MANILA, Philippines -- Election commissioner Romeo Brawner died Thursday morning at the age of 72.
Brawner?s death, from a heart attack, was confirmed by Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo and election commissioner Rene Sarmiento.
Melo said Brawner died around 9 a.m. at the St. Luke?s Medical Center in Quezon City after suffering a heart attack at around 6 a.m.
Melo said Brawner had just returned to the country from a 10-day trip to Sri Lanka and then gone to Baguio.
But on Monday, he decided to check into St. Luke?s because he was ?feeling sick,? Melo said.
"We thought it was nothing serious," Melo said, as he pointed out that the other election commissioners were expecting Brawner to be discharged from the hospital anytime this week.
Both Melo and Sarmiento said that Brawner's body will be brought to the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila later Thursday.
From the Comelec, Brawner?s remains will be brought to the Court of Appeals, of which he was presiding justice before his appointment to the poll body, and to Baguio on Saturday.
Brawner was appointed to the Comelec to replace the controversial Virgilio Garcillano, who was implicated with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to alleged vote-rigging in the 2004 elections.
His term was supposed to end on February 2, 2011.
Sarmiento said Brawner, who was born in Solano, Nueva Vizacaya on September 17, 1935, was his ?soul mate. I called him Manong [elder brother]?.?
Melo said he would ensure the immediate release to Brawner?s family of all his benefits.