Next Comelec chief ‘relatively young’ legal expert – Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Who will be the next chair of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)? 

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to make a formal announcement, but he provided some clues to who he will appoint to the poll body a year before the presidential election.

"I just need to interview the primary candidate and just to confirm that he really is volunteering. Again, this person is relatively young, he’s acknowledged in the legal circles, he has already proven his mettle," Aquino told reporters in Bacolod City on Thursday, April 30.

It has been close to 3 months since former Comelec chairperson Sixto Brillantes Jr retired. In the absence of a permanent head, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim was tapped to become the acting chair. 

What is preventing Aquino from naming the election chairman? 

"I just need a confirmation that he wants the job as opposed to just being forced to accept it. I just needed to hear it from his lips," Aquino said. 

On April 17, Aquino told reporters a second candidate was being considered after the first person he interviewed seemed "hesitant" to take the job. 

He said the commission needs "someone energetic and enthusiastic" as the country gears up for the presidential elections in 2016. 

Rappler sources said among those being considered for the post are former Associate Justice Adolf Azcuna, former Cadiz City mayor Rowena Guanzon, a litigation lawyer, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairperson Winston Ginez. 

Other vacancies 

Aside from Comelec, Aquino has yet to name who would next lead the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

The President said he expects to get a final answer from his prospective BuCor chief by Saturday, May 2. 

"Sinabi ko kasi sa kanyang 'madugo itong papasukan mo,' ‘no, 'kapag pinasukan mo ‘yan gusto kong mulat ang mata mo na madugo nga 'yung dadaanan mo diyan at handa kang sagupain 'yung kailangang sagupain doon.' So, actually pa-oo na siya last week, at sinabi ko rin sa kanya, ‘ulitin ko lang ha, kailangan pag-umoo ka, wala nang atrasan ito.’ So, by this Saturday, I hope I’ll get a final answer from him sa acceptance.  

(I told him, 'This will be bloody. If you enter this, your eyes should be open that what you would go through would be difficult and you should be ready to face anything you need to face.' Actually, he was about to say yes last week. I also told him, 'I repeat, if you say yes, there is no turning back.' So by this Saturday, I hope I'll get a final answer from him for his acceptance.)

On the next DOE chair, Aquino said he is still hoping to convince Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to stay despite his resignation. 

But should Petilla stick to his decision, Aquino said he is already choosing between two candidates. 

As for the PNP, Aquino said he is just "finalizing the steps" for the appointment to cause "as much as possible the least disruption to the PNP hierarchy." (READ: Why Aquino is taking time to pick a PNP chief) – Angela Casauay/