Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez (Screengrab from Comelec virtual presser)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday assured that its preparations for the May polls will not be hampered by the retirement of three senior officials.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said these preparations have long been in place and have already been tackled in the past months.

“Remember that when running the elections, you're talking about setting in motion preparation that was put in place while there were six of them. Now, we are at the stage where we are implementing these processes. A lot has gone from level of policy to level of operations. That's what we are doing now,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

Jimenez also expressed confidence that the remaining officials -- acting chair Socorro Inting and Commissioners Marlon Casquejo, Aimee Ferolino, and Rey Bulay -- will be able to cope with challenges.

“They have to have a quorum at all times. Because if a matter is elevated to them, they're going to have a quorum to get things done. That's the challenge. But in terms of getting things going, there is no problem,” he added.

Jimenez added that the poll body will not issue an appeal for the immediate appointment of new commissioners.

“We trust that the executive is aware of the timelines we are dealing with, and the demands on the new appointees when they do come. We will leave it to the discretion of the appointing authority,” he added.

Asked if they were able to receive information regarding possible appointments, the Comelec spokesperson said, “We never do. Information like that may come to individual commissioners but nothing actionable or official."

On Monday, Malacañang said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte already has a shortlist of possible appointees to replace the three retired officials -- Chairperson Sheriff Abas and Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho Jr.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also the acting presidential spokesperson, reiterated that Duterte understands the importance of appointing successors of Abas, Guanzon, and Kho "as soon as possible."

Courtesy resignation

Meanwhile, Jimenez added that he is filing his resignation as spokesperson of the poll body to give Inting the opportunity to choose whoever she wants to designate to the position.

“I do it every time there is a change in chairmanship whether it's’ actual chairmanship or acting chairman, I offer my resignation as spokesperson,” he said.

Jimenez, however, said he will accept the post if he will be picked again. (PNA)