MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) today bid goodbye to its 2 commissioners who are retiring tomorrow, February 2, 2013.
Chairman Sixto Brillantes led incumbent and former poll body officials in feting Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, whose 7-year terms end tomorrow.
Brillantes said no replacement has been named yet but he hopes they will soon be appointed. In the meantime, the remaining commissioners, Lucenito Tagle, Christian Robert Lim, Grace Padaca, Elias Yusoph and Brillantes will split the work load that will be left behind by the retiring commissioners.
Brillantes said he will also offer the 2 commissioners consultancy positions so they can still help the poll body prepare for the mid-term polls.
Sarmiento was cool to the idea because he doesn't want to come across as clinging to his post. Velasco, for his part, expressed readiness to help the poll body in any way.
Sarmiento, a career Comelec employee who rose from the ranks, said naming a commissioner from within Comelec has its advantages since the employee already knows the job.
Spotted at the retirement rites were former Comelec chairman Jose Melo and Hilario Davide, as well as other former Comelec commissioners.
Sarmiento and Velasco were given busts and tokens of recognition from the Comelec.
With their exit, President Aquino will be able to appoint 2 new commissioners that will give him a majority in the 7-man commission. Only Tagle and Yusoph will be the remaining appointees of former President Gloria arroyo.
There has been no word yet on when the appointments will be made, though Brillantes previously said he heard of over 50 applicants for the jobs.
An ABS-CBN source said among the frontrunners are a member of a watch dog, a politician and a trial judge.