MANILA, Philippines -- Election commissioner Romeo Brawner's death has left the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with three vacancies, the poll body?s spokesman told INQUIRER.net.
The remaining commissioners are Comelec chairman Jose Melo, Rene Sarmiento, Moslemen Macarambon Sr., and Nicodemo Ferrer.
Early this year, commissioners Resurreccion Borra, Florentino Tuason Jr. retired.
Melo, who replaced resigned Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr., and Macarambon are newly appointed and are still waiting confirmation from the Commission on Appointments.
But Jimenez said Brawner?s death will not have any effect on preparations for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which are proceeding as planned.
The Comelec met with the Armed Forces of the Philippines during a command conference in Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday.
"The ARMM poll is in the pipeline already, so I really don't see [Brawner's death] having that big an impact on readiness and automation. His loss, however, will be felt most deeply in terms of the quasi-judicial aspect of Comelec work," Jimenez said.
Asked about the time of Brawner's death, Jimenez replied, "I spoke to his chief of staff at around 6 a.m. She was incoherent." It was around this time, Jimenez said, that he was informed about the heart attack.
Brawner came from Sri Lanka two weeks ago before he went to Baguio, Jimenez said.
After that Brawner had been staying up late, catching up on work.
Brawner died Thursday morning from a massive heart attack, Melo and Sarmiento confirmed separately.
Both Melo and Sarmiento said that Brawner's body will be brought to the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila later Thursday.
As of this posting, there is still no word on exactly what time will Brawner's body will arrive in Comelec main office.
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]'."