MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Poll lawyer Sixto Brillantes has taken his oath as new chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
This finally ends speculations following Comelec chief Jose Melo’s decision to step down on Saturday, weeks ahead of his intended resignation.
Despite this, Malacanang has not yet issued a statement on the matter.
He took his oath before Supreme Court Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura at around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. Brillantes supposedly chose Nachura for their connections to the San Beda College of Law.
The appointment of the new Comelec chief was beset by talks of political wrangling allegedly among factions within Malacanang. Some are for Brillantes, while others have been rooting for another poll lawyer, Romulo Macalintal.
Brillantes brushed off talks about his rivalry with Macalintal.
The latter was even invited during this afternoon’s affair. He had another matter to attend to, however.
Brillantes said he would want to work immediately on election reforms.
These include, among others, the need to hasten decisions on pending cases and election protests.
He also intends to come up with a shortlist for the replacement of outgoing Comelec Commissioners Gregorio Larrazabal and Nicodemo Ferrer.
Brillantes also assured stakeholders that the cases he had handled in the past will not affect his work. Among his popular clients are: the Ampatuan family and former President Joseph Estrada.
Upon learning of his appointment on Saturday, he also immediately resigned his post as counsel for the Nationalist People’s Coalition and the United Opposition. – with reports from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 01/16/2011 5:11 PM | Updated as of 01/16/2011 5:31 PM