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De Lima eyeing Comelec top post, says lawmaker

/ 08:30 PM May 28, 2014

Former DOJ secretary and now 1-BAP Representative Silvestre Bello III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—A former justice secretary turned lawmaker claimed that Leila De Lima is the most likely appointee to replace elections chief Sixto Brillantes Jr., who is set to retire in February 2015.

1-Bap Representative Silvestre Bello III said that his sources in the Supreme Court are saying De Lima is eyed as the next chairperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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Bello made the statement when asked about the chances of De Lima as Associate Justice since Roberto Abad has retired from the Supreme Court.

“Ang narinig ko is different. Mukhang iba ang gusto niya. Hindi sa SC. Iba ang tsismis na naririnig ko. (What I’m hearing is different. It seems like she wants a different position. Not in the SC. I hear different rumors),” Bello said during Wednesday’s minority bloc briefing.

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“It’s another commission. Constitutional commission,” he added.

Bello confirmed at the sidelines of the meeting that it’s the Comelec.

De Lima has been an election lawyer before she was appointed Commission on Human Rights chief and now Justice Secretary.

But Bello is also not discounting the possibility that De Lima may run for senator in 2016.

De Lima has been in the headlines as she leads the investigation on the pork barrel scam, by which billions of public funds were allegedly converted to kickbacks among accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, lawmakers and government officials.

Reached for a comment, Brillantes said he has not heard word that De Lima is set to replace him.

But he said that De Lima is the “more qualified” candidate to replace him as she has experience in election practice like he has.

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“She’s more than qualified to be chairman,” Brillantes said in a phone interview.

For her part, De Lima said she would rather focus on the scam investigation.

“I honestly don’t know yet what’s gonna be my next calling… I’m just focused right now on my myriad tasks and challenges,” De Lima said in a text message.

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TAGS: Comelec, Leila de Lima, Nation, News, Silvestre Bello
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