Comelec defends new appointees


Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Friday defended the appointment of lawyer Al A. Parreño as election commissioner after it was suggested that he did not meet a constitutional requirement for the post.

Brillantes said that even if Parreño had practiced only nine years of law, he could still be appointed to the Comelec since the President can appoint up to three “nonlawyer” commissioners.

The Constitution requires that those appointed as lawyers should at least have 10 years of experience in law practice.

“Yes, we checked that. He became a lawyer in 2004 so he has been a lawyer for only nine years… but you can appoint nonlawyers,” Brillantes said in an interview.

Nonlawyer appointee

“You can appoint three non-lawyers out of the seven (commissioners of the Comelec). The non-lawyer now is Commissioner (Grace) Padaca. So, (the President) can still put two nonlawyers,” he said.

“Parreño does not qualify as a lawyer(-appointee) because you need 10 years of practice,” he added.

But Brillantes said this issue would not affect Parreño’s appointment, adding that the Comelec would welcome him.

“Some might raise (the issue) but that is not an issue for us. We will welcome him. His appointment (papers) is now with us,” he added.

Brillantes said Parreño and lawyer Louie Tito F. Guia, the former director of the election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), could take their oath once they are ready.

Guia paid a courtesy call on Brillantes and other commissioners Friday morning.

“That is because when you are appointed here, you need to divest from (the private sector). So, I said he should fix this immediately,” Brillantes said.

Talking with reporters after his courtesy call, Guia said he would pursue financial campaign reforms and structural reforms at the Comelec. He said he expected to take his oath on Monday.

“Well for me, it is a call to duty. We can contribute something,” Guia told reporters when asked if he had wanted the position.

“We’re new and we’re coming in when the elections is already near. Maybe, I’ll just listen to them to find out what is urgently needed. What we need to look at now is the immediate preparations for the elections,” he added.

Reforms, realities

Guia, who met his wife in the Comelec, said he wanted to implement the reforms he learned in civil society.

“Ideally, I want to bring with me what we do in civil society but I’m also cognizant that of course this is a bureaucracy. I also (worked) here. I know the realities,” Guia said.

He said that when he was still with Lente, they proposed measures to speed up the resolution of election cases pending at the Comelec.

“The idea of (forming) a campaign finance unit came from our group and that was adopted by the Comelec. So, that’s where I come from,” Guia said.

“There are also other aspects of electoral reform. Maybe political party strengthening, which is partly legislative and administrative. But of course, I’m just one of the seven commissioners. So, I will not be the only one who will decide. Maybe I could contribute,” he added.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • marionics

    congrats luie. do us proud

  • Benigno the Turd

    I’d take these two commissioners. As seen with Padaca, Pnoy has the capacity to choose people who are incompetent and unqualified. Lets just be thankful he got this one right. See? I give credit where credit us due.

  • disqusted0fu

    Of course Brillantes will defend these Pnoy appointees, he just has to. Especially now that he wants to quit as a Comelec Chairman and be given an ambassadorship in Europe.

    These appointments however doesn’t erase the fact that Pnoy has appointed one who has a pending graft case and attempted to sneak in one who was allegedly involved in election fraud.

  • Enomny_simtur

    Sino maniniwala na nagpupunta sa bukid or
    palengke si Alan Cayetano? E ang balat nya parang binabad sa Eskinol!

  • Ako_Hiking

    When Aquino does the appointing it doesn’t matter who it is or what the rules are…it will be forced through and happen. But if another person does the same thing, for example when Gloria did the same things before, Aquino uses it and attacks her for those actions. In other words, if Gloria did it it was wrong but if Aquino does it the same it’s ok. Seems a bit double standard.

  • guest

    I think the people Noynoy should appoint for non lawyer positions are persons who did not really studied law to give the agency some thinking that are different from lawyers. If the guy is appointed as lawyer-commissioner and he is not qualified then he should be changed.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos