Lanto declines Comelec appointment-A A +A
Monday, March 11, 2013
MANILA -- Former ambassador Macabangkit Lanto on Monday turned down his appointment as commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) due to the controversy that surrounded his appointment.
President Benigno Aquino III appointed Lanto and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo as new commissioners of the poll body, replacing two commissioners who retired last month.
Sardillo withdrew her appointment to the post on same day Aquino announced it in Davao City on Thursday.
Lanto said he decided to reject the post offered by the President after a prolonged consultation with his family.
"With deep regret, I respectfully decline my appointment as a member of the Comelec," said Lanto in his letter to Aquino sent Monday morning to Malacanang.
In his letter, he admitted that the difficulty he and his family had to bear over the past few days are simply too much.
"I have arrived at this decision, owing in large part to the controversy that surrounded my appointment," said Lanto.
Immediately after his appointment, Lanto has been accused of being a perpetrator and/or beneficiary of poll fraud operations owing to his unseating by the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal (HRET) as Lanao del Norte representative in 1994.
Last Sunday, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes disclosed that there is also an existing election offense case pending against Lanto over his alleged involvement in coercion of Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) members in Lanao del Sur back in 2007.
There is also the constant opposition of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) over his appointment citing him being a nominee of Team PNoy campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon.
Lanto, however, assured Aquino that he will remain supportive of electoral reforms despite not being in the poll body.
"Rest assured that my interest to pursue reforms in our electoral process, will, however, remain, in my personal capacity," Lanto said.
The commission en banc's membership is now back to five members after the two new appointees have declined the post. (HDT/Sunnex)