MANILA, Philippines—As if to show that he was really serious about his threat to resign, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. disclosed on Friday that he had never wanted to head the poll body and had asked President Benigno Aquino III for an ambassadorship shortly after the 2010 elections.
Brillantes, who has been asked by Mr. Aquino to remain in the Comelec, said he was eyeing an ambassadorship in Eastern Europe and would tell the President so.
“He does not need to appeal to me (to stay) because this is going to be my decision. I know what to do, but thank you,” he said.
According to Brillantes, he had asked Mr. Aquino for an ambassadorship after the latter won the presidential election in 2010.
“I thought I would get it but (then Comelec) Chair (Jose) Melo resigned. That’s when everything went haywire,” he said in an interview.
Where no Filipinos go
He said he would reveal his decision on whether to stay or resign on Monday, but would still want to meet with the President next week.
“I will wait to see the President so that I can ask him … My plan was to ask him, ‘Could you give me an ambassadorship instead so that I can rest. It’s so tiring in the Comelec,’” he said.
Brillantes, who was Mr. Aquino’s lawyer during the 2010 presidential elections, said he had asked even then to be made envoy to an Eastern European country.
“Romania, Slovakia, or Hungary … where no Filipinos go,” he said.
According to Brillantes, it would not be problematic if he were to go on leave now as the most critical phase of the election preparations was over and the polls can be adequately handled by the Comelec’s senior staff.
“Our work is finished. We’re winding up already. The dangerous (part) is over. I’ve even been able to travel. I think it’s about time. If I decide not to continue as chairman of this commission, I would have done my job already,” he said.
Very, very disappointed
Brillantes has been increasingly frustrated that the poll body keeps being rebuffed by the Supreme Court on poll issues brought before the high court.
On Tuesday, he said he was considering resigning after the high tribunal issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Comelec rule limiting airtime of political advertisements. He noted that it was the fourth adverse order against the poll body from the high court in recent months.
The tribunal issued a TRO against the Comelec order for the Diocese of Bacolod to pull down its “Team Buhay/Team Patay” tarpaulins. The high court also remanded to the poll body the cases of party-list groups that the Comelec had earlier disqualified and the election protest case on the 2010 mayoralty race in Imus, Cavite.
“I’m not just disappointed. I’m very, very disappointed. If they want to regulate the campaign … the way of campaigning, then what will the Comelec be?” Brillantes said.
“What are we? We’re useless here? Everything we do will be TROed?” he said.