MANILA, Philippines – If Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr would have his way, he would pick either Justice Secretary Leila de Lima or Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares as the next poll chief.
Responding to questions in an interview on ANC’s Headstart on Wednesday, January 7, Brillantes said, “If there’s anybody who could best replace me, it’s Leila [de Lima].”
De Lima’s name has been floated as the next Comelec chief on numerous occasions. However, she has previously said she is not aspiring for the post.
“I think she is more than qualified to become the chairman. She was a previous election lawyer….I’ve seen her way, I know how devoted she is,” he added.
Brillantes preferred his successor to be “babae, matapang, at bata pa (a woman, brave, and still young),” then mentioned Henares.
He noted, however, that he has yet to recommend any name to President Benigno Aquino III.
In a recent interview with comedian Vice Ganda, Aquino described De Lima as “serious” when it comes to work, and Henares as “feared by many,” apparently because of her highly-publicized campaign against tax evaders.
Brillantes said the other good candidates for Comelec chairman or commissioners are Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Winston Ginez.
He also hoped that Comelec “insiders” and a Muslim representative could fill up the looming vacancies. (READ: Comelec employees nominate ‘insider’ as poll commissioner)
Brillantes and Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph will be retiring from the poll body on February 2, 2015.
The appointment of the next Comelec chief and commissioners “is the sole prerogative of the President,” Brillantes said.
Brillantes also revealed his plans after he retires from the Comelec in February. He said he is restricted by a one-year ban in election law practice following his retirement.
“By February 2016, before the election, I might be able to come back not as a practitioner but as a consultant to some candidates.”
He added, “If any presidential candidate would like to get some advice, I could probably give some.”
Asked if he would be in Senator Grace Poe’s camp in 2016, should she seek higher elective office, Brillantes replied, “If she runs, I’ll probably assist or help.”
Brillantes was among the lawyers of Fernando Poe Jr, the senator’s father, in the 2004 presidential elections. – Rappler.com