Insider, 6 others on Palace short list for 2 vacant Comelec posts

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Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang has compiled a shortlist of seven people for the two vacancies in the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and one of those being considered is an “insider,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Friday.

Brillantes said he was glad that a member of the Malacañang screening committee had consulted him and informed him about the persons in its shortlist of candidates to replace former Comelec Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, who both retired on Feb. 2.

The Comelec chairman said he was not consulted in the previous appointments, which resulted in a debacle for the Palace when its two appointees—former Lanao del Norte Rep. Macabangkit Lanto and election lawyer Ma. Bernadette Sardillo—later declined their appointments to the Comelec.

“Well, (the shortlist) is okay with me. At least I was consulted. Before, I was not. I don’t even know three of the names (on the list). I’ve heard of them but I don’t know them personally,” Brillantes said in an interview.

He declined to divulge the names on the list and only said that one of them was a Comelec “insider,” or someone who rose from the ranks of the poll body.

“I promised that I will not divulge any name (but) there is one insider … The others I know … the insider, definitely,” Brillantes said.

He said the Palace screening committee was still checking the background of the seven people in its shortlist.

“It’s in the screening committee … We did not convene formally. I was just consulted over the phone by one of its members. I’m not a member of the committee,” Brillantes said.

Malacañang is back to the drawing board after Sardillo and Lanto declined their appointments after these were announced by the Palace.

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