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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday paid tribute to its late former chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. as a pioneer of transparency measures in the country’s electoral exercises.

In a statement, the poll body recognized Brillantes’ leadership for the successful conduct of the 2013 midterm elections.

“As Comelec Chairman, Brillantes successfully guided the conduct of the 2013 national and local elections and was instrumental in establishing many of the transparency measures for automated elections that are still in use today, foremost of which was the Local Source Code Review,” it added.

The poll body also described him as a staunch advocate for electoral management reform, strengthening and empowering the Campaign Finance Office, which strongly fulfills its mandate to hold candidates accountable for their campaign spending.

Brillantes passed away on Tuesday, more than two weeks after her daughter Zeena said he was intubated at the Medical Center Manila after contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Commission en banc, and his entire Comelec family, was deeply saddened today, to learn of the passing of former Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes Jr. He would have turned 81 years old on August 14. At this time of bereavement, the entire Comelec conveys the most heartfelt condolences to the family of Chairman Brillantes,” it said.

Brillantes, one of the country’s known election lawyers, was appointed as Comelec chairman by former president Benigno Aquino III in January 2011 and retired from the poll body on Feb. 2, 2015.

“A staunch defender of the integrity of the Comelec, Chairman Brillantes zealously went after those who sought to undermine public confidence in the electoral system, sanctioning actions that would bring violators of election laws to justice. Within the Comelec, Chairman Brillantes kept a strict eye out for malfeasance and — with neither fear nor favor — ‘cleaned house’,” it added.

Another election lawyer and Brillantes’ friend, Romulo Macalintal described the former, who was simply “Boy” to his close friends, as a dedicated law practitioner.

“Boy was a very dedicated law practitioner. He would be typing his pleadings direct to the typewriter, in the 80s and later to his laptop computer. He was always prepared to argue his client’s cause as shown by the outline of his arguments in his own handwriting,” he said.

Macalintal said while he and Brillantes were against each other in defending their clients before the poll body, they would meet in their favorite coffee shop after hearings and enjoy each other’s company where they were joined by another lawyer, Pete Quadra.

“I cannot imagine that I already lost my close and wonderful friend. But then I pray that he is now rested in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. (PNA)

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