PNoy sisters endorse former SC justice as COMELEC chief

The sisters of President Benigno Aquino III are throwing their support behind a former Supreme Court (SC) justice and Cabinet member under their mother Corazon Aquino to become the next Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Insiders say that the eldest sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz is leading her other sisters to endorse retired justice Adolfo Azcuna to replace Sixto Brillantes Jr. as the country’s poll chief.

Azcuna served the High Court from 2002-2009. Previously, he served as press secretary, among other posts, under the first Aquino administration. He is currently the Chancellor of the Philippine Judicial Academy.

He is also among the delegates of both the 1971 and the 1987 Constitutions. In the heated debate over the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Azcuna has been one of the proposed bill’s backers.

Previously, it was reported that former Cadiz City, Negros Occidental mayor and Commission on Audit commissioner Rowena Guanzon would replace Brillantes. Draft appointment letters were also prepared for Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Winston Ginez and lawyer for the Ampatuans Firdausi Abbas to fill the other vacancies.

Palace insiders, however, say that after the Holy Week, Guanzon’s name appeared as replacement for retired Commissioner Lucenito Tagle instead.

Meanwhile, Kris Aquino earlier announced on her television show the appointment of Ginez but not necessarily to become head of the poll body.

Rumors have also been picked up about a power struggle between the infamous Balay and Samar factions serving President Aquino.

The Samar faction, who also supports Vice President Jejomar Binay, is backing Azcuna while the Balay faction, supporting Sec. Mar Roxas, is endorsing Guanzon.

President Aquino himself has remained silent over who will be appointed in the three vacancies in the COMELEC, which have been unfilled since the retirement last February of Commissioners Brillantes, Tagle, and Elisa Yusoph.