Brillantes looks back as he ponders future

VERA Files
Tinig Ng Botante

By Mikha Flores, VERA Files

Election Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. really wanted to become an ambassador, not Comelec Chair.

In a rare banter with reporters on Friday, the poll chief said that had he gotten his way, he would have preferred to serve in the country’s Foreign Service than administer national elections.

It would have been a stress-free job, he said, referring to the ambassadorial post he had wanted from President Benigno Aquino early in his term. Brillantes was Aquino’s lawyer in the 2010 elections.

Brillantes, who appeared more jovial compared to his mood last Tuesday when he first considered resigning, said he really wanted a post in an Eastern European country where only a few Filipinos work and live.

But he ended up at the Commission on Elections and “that’s when my troubles began.”

The election chairman is now contemplating resigning his post after being dealt a series of setbacks. He will spend time with close friends this weekend and ask for their thoughts before announcing his decision next week.

Brillantes found himself in bind this week after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (not a status quo ante as earlier reported) over the Comelec’s airtime limits for candidates’ television and radio advertisements.

It was the fourth time in many weeks that the high court reversed the poll body’s decisions, prompting an annoyed Brillantes to ask whether it was the Supreme Court that is running the elections.

Earlier, the Comelec also got a TRO stopping the removal of an oversized poster in a Bacolod Church. The Supreme Court also remanded 41 party-list cases back to the Comelec for re-hearing and issued new guidelines in accrediting such groups.

Will Brillantes throw in the towel is a question in many people’s minds. Will he again ask Aquino for an ambassadorial post? Incidentally, Brillantes’ brother, Jose, is undersecretary for Foreign Affairs. But the poll chief said he did not want to follow in his footsteps. “Iyon ang ayoko. Gusto ko siyang palitan, (I don’t want any job. I want to replace him),” he quipped.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)