No Palace infighting over Comelec chief nominees

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2011 05:26 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2011 01:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang denied clashing factions in the President's main power base are fielding their own bets for chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

On Thursday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said election lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Sixto Brillantes were asked to meet with the President for the post.

Lacierda stressed the President wants an election expert to head the commission.

Lacierda said the 2 were merely called by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and  Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, herself  a former election lawyer.

"No factions here. No one is pushing for anyone," he said.

Lacierda added President Aquino is also considering other nominees for that position, like Truth Commission Member Carlos Medina. The latter is also connected with an election watchdog, Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente).

Lacierda dismissed questions regarding the partiality of either Brillantes and Macalintal, both of whom have handled cases for prominent politicians. Macalintal is a known  lawyer of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"I think the lawyers are professional enough to transcend... professional affiliations. I think  if they are given that responsibility they will be able to transcend their affiliations," he said.