Comelec chair Melo set to step down

Posted at 11/24/2010 6:04 PM | Updated as of 11/24/2010 7:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - Jose Melo is set to step down as the chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), ABS-CBN News learned on Wednesday.

Comelec commissioners Gregorio Larrazabal and Rene Sarmiento confirmed that Melo has submitted his resignation letter.

The Comelec en banc has acknowledged his resignation through a resolution.

Melo's resignation is effective January 31, 2011, Sarmiento added.

No surprise

Larrazabal and Sarmiento said that they are not surprised by Melo's resignation, since he has been telling the en banc of his plans to retire soon.

The two officials also recalled Melo saying his main mission was to make sure the May 2010 polls, the Philippines' first ever nationwide automated polls, would be successful.

The Comelec chairman was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2008. His term was to lapse in 2015.

Melo's resignation comes more than a month after reports surfaced he was planning to retire early, and that he would accept a new post in the Aquino administration.

Melo, 78, is reportedly being eyed for an ambassadorial post by the current administration.

Sarmiento said President Aquino can appoint Melo's successor immediately, or he can choose an Officer-in-Charge chairman to oversee the August 2011 polls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

With Melo's resignation, there will be three vacancies in the Comelec in 2011. Larrazabal and Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer are also set to end their terms by February next year. With reports from the ABS-CBN News Channel, and Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News