PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Commission on Elections commissioner Sheriff Abas as the new Comelec chairman, replacing Andres Bautista.
Also yesterday, Duterte appointed former Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera as the new Energy Regulation Commission chairperson.
Abas’ appointment papers were signed on Wednesday, November 22. He will serve until February 2, 2022, or for what should have been Bautista’s remaining term.
Abas’ appointment must be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.
Abas is the nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
As a Comelec commissioner, he headed the packing and shipping committee.
A law professor, Abas worked as acting assistant regional director of the Civil Service Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao until his appointment to the Comelec. He worked at the CSC from June 2007 until April 2015.
Abas, who describes himself as a missionary, finished his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, in 1999.
He obtained his Law degree from the Ateneo de Davao University in 2004.
Abas replaced Bautista who tendered his resignation supposedly effective by the end of the year but was accepted by President Rodrigo Duterte in October.
Bautista tendered his resignation nearly a week after the House justice committee, by a vote of 19-2, formally junked an impeachment complaint against him.
Meanwhile, Devanadera’s appointment was signed also on Nov 22.
She will serve until July 2022, or until the expiration of the term of Jose Vicente Salazar who was ordered dismissed by Malacañang for grave misconduct.
Devanadera served as Solicitor General during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She also served as Arroyo’s acting justice secretary when then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales was on medical leave.
In 2006, Devanadera was charged with graft for a debt agreement inked by the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) and British lending firm Radstock, which she greenlighted as government corporate counsel at the time.
Radstock bought the rights to PNCC’s debt to Japanese firm Marubeni which ballooned to P17 billion. A debt agreement was firmed up to pay only P6 billion.
But the Supreme Court nullified the deal, saying it has no basis in the Constitution, and would cost the government too much.
In May this year, the Sandiganbayan dropped the graft case due to investigative delays on the part of the Ombudsman’s office.