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Crunch time.

From chasing ill-gotten wealth, he'll now be running after ill-gotten ballots. Andy Bautista's appointment as Comelec chairman is remarkable in that it's acceptable to the opposition, and that media, not one to render fulsome praise, has not (yet) dug up any scandals and sins of the past.

Just because Chairman Bautista is not a partisan, not a politician, not a card-carrying member of the President's Liberal Party and his club of classmates, shooters, and kindred spirits? "I didn't know the President before he appointed me to PCGG," he said (in self-defense?). Sure, he was gamely holding down a cushy job as country manager of the Shangri-la chain of hotels when friends eager to help PBSA's head hunters dropped his name and someone in MalacaAaAaAeA~ang picked it u

Four years later, several PCGG employees - I can guess they're from the distaff side - were reported to have shed tears when "Bote" met them for the last time before moving over to his Intramuros office. Among the things left unfinished by the Presidential Commission on Good Government during his watch is the on-again off-again display of Imelda Marcos' fabulous jewelry collections. The last time he talked about it, securing the jewels was a concern.

Securing sequestered gems or securing the sanctity of the ballot, his motto is to "work hard, with humor and perseverance." In a totally different milieu now where the task is "interesting" because "elections are the heart of democracy," the Comelec chief understands the need of the moment is to "simplify, demystify the elections" to a distrustful citizenry. A dyed-in-the-wool bureaucrat would have preferred to use that oft-abused word, "transparent."

The one thing Chairman Bautista will not be transparent about is his age - he's in his 40's - and the one thing he wished his job could give him is time. "If only we had more time to prepare ..." But like the lawyer that he is - from the private sector, multinational at that - he'll have to work with what he's got. One year to crunch time.

He can't be such a bad sort if he knew enough to please his mother-in-law by dining with her in her house on Mother's Day.


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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:May 11, 2015
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