No poll chief yet

ALTHOUGH several ranking government officials have expressed interest in the top post at the Commission on Elections, Malacañang maintained on Saturday that there is still no discussion on who will replace Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. who is set to retire next year.

“I have heard nothing official on that,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in an interview over state-owned dzRB radio.

“We cannot confirm that [because] there’s no discussion yet as to who will be recommended as the next Comelec chair... The President has not informed us of his choice,” Lacierda said after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was interested in the job.

Aside from De Lima, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino also expressed interest in the job that will be vacated by Brillantes when he retires in February.

Poll Commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph are also set to retire next year, leaving three vacancies only a few months before the official election period that is expected to start in October when the Comelec will begin to accept certificates of candidacy.

Although the Comelec has not come out with an official calendar for the 2016 polls, election day is set on second Monday of May and it will fall on May 9 in 2016. Under election laws, the campaign period starts 90 days before election day.

But the Comelec is also considering a plan to allow a campaign period that would last for seven months, or from October 2015 to April 2016, Brillantes had earlier said.

If Brillantes leaves officer in February, the next Comelec chairman will have eight months to prepare for the election period itself, aside from the issued already pending before the poll body.

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