Sardillo rejects appointment as Comelec commissioner-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
(UPDATE) Amid concerns on the appointment of a former ambassador to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo declined her appointment as commissioner of the poll body, Malacanang said Saturday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in an interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, said that the Office of the President received a letter from Sardillo dated March 7, 2013 rejecting her appointment.
"I am deeply grateful for having been considered as Commissioner in the Commission on Elections. However, it is also with deep regret that I am withdrawing my application to the Commission," Sardillo said in her letter to President Benigno Aquino III.
"This decision was reached after consultation with my family who has prevailed upon me to remain in the private sector. Nevertheless, please be assured of my continued support of your administration," she added.
Valte said that when the letter was shown to the President on March 8, he accepted Sardillo's withdrawal of the application.
She said she was informed that a family member of Sardillo has health concerns and "I think that was the reason why the family asked her to remain in the private sector."
Valte could not say yet as to who could replace Sardillo.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said on his Twitter account (@ChairBrillantes) that he is deeply disappointed and saddened by the development, adding that Sardillo "would have been a great addition to the Comelec."
As this developed, the Comelec-Employees Union has reiterated its call for the President to name an insider to the vacant post.
"Our nominees are persons of integrity and competence," the group said of its nominees Comelec Bicol Region Regional Director Alexander Pilotin and Comelec Planning Department Director Ferdinand Rafanan.
Aquino on Thursday appointed Sardillo and former ambassador Macabangkit Lanto as new commissioners of the poll body, replacing Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco who retired last month.
But some groups have been questioning Lanto's appointment on allegations that he was involved in the election fraud in 1992 when he ran for a congressional post in Lanao del Norte. The House Electoral Tribunal found in 1994 that Lanto's opponent was the rightful winner during that particular election.
A reelectionist senator, meanwhile, said Saturday that he was "concerned" over the appointment of Lanto to the Comelec despite poll fraud allegations 20 years ago.
"Yes, it's a concern and we should let Commissioner Lanto explain the circumstances of his case," reelectionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said in a text message.
Pimentel, chairman of the Senate committee electoral reforms and people's participation, added that "the worry will always be there" because of "some of the old personal of the Comelec."
Pimentel, who earlier claimed he was a victim of poll fraud in the 2007 midterm elections, secured the 12th spot after he won the protest he filed against the proclamation of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri by the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Zubiri resigned in 2011 after certain personalities reemerged and admitted that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a hand in the poll fraud in Mindanao. He is now a candidate for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) ticket.
Pimentel said that while Lanto's appointment should be looked into, the focus should also be on those running for public office.
"We should focus on those running for senator. Isn't it that there's one candidate who was removed from office over election fraud?" Pimentel said referring to Zubiri.
Also, Pimentel noted that there continues to be a "lack of transparency" in the poll body.
The senator earlier challenged the Comelec and Smartmatic to immediately make available the source code to be used in the May polls to political parties and other concerned sectors.
"This is a very serious matter as it would determine the credibility of this election. That is why the law provides that political parties should be able to examine the source code. So I challenge the Comelec and Smartmatic: Show us the source code," Pimentel said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said that while he is still negotiating with Dominion, "he is not very optimistic" that he would be able to secure the source code. (FP/SDR/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)