- Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, 40, is a Muslim Filipino from Mindanao
- He is the youngest chairman of the powerful electoral Commission on Elections (Comelec)
- The lawyer was appointed on April 28, 2015, then-president Aquino named Abas as Comelec commissioner.
- In 2017, President Duterte nominated him to head the Comelec, the Philippines' powerful electoral body.
Dubai: The dust hasn’t settled following the mid-term Philippine elections, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared the vote a success.
The Monday elections posted a 72 per cent voter turnout, with 45.8 million out of 63.6 million registered voters taking to the polling booths.
Behind the success of this mid-term vote, is Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, a Muslim Filipino lawyer.
At 40, he is the youngest chairman of the powerful electoral body.
Abas was confirmed for the post at the age of 38 by the Commission on Appointments in May last year.
Born on May 5, 1979, Abas replaced Andres Bautista, 55, and Sixto Brillantes, who retired as head of Comelec at 75. Abas was confirmed for the post at the age of 38 by the Commission on Appointments in May last year.
Abas completed philosophy at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City in 1999, read law at the Ateneo de Davao University in 2004, and passed the Bar a year later.
He later worked for 8 years at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where he served as lawyer and acting assistant regional director there.
On April 28, 2015, then-president Aquino named Abas as Comelec commissioner.
Back then, he was appointed to the Comelec alongside Andres Bautista as chairman and Rowena Guanzon as commissioner.
Their terms had been set to expire on February 2, 2022. Bautista, however, resigned from his post on October 23, 2017 year after a public spat with his wife and before a full-blown impeachment hearing.
In 2017, Abas was nominated for the top Comelec post by President Rodrigo Duterte, also the first president from Mindanao, the country’s food basket but is also the poorest island group and a hotbed of election fraud.
Abas comes from influential clan in Mindanao.
Abas is a nephew of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
The group signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government, following which a referendum on greater autonomy for Bangsamo, the Muslim Filipino region, was ratified by 85 per cent of voters.
This election is Abas’ first major challenge as head of the commission.
The May 13 mid-term election did not go without hitches.
His team confronted numerous problems: defective vote counting machines, SD cards that didn’t work, low-speed reporting of official results.
Now Abas told local media on Tuesday that suppliers of faulty election materials won’t get off the hook.
There were about 9000 vote counting machines used in the Monday election that malfunctioned.
Abas said on Tuesday that supplies found guilty of violating terms of their contracts with the government could be penalized.
Despite these glitches, the Comelec asserted on Tuesday that the electoral process on Monday has been "successful."
"For our part, we view our elections as successful because, as the rate defect is still very low" Abas told Philippine media.
The glitches, however, represented less than 1% of the entire 85,000 plus VCMs.
“We can say the election is successful,” said Abas.
As of Tuesday, May 14, a day after the vote — and with already 96% of votes transmitted — the system this time has actually proven faster compared to previous elections.