Padaca 'won't compromise' independence despite Aquino connection-A A +A
Monday, October 8, 2012
MANILA -- Under fire for accepting the offer of President Benigno Aquino III to post her bail in a graft case, former Isabela governor Grace Padaca allayed fears that she will obey the interests of Malacañang once she sits as member of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Padaca, a ranking member of the ruling Liberal Party, said in a tabloid newspaper column on Sunday that the President had already planned to bail her out since June as she thanked him for staying true to his word.
The incoming poll body commissioner clinched temporary liberty last Thursday after Aquino used his own money to post her P70,000 bail.
Padaca is facing charges of graft and malversation of public funds for allegedly granting a P25-million hybrid rice project to a non-government organization in 2006.
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for her arrest in May, but it was not served, fuelling speculation from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) that the government was not fair in treating allies facing criminal cases.
"Sa mga taong nagsasabing ako ay magiging isang 'tuta' dahil sa utang na loob, huwag po kayong mag-alala. 'Di hamak na mas malaki pa sa P70,000 ang mga perang hindi nakaapekto sa akin. Isa pa, alam ko na hindi kami mag-usap ng Pangulo ay nagkakaintindihan kami na kaya namin ginagawa ang mga bagay na kakaiba ay parehong ganoon kalaki ang pagnanais naming labanan ang masama at hindi tama," she said.
UNA also slammed Padaca for risking political neutrality when she posted her bail accompanied by LP president on leave and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. The Comelec is an independent constitutional body.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who is seeking re-election next year under the administration banner, would like to reserve his comments until the next hearing of the Commission on Appointments (CA), a congressional body mandated to confirm presidential appointees.
But then again, Cayetano said Aquino's action may be seen as a show of support to an individual whose integrity is beyond question.
"Again, by appointing someone who has a case, it's not saying that she's innocent until proven guilty, it's saying we believe in her," he said in a chance interview.
Malacañang has since asked the public to give Padaca a chance to prove her competence and impartiality.
She took her oath before Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)