin M. Garcia, as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec). 

“I hereby submit for confirmation of the Commission on Appointments (CA), the ad interim appointment of Mr. George Erwin M. Garcia to the position of chairman, Commission on Elections, for a term expiring on February 2, 2029,” Mr. Marcos said in an appointment letter dated July 22.  

Mr. Garcia briefly served as Comelec commissioner from March to May this year.  

His appointment, along with several other officials appointed by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte, was bypassed by the CA on June 1 in the absence of a quorum.  

Before his stint in Comelec, Mr. Garcia lawyered for Mr. Marcos in his 2016 vice-presidential protest that he eventually lost.  

He was also the lawyer of Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares in a lawsuit that sought to disqualify her from the 2016 presidential race.  

Mr. Garcia earlier said that he would push for an overhaul of existing election laws to keep up with the changing times. 

He also said that he planned to lobby for a law that would give Comelec power to go after fake news peddlers during campaign periods.  

FIREMeanwhile, Comelec on Monday gave assurance that voter information and election data were unaffected by the fire that broke out in the Comelec’s information technology department office on Sunday evening.  

In a statement, acting Comelec Spokesperson John Rex C. Laudiangco said all election servers and data remained safe since they were stored in a secure location away from the fire. 

“Given the limited area directly affected by the fire, other digital and physical files, administrative operational or judicial are all safe, secure, intact and unaffected,” he said. “Back-up of such is intact and safe as well, kept as well at our secured vault.”  

Election results and data will also remain live on Comelec’s website. — John Victor D. Ordoñez