UNA sees LP setting stage for poll fraud
The opposition United Nationalist Alliance on Friday said it saw a sinister plot behind the appointment of Senator Franklin Drilon’s crony to the Commission on Elections, saying the ruling Liberal Party was setting the stage for electoral fraud that would ensure a 12-0 sweep for Team Pnoy and deprive UNA of victory in the midterm polls.
President Benigno Aquino III announced the appointment of Lanto, a former Justice undersecretary, and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo in Davao on Thursday.
But UNA secretary general and campaign manager Toby Tiangco said Drilon had no delicadeza [sense of propriety] as he had intensely lobbied Malacañang to have Macabangkit Lanto replace one of two retiring Comelec commissioners.
But UNA questioned the appointment and asked how a former congressman unseated for poll fraud would be allowed to sit in the Comelec.
“He [Lanto] has no other qualification except being a crony of Senator Drilon. Being a congressman who was removed from office because of fraud is not something that gets you into the Comelec,” Tiangco said.
Lanto was removed from office in 1994 by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
The HRET said Lanto’s mandate came from fraud and that he was the beneficiary of that fraud.
“Lanto was proclaimed as the elected congressman for the 2nd district of Lanao del Norte on the basis of two falsified municipal certificates of canvass, which in turn were derived from tampered election returns,” the tribunal said in a decision dated July 22, 1994.
Lanto on Friday denied he benefited from poll fraud and said he was in fact a victim of anomalies at the HRET.
“I am surprised this came out,” Lanto said in a radio interview.
“I think my detractors prepared a smear campaign against me when they learned of my appointment. I was a victim of cheating. I was the one who was cheated.”
Lanto also denied being a legal consultant of Team PNoy campaign manager Drilon. With Joyce Pangco Pañares and Maricel V. Cruz
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