Palace commends Lanto for declining post

Posted at 03/11/13 12:45 PM

MANILA - Malacanang commended former Lanao del Norte Rep. Macabangkit Lanto for putting delicadeza first in declining the Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner post.

In a statement, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said: “Mr. Lanto's decision to withdraw as commissioner of the Comelec is a demonstration of personal delicadeza and gives the President an opportunity to make a new appointment to the position.”

Only yesterday, Valte defended Lanto amid the growing controversy behind his appointment. She said the fears of another “Hello, Garci” scandal in the polls with Lanto as new commissioner is unfounded.

"The highest consideration for the country is to restore confidence in the electoral system,” Valte said today.

The “Hello, Garci” scandal involved former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who allegedly called up Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to ensure her win in the 2004 national elections.

Lanto was unseated in 1992 as representative of Lanao del Norte’s second district after the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal found alleged fraud in the election paraphernalia there. Lanto was not included in the list of persons to be investigated because there was no direct causal link found to his winning the elections, but HRET eventually referred the case to Comelec.

“With deep regret, I respectfully decline my appointment as a member of the Comelec…After a thorough consultation with my family, I have arrived at this decision, owing in large part to the controversy that surrounded my appointment,” Lanto told President Benigno Aquino III in declining the post.