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New list out for 2 Comelec vacancies

President Benigno Aquino III said on Thursday that the Palace search committee had already come up with a shortlist for the two vacancies in the Commission on Elections. He also vowed to implement a more stringent vetting process to avoid a repeat of the withdrawal of nominations of former lawmaker Macabangkit Lanto and election lawyer Bernadette Sardillo. “There is a new list that is being formulated, and we are vetting even more so than the other times that we vetted candidates,” the President said. “We’re exercising even more due diligence,” he added. But the president said the list has yet to be presented to him. Aquino has until March 29 to name the new commissioners to beat an election-related appointment ban. The President admitted that Lanto forgot to tell him that he was unseated as Lanao del Norte representative 20 years ago. “Somehow, he forgot to tell me about it. But after the fact, when we looked into it, the impression that we have now is that Mac Lanto was a victim of a syndicate (of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal),” he added. Aquino said that the HRET at that time revised the ballots to manipulate the results. When he announced the appointment, Aquino apparently was not aware that Lanto was ousted from his post as congressman in 1994 after the HRET found that Lanto had benefitted from electoral fraud. Lanto, however, reclaimed his post when he ran and won in the 1998 elections for the same district. “Yung revisors daw would put in marks while they were revising to make the ballots spoiled, among other things,” the president added. (The revisors would put in marks while they were revising to make ballots spoiled, among others). The United Nationalist Alliance earlier questioned Lanto’s appointment, who it said worked as a consultant on the Senate committee on finance chaired by Senator Franklin Drilon, a Liberal Party stalwart and campaign manager of Team Pinoy. UNA campaign manager,  Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco had accused Drilonn of “pulling a fast one”  in endorsing Lanto as Comelec commissioner, and that the LP would use Lanto to ensure a landslide victory for the LP senatorial bets in the May 13 polls,  and in the 2016 elections. Lanto is also a consultant of the Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment chaired by Senate president pro-tempore Jinggoy Estrada. The Comelec–Employees’ Union (EU) has pushed their own nominees for the post: Comelec–Planning Department head Ferdinand Rafanan and Santiago City, Isabela, election officer Alexander Pilotin, but it was not yet certain whether the two were included in the Palace shortlist.
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