04 May 2015

Bautista appointed as Commission on Elections chair
Malacañang on Monday announced the appointment of Atty. J. Andres D. Bautista as the new chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the appointment papers of Bautista and two others were signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on April 28.

Bautista, who chairs the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), will take over the post vacated by Sixto Brillantes, Jr., who retired last February.

Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon and Sheriff M. Abas were also named as Comelec commissioners, replacing Lucenito Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph, respectively.

All three will serve until February 2, 2022.

Bautista, 51, finished his law degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1990 as class valedictorian and earned a Master of Law degree from Harvard Law School in the US in 1993.

Born in Quezon City, Bautista was a former dean of the Far Eastern University’s Institute of Law. He was a candidate for Supreme Court chief justice in 2012.

Bautista served as president and chief executive officer of Shangri-La Properties from 2006 to 2010, prior to his appointment as PCGG chairman. PND (jm)

MILF members responsible for death of 44 police commandos will still face criminal charges, says Palace
Even if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) assisted in neutralizing terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, its members who were deemed responsible for the death of 44 police commandos last January will still face criminal charges, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Monday.

“Malinaw naman ang nakasaad sa ulat nina Secretary (Leila) de Lima at ng Department of Justice (DOJ). Batay sa kanilang ginawang pag-aaral at case buildup ay nagkaroon sila ng findings hinggil doon sa kung sino ang naging responsable sa pagkamatay ng mga tropa ng PNP-SAF (Philippine National Police-Special Action Force) at hindi naman nababago o napapalitan ang mga kongklusyon na ito. Patuloy pa rin namang ipapatupad ang ating mga batas,” Secretary Coloma said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

He was responding to a question on whether MILF members will still be held liable for the death of 44 members of the police’s elite force last January 25, even if the group was instrumental in Usman’s killing on Sunday (May 3).

The DOJ has recommended the filing of criminal charges against 90 members of the MILF, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups over the death of the 44 SAF members, who were on an operation to arrest high-value terrorist targets Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Abu Marwan, and Usman. Marwan was killed on site, while Usman was able to escape.

According to reports, Usman was killed by members of the MILF 118th Base Command in a shootout in Sitio Takeneken, Barangay Muti, Guindulungan, Maguindanao at 10 a.m. on Sunday. PND (ag)