Aquino: Comelec chair appointment coming soon

MANILA, Philippines – Over two months after the retirement of two commissioners and the chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), President Benigno Aquino III said he is coming close to making an appointment to head the poll body.

On Friday, April 17, Aquino refused to name names, but said the first person he he interviewed to become election chairman seemed “hesitant.”

“Of course we have the presidential elections next year, we need someone energetic and enthusiastic,” the President said.

Aquino said his next interviewee, however, looks like a good possibility.

“So there is another candidate – hopefully I will be able to interview by next week – who has indicated very strong interest and who has the credentials and the track record to do a good job. Now, after the chair is done, the other commissioner, I think we already have a candidate for that. So the chair is my focus at this time,” he said.

On February 2, Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr and commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph retired from Comelec. The national elections are scheduled for May 2016.

CSC, PNP chief

Aquino also said the Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairman vacancy is “more or less also done.”

“There will just be other vacancies that will need to be replaced, as to not affect the needs of that department,” he said.

The President did not specify who he was referring to, but Rappler sources say Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr is being eyed to take the CSC post, which will free up his position.  

Asked if it was Coloma, Aquino only said he would announce it at the proper time.

The President, however, was not as confident about appointing a new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief – also a vacant position – soon.

“As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates. I will beg everybody’s patience on this matter,” he said.

“It was not projected that we will be changing the Chief PNP at this point, in 2015. We were thinking that it would be at the end of 2015 where we would have to change the Chief PNP.”

Former PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima resigned after he was criticized for his involvement in the botched Mamasapano operation, which resulted in the death of 44 elite cops. Purisima played a role in the operation despite serving a preventive suspension from the Office of the Ombudsman because of graft charges. – Rappler.com