GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 February) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has designated a new regional director for Region 12 as part of a temporary reshuffle in preparation for the May 9 local and national elections.
Lawyer Francisco Pobe, who previously headed the Comelec in Region 13 or Caraga Region, formally assumed as director for Region 12 on Monday.
He replaced lawyer Michael Abas, who was reassigned as regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“Director Pobe already arrived yesterday and immediately took over (Comelec-12). (But) this is just a temporary reshuffle and will be lifted after the elections,” Lawyer Jay Gerada, Comelec-South Cotabato supervisor, told MindaNews.
As in the previous elections, he said another reshuffle will be implemented soon for provincial election supervisors as well as city and municipal election officers in the region.
Comelec revamps normally happen ahead of the elections to erase suspicions that some election officers are controlled or influenced by local politicians.
Gerada said the directive, which will likely be issued next month, will come from the Comelec regional office.
Comelec-Region 12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
Although part of the administrative coverage of Region 12, Cotabato City is under the authority of Comelec-ARMM
Gerada assured the reshuffle will not affect their ongoing preparations for the upcoming polls.
“We’re all following the same set of guidelines and timetable so I don’t it will hamper our preparations in any way,” he said.
As to their preparations, Gerada said the training and orientation of election officers and personnel on the conduct of the May 9 automated elections is currently ongoing.
He said they have set the training in March for the teachers who will serve as board of election inspectors during the polls. (MindaNews)