Drilon 'unaware' of Lanto’s poll fraud case-A A +A
Monday, March 11, 2013
QUEZON -- Senator Franklin Drilon on Monday said he was unaware of the poll fraud case filed against former congressman Macabangkit Lanto back in 1992.
"I did recommend him in 2012, when the first vacancy occurred, but I didn't see his case at that time. I was told that there was a pending case on him before the HRET [House of Representative Electoral Tribunal], but I didn't know the details," Drilon said at the sidelines of the Team PNoy sortie here.
It was reported earlier that Lanto was a former staff of Drilon in a Senate panel.
Lanto and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo were both appointed by President Benigno Aquino III last week as new commissioners of Comelec. However, less than a week after their appointments, both lawyers turned down the President's offer citing different reasons.
Sardillo said in her letter to Aquino that her family wants her to stay in the private practice while Lanto decided to withdraw his application citing controversy fanned by his appointment to the Comelec.
Lanto, a former ambassador, allegedly benefited from the election fraud when he ran for a congressional post in Lanao del Norte in 1992. He was removed from the post in 1994 after the HRET declared his opponent, Mario Hisuler, as the rightful winner.
"It is unfortunate that this happened. I didn't know it was fraud. Anyway it is all moot and academic now," Drilon said.
Aside from the poll fraud issue, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said last Sunday that Lanto was also involved in an alleged coercion of Board of Election Inspectors members in Lanao del Sur in 2007. But Comelec records show, the former lawmaker was cleared of the charge on January 12, 2008.
Re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda, meanwhile, urged Aquino to find the replacement of Lanto and Sardillo immediately as the midterm polls is only two months away.
"I think we should be able to find soon those who are suitable for the position," Legarda said recommending that Aquinon appoint Comelec insiders.
"It would be an advantage as long as the insiders would have the respect and support of the commissioners," she added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)