Team PNoy to critics: Give new poll exec his day in court-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
TEAM PNoy on Friday urged critics to allow newly appointed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Macabangkit Lanto to answer issues hurled against him before the Commission on Appointments (CA), including his removal from Congress for alleged fraud in 1994.
"There's always a process where we can vet these critical appointments. The CA can hear out the qualifications of each one of them. Each candidate is given her day in court. We will let the process take care of that," Team PNoy spokesperson and Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo said in a press conference Friday.
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday announced the appointment of Lanto and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo as replacements for Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco who both retired as commissioners on February 2.
Lanto and Sardillo would have to face and secure the approval of the CA, which is composed of select members of the Senate and House of Representatives, before they become full-fledged commissioners of the seven-man commission that will manage the conduct of the midterm elections in May.
After sitting in the House for two years, Lanto was unseated as a member of Congress in 1994 by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) for election fraud. The HRET found out that his proclamation as elected congressman of the second district of Lanao del Norte was based on two falsified municipal certificates of canvass, tampered election returns, and tampered ballots.
Prior to his appointment at the Comelec, Lanto was working for Team PNoy campaign manager Senator Franklin Drilon. It was Drilon who endorsed Lanto as officer-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2011 but President Aquino appointed Mujiv Hataman.
Lanto, a lawyer, was also former undersecretary of the Department of Justice and former ambassador to Egypt.
"Unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the effect that his innocence is tainted, ang panawagan natin diyan 'wag natin haluan ng politika (let's not put politics into Lanto's his appointment). Let's evaluate on how he is and how is able to deliver his functions," Quimbo said.
Quimbo meanwhile stressed the importance of filling in the two vacancies left by the retired poll commissioners to ensure a credible conduct of the May polls.
"We continue to aim for an election that is honest, orderly, and peaceful and the appointment of the new commissioners will help achieve that because right now there are so many pending issues, there are many motions for re-considerations, many rules that are being questioned," he said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)