Did PNoy know about Lanto ouster?
MANILA - Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Friday said he is not aware if President Aquino and the Palace search committee were aware that former congressman Macabangkit Lanto was ousted from his position after it was proven in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal that he benefited from election fraud.
Asked if the President will reconsider Lanto’s appointment, Lacierda said, “That is not something I am in a position to answer. But we will ask the search committee if this particular information was known to them.”
Lacierda also cannot confirm if Senator Franklin Drilon had pushed for Lanto’s appointment but said that in general, Aquino "listens to advice" before making a decision.
"He’s a consensus builder," Lacierda said.
He also noted: "Our Social Contract with the Filipino people includes the restoration of the credibility of the electoral process as one of its main tasks. Be assured that any concerns about Comelec appointments will be resolved in a timely manner."
In a unanimous decision handed down on July 22, 1994, the HRET ruled 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 also discovered that during the hearing of the electoral protest, the ballots were tampered to support the fraudulent election returns.
The Supreme Court justices and congressmen who made up the tribunal at that time declared, "fraud was the source of the mandate of protestee Lanto...Undoubtedly, protestee Lanto appeared the beneficiary of the fraud thus committed."
After sitting in Congress for two years, Lanto was removed and Mario Hisuler - the true winner by a mere 597 votes - was proclaimed.