President Benigno Aquino III on Friday said he’s not quite ready yet to let Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. go, especially since the May 13 midterm elections are less than a month away.
“Papakiusapan ko naman ‘yung ating chair. Medyo less than a month na lang ‘yung eleksyon. Ang hirap naman na magtatalaga ng bagong chair at that point. And I think he will see that the country needs him to chair the Comelec at this crucial period,” Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony of the Mactan Circumferential Road in Cebu.
Related story: Embattled poll chief Brillantes mulls quitting
But Aquino said he is ready to meet with Brillantes, who is seeking an audience with the president regarding his plan to quit his post following several Supreme Court rulings that went against the poll body's resolutions.
“I’m at his disposal. When he feels that he’s ready to meet with me, I’m always ready to meet with him,” Aquino said of his former election lawyer.
On Tuesday, a teary-eyed Brillantes threatened to resign after the Supreme Court stopped the Comelec from imposing new airtime limits on political advertisements on radio and television.
Also read: Is Supreme Court taking over Comelec?
Aquino said Brillantes might have been emotional when he made the statements.
“Parang ‘yung nabasa ko sa dyaryo sinabi naman niya baka spur of the moment feeling at the time that he was most frustrated which, he said, ‘let me think about it over the weekend. Think about it more soberly and less emotionally,’” he said.
Meanwhile, Aquino said he supported similar airtime rules being pushed by the Comelec when he was a senator.
“I still subscribe to the idea na kung dadagdagan natin ang gastos tuwing eleksyon, para na rin tayong nang-e-engganyo sa iba na maghanap ng paraan para mapondohan ‘yung gagastusin nila. At ibig sabihin ‘non kadalasan para lalong mag-succumb sa tukso ng corruption, ‘yon ‘yung nilalabanan natin,” he said. — Patricia Denise Chiu/KBK, GMA News
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