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No immediate appointment of new Comelec chairman

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The four remaining commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may have to choose among themselves who will be the acting poll chief when Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. retires next week.

Brillantes said they do not expect President Aquino to appoint a new chairman immediately after his retirement.

“In the first place, he cannot do that while Congress is in session,” Brillantes said.

Doing so would mean the appointment of the next chairman would have to be approved first by the Commission on Appointments.

When Congress is in recess, the President makes an interim appointment to avoid such a requirement. Congress is set to adjourn on March 21.

Brillantes, Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph are set to retire on Feb. 2 after completing their seven-year term. This would leave only four commissioners – Christian Robert Lim, Al Parreño, Arturo Lim and Luie Guia.

“The en banc, meaning the four that will remain, will determine for themselves who will be the acting chairman. Although traditionally it should be the senior (commissioner),” Brillantes said.

Brillantes said he would prefer Lim, the most senior official, to be appointed as acting chair.

“Lim has been with me as early as 2010 so he knows already the background of things. The three others are quite new,” he said.

The Comelec, in full session, is set to meet on Jan. 28 to discuss the issue.

According to Brillantes, the composition of the Comelec’s two divisions will also be discussed.

“Since there are only four of them they have to act in unanimity. I suggested to them to have a consensus before they hold an en banc. In case they didn’t agree on something they should just defer the decision,” he said.

Brillantes has assured the public that preparations for the May 2016 polls will not be affected by their retirement as they are discussing and acting on possible scenarios. 

 

AL PARRE ARTURO LIM AND LUIE GUIA BRILLANTES CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES JR. CHRISTIAN ROBERT LIM COMELEC COMMISSIONERS LUCENITO TAGLE AND ELIAS YUSOPH PRESIDENT AQUINO WHEN CONGRESS
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