One of the joys of IEDP is engaging with a variety of policy leaders and officials to gain further perspective on our research. Given that my understanding of the Philippine election process is pretty limited, I sometimes lose sight of how important some of these leaders are!
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with the Honorable Rene V. Sarmiento, one of the Commissioners of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC); he provided some updates on the all-electronic voting process the country will undertake in the June elections.
After our meeting, I asked my colleague Tim, a former Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, to offer up a comparison of an official in the United States that would have the same level of influence as Mr. Sarmiento. His response? "We basically just met someone who's essentially a Supreme Court judge when it comes to defining the election outcome."
So, as you can imagine, our knowledge of this country grows by the moment -- but we're not stopping now. Off to another day of interviews!