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Friday, September 4, 2009

Reason for Creating COMELEC

The growing public distrust and dissatisfaction upon the way the Secretary of the Interior were exercising their powers under the election laws, including their arbitrary resolutions as to the location of polling places, compelled the National Assembly to create, by constitutional amendments, an independent Commission on Elections.   (Cortez vs. COMELEC, et al., 79 Phil. 352)

By the very nature of their functions, the members of the Commission on Elections must be independent. They must be made to feel that they are secured in the tenure of their office and entitled to fixed emoluments during their incumbency (economic security), so as to make them impartial in the performance of their functions -- their powers and duties.

That independence and impartiality may be shaken and destroyed by a designation of a person or officer to act temporarily in the Commission on Elections. It would be more in keeping with the intent purpose and aim of the framers of the Constitution to appoint a permanent Commissioner than to designate one to act temporarily. (Cortez vs. COMELEC, et al., 79 Phil. 352)

Under the Constitution, the Commission on Elections is an independent body or institution (Article X), just as the General Auditing Office is an independent office (Art. XI). The membership of the Commission for a fixed period of nine years (now seven), except as to the first members appointed who were to hold office for nine, six and three years (now seven, five and three years). With these periods, it was the intention of the framers of the Constitution to have one position vacant every three years, so that no President can appoint more than one Commissioner, thereby preserving and safeguarding the independence and impartiality of the Commission. (The Nationalista Party vs. Solicitor General, G.R. No. L-3452, Dec. 7, 1949; XV, L.J. 163)

The main purpose behind the creation of the Commission on Elections, was to place the supervision and control of the conduct of the elections and the enforcement of the election laws in the hands of an independent body, composed of public-spirited men, who, with the consciousness of the high dignity of performing the duties of a constitutional office, shall administer the law justly, impartiality without any partisanship, and never countenance for any reason or consideration an illegality.

The creation of the new body was intended to remedy the unsatisfactory situation created by the general belief, among the majority and the minority parties, that the Secretaries of the Interior were administering the election laws not for the purpose of securing an honest and free elections, but to serve the political interests of the party in power to which the secretaries belonged. (Cortez vs. COMELEC, et al., 79 Phil. 352)

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