Palace: President Aquino will reappoint Brillantes | Inquirer News

Palace: President Aquino will reappoint Brillantes

President Benigno Aquino III is going to reappoint Sixto Brillantes chair of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after he was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments just before Congress adjourned earlier this month.

Citing confirmation by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the announcement in a text message to reporters Monday afternoon.

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As this developed, Malacañang expressed concern over the reported appointment of Ray Sumalipao as regional election director in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Sumalipao was one of the Comelec hands who figured in the “Hello Garci” scandal involving wiretapped conversations allegedly between former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

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In the tapes Arroyo was supposedly heard asking Garcillano about her vote margin in Mindanao in the 2004 presidential election, which is illegal.

“Well, if that’s true (Sumalipao’s appointment), certainly it’s a concern for us,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda during Monday’s press briefing in Malacañang.

“As you know, we have postponed the elections in the ARMM and, as we have already stated, we are pressing for reforms [there] and we would hope that the Comelec would do its part in electoral reforms in the ARMM elections,” he said.

Malacañang successfully pushed for postponement of the ARMM elections supposedly to institute reforms in the region and to synchronize the regional polls with the 2013 national elections.

President Aquino has assigned the job of coming up with the guidelines for picking the appointive interim leaders of the ARMM to Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.

“I spoke to Secretary Ging Deles about it. But you know, this is the point [where] while we in the executive branch are concerned about the continued presence of Mr. Sumalipao in the ARMM, the Comelec is separate and independent from the executive,” Lacierda said.

The matter of Comelec officials that figured in the Hello Garci scandal still working at the poll agency was one of the issues Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano raised against Brillantes during the confirmation hearings in the Commission on Appointments.

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TAGS: ARMM, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Commission on Appointments, Commission on Elections, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Hello Garci controversy, Ray Sumalipao, Sixto Brillantes
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