Comelec chief discovers 2007 poll case against Lanto-A A +A
Sunday, March 10, 2013
ASIDE from being unseated for election fraud when he was Lanao del Norte congressman in 1994, newly-appointed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Macabangkit Lanto also has a pending case in relation to the 2007 midterm polls.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said on Sunday that the case against Lanto is about his alleged coercion of Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in Lanao del Sur.
“The law department has already made its recommendation to the Comelec en banc,” he said.
But Brillantes assured Lanto that the case will not derail his assumption as commissioner.
“It’s (case) still under preliminary investigation,” he said.
An election offense carries a penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office.
A Comelec insider, on the other hand, said it would have been better if Malacañang conducted a background check on Lanto.
“They could have asked Comelec regarding a pending case to avoid such controversy,” the source said.
Last week, Lanto and poll lawyer Bernadette Sardillo were appointed by Malacañang as replacement to recent retirees, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco.
Criticisms were immediately hurled against Lanto over his supposed involvement in election fraud after he was unseated by the House Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) as Lanao del Norte congressman in 1992.
Lanto had already said that his unseating was not because of him being behind the fraud but rather a result of the “machinations of the corrupt HRET Technical Group personnel” conniving with his then political rivals.
He also said he is ready to submit himself to “severe public scrutiny” at the Commission on Appointments (CA) to dispel allegations that his appointment was pushed by Team PNoy campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon.
“I have been in government service for more than 30 years…and never was I ever involved in any case of fraud, corruption, or misconduct. I am proud of my public service record,” he said. (HDT/Sunnex)