'Tsismis lang yan': Panelo denies eyeing top Comelec post

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2017 04:17 PM

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. File Photo

MANILA - Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo denied Tuesday he is eyeing the top post at the Commission on Elections following the departure of its chairman, Andres Bautista. 

In a phone interview, Panelo said there is no truth to such rumors.

"Tsismis lang ‘yan. Matagal nang sinasabi iyang gusto ko raw maging Chairman ng Comelec. Hindi ako interesado sa posisyon,” he said.

Malacañang on Monday told Bautista that President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted his resignation “effective immediately,” contrary to the poll chief’s earlier announcement that he will only step down by the end of the year.

Following Bautista’s departure earlier than scheduled, the Comelec has already named Commissioner Christian Lim as acting chief of the poll body.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a news conference that it is up to the poll body to name Bautista’s temporary replacement until the President picks a new elections chief.

Lim was chosen via unanimous vote of poll commissioners present during the Comelec en banc, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Facing allegations of amassing P1 billion in unexplained wealth, Bautista previously announced that he will resign by December to give time for President Duterte to choose his successor. 

On the day of his resignation, however, he was impeached by lawmakers in the House of Representatives, overturning the House justice committee's dismissal of the complaint against him. 

This prompted Congress leaders to urge Bautista to just leave his post immediately to avoid the impeachment process.

Bautista became the first official to be impeached under the Duterte administration.