“The conduct and administration of elections and other political exercises by government had not started with the creation of the Commission on Elections. Before its statutory birth in 1940, supervision over election matters in the country was vested in the Department of Interior.
However, general public perception of the “close official relationship” between the President and the Secretary of Interior bred suspicion that election laws were administered not for the purpose of securing honest and free elections “but to serve the political interest of the party in power”. Thus, the need was seen to create an election body that would have the independence to resist political pressure and conduct electoral exercises in an impartial manner.
Before the creation of the Commission on Elections as an independent body on August 22, 1940 with the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 607, a law was already under study seeking the amendment of the 1935 Constitution to clothe the Commission with “constitutional” status.
The amendment – ratified in a plebiscite on June 17, 1940 – however still had to be submitted to the President of the United States for approval. In order that there would already be an independent election body in time for the national elections in December that year, the National Assembly moved for the passage of CA No. 607.
Thus was born the first COMELEC with lawyer Pedro Concepcion as the first chairman and Jose Abreu and Rufino Luna as members. There were only 39 employees then – a number that would expand to some 5,301 in the next 66 years. The law vested in it the same powers which it would have under the amended 1935 Constitution.
On June 21, 1941, the Comelec was given constitutional status with the approval of Commonwealth Act No. 657.”
(source: Comelec 52nd Anniversary Souvenir Program)
Every anniversary is a cause for celebration. But this year’s observance of the COMELEC’s 66th anniversary will be highlighted by a simple Eucharistic Mass at the COMELEC Main Building and to be followed by simple rites and activities.
· Recognition of the Journal Group for undertaking and completing the Book I, Volume I relative to Initiative, Referendum, Plebiscite and Recall
· Launching of the Code of Conduct for COMELEC Officials & Employees
· Recognition of Director Rogelio S. Benjamin’s syllabus on Election Laws
· Awarding of a Plaque of Commendation to EO Ester R. Abisan, Concepcion, Iloilo for her exemplary service as Acting EO of Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur 2005 ARMM Elections.
· Parlor Games in front of the COMELEC Main Building