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Duterte appoints frat brother to Comelec

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has appointed former Department of Justice (DoJ) undersecretary Antonio T. Kho, Jr. as new Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner, Malacañang said on Friday.

In a text message to reporters on July 13, Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” T. Go said the Palace released the appointment paper of Mr. Kho last Thursday, July 12. Mssrs. Kho, Duterte, and former DoJ secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II are fraternity brothers at Lex Talionis in San Beda College of Law.

The new Comelec official is taking over the position of Sheriff M. Abas who has been appointed as chairman of the commission.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution and existing laws, you are hereby appointed ad interim commissioner, Commission on Elections, for a term expiring on 02 February 2020, vice Sheriff M. Abas,” the appointment letter read in part.

Mr. Kho served as justice undersecretary during the tenure of former justice secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II who resigned last April while the DoJ was under fire for its dismissal of the criminal case against several high profile drug personalities and for alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet L. Napoles’ provisional entry into its Witness Protection Program (WPP.)

Also last April, new DoJ Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra directed all of Mr. Aguirre’s assistant secretaries and undersecretaries, including Mr. Kho, to tender their unqualified courtesy resignations to the Office of the President. — Arjay L. Balinbin