Comelec commissioners Sarmiento, Velasco retire

February 1, 2013 10:54 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 1 — Outgoing Commission on Elections Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco made their respective goodbyes to their colleagues and staff Friday.

Both poll body officials were retiring Feb 2.

Sarmiento said he will first enjoy his retirement, although he said he will surely miss the things he has been doing in the past seven years.

He also plans to pursue his advocacy for empowered vulnerable.

"Possibly to put up a center to empower the vulnerable and marginalized, continue my advocacy," he said

Sarmiento is also looking to open his law office, which he closed, teach law and write books on electoral reforms.

He also felt like a student during the testimonial ceremonies held during the retirement ceremonies.

"Parang student na natutuwa dahil graduating na e, nakatapos tayo ng pitong taon at naka-full term tayo…Masaya pero mami-miss ko kayo e dahil maghihiwalay na tayo," the senior Comelec Comissioner said.

Asked if he will accept an offer to be a consultant of the poll body, Sarmiento said he would be honored but personally, he does not want to.

"Of course that is an honor pero personally ayoko. Unang una give chance to others, there are so many Filipinos who are qualified, more able, more competent," he said, adding that, "Honestly pag consultancy parang kapit tuko ang dating ko sa posisyon. Ayoko nang ganun. Give way to new blood."

In April 2006, Sarmiento was appointed to Comelec by President Arroyo. He finished a full term of 7 years.

For his part, Velasco said he will also enjoy his private life, although, he is a little bit disappointed that they will no longer be part of the May 13, 2013 elections, although he was part of the preparations.

"I will enjoy my private life then if the chairman wants me to continue kasi nag start kami sa preparation, nanghihinayang ako na hindi na kami kasama sa election," he said, adding that, "Kapag nagretire ka in government you are no longer considered a public property kaya yun nag the best. You have all your freedom, you can enjoy your private life."

He also echoed Sarmiento's statement that he also felt like he is graduating from high school, when they were given the testimonial ceremony.

"Malaya, just like my graduation when I was in high school."

Velasco was appointed in November 2008 for only 5 years, just to finish the term of former Commissioner Moslemen Macarambon.

Meanwhile, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said the Commission en banc still has a quorum even if the two commissioners are retiring.

"Meron, lima. Sobra pa kami ng isa, apat lang ang quorum na kailangan,"he said.

With this, he reiterated his call for President Benigno Aquino III to appoint the successors of Sarmiento and Velasco.

Asked if the incomplete number of the commission en banc will affect the scheduled polls, Brillantes said it will not.

"Hindi naman. Actually, we are on the end side of the preparations pero puro implementations na ito after we start printing. Pero marami pa rin kaming trabaho sa implementation so kailangan namin talaga yung pito."

Aside from Brillantes, the remaining members of the commission en banc are Commissioners Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph, Christian Robert Lim, and Grace Padaca. (PNA)



Comments are closed.