MANILA, Philippines --- Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca yesterday denied lobbying against the appointment of Atty. Bernadette Sardillo as commissioner.
In an interview, Padaca said denied going to Malacañang to dissuade President Aquino from appointing Sardillo or talking to anyone about the election lawyer’s appointment.
“I did not go anywhere,” she said.
There were earlier reports of Padaca and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima going to Malacañang to lobby against Sardillo’s appointment.
Sardillo once served as counsel for former Isabela governor Benjamin Dy who sought to unseat Padaca as governor in 2009.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said he knows nothing about the alleged trip of Padaca and De Lima to Malacañang.
“When the appointment was announced, we were here in the en banc meeting and I did not see any reaction from Commissioner Padaca as far as I can see. We even joked around that they might work together in the Second Division,” he said.
Last Thursday Malacañang announced the appointment of Sardillo and former congressman Macabangkit Lanto as the two new commissioners of the Comelec. Two days later, Sardillo announced that she was declining the post after consultation with her family.
Soon after, Lanto also declined the post after his appointment sparked a controversy over his being ousted as congressman by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal over election fraud in 1994.
Meanwhile, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it is up to President Aquino to pick new appointees from the original pool of nominees presented to him by a search committee or to wait for a new list.
“Previously, there were nominees. I don’t want to preempt the President by saying that he will pick from same pool or whether he will look outside the pool that was previously considered,” Valte said.
Comelec commissioner Sixto Brillantes has been urging the President to pick an expert in information technology (IT) or an insider to be the new Comelec commissioners.
“I understand that the (Comelec) chairman has expressed the preference. It will be up to the President if the request will be taken into consideration,” Valte said. (With a report from Madel Sabater-Namit)