Senator Alan Cayetano: Sarmiento can’t be Chief JusticeBy Norman Bordadora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is opposing the nomination of Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento to the post of Chief Justice, citing the latter’s alleged role in attempts to sabotage his chances of winning in the 2007 senatorial elections.
“If he wasn’t involved, he also didn’t do anything to stop it,” Cayetano said in a telephone interview. “While Commissioner Sarmiento styles himself as an election reformist, his actions and inactions show otherwise,” he said.
In a letter to the Judicial and Bar Council, Cayetano said that Sarmiento and other members of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) took too much time to decide on his petition to disqualify Joselito Pepito Cayetano for being a nuisance senatorial candidate.
Cayetano said his namesake was coaxed to run to confuse the electorate and sabotage his chances of winning in the senatorial election.
“They disqualified Joselito Pepito three days before the election…. Then on election day they declared that since the decision was still not yet final and executory, any vote for ’Cayetano’ would not be counted in my favor, but would be considered to be stray instead,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said the decision still accomplished what the handlers of Joselito Pepito Cayetano sought to do—which was to sow confusion among the electorate.
“Many voters thought that Joselito Pepito had been disqualified so they just wrote ’Cayetano’ on the ballots to vote for me. Millions of those votes were considered stray by order of the Comelec, resulting in the substantial reduction of my total votes,” Cayetano said.
He also pointed out that Sarmiento failed to stop the fraud in Mindanao despite his being the commissioner in charge of the area.
“Commissioner Sarmiento was one of those who took charge of the election in Mindanao in 2007. The election was characterized by massive cheating which resulted in the orchestrated defeat of then senatorial candidate Koko Pimentel,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said Sarmiento’s actuations as commissioner in charge of Mindanao in 2007 were not consistent with the standards members of the judiciary should have, which are “proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”
“Contrary to his sworn duty and professed advocacy, Commissioner Sarmiento allowed, if not abetted, the perpetration of fraud against me during the 2007 senatorial elections,” Cayetano said in his letter.
“Witnesses would later come out claiming that Commissioner Sarmiento was involved in the grand conspiracy to rig the 2007 senatorial election to try to defeat then candidates Noynoy Aquino, Ping Lacson and myself,” Cayetano said in his letter.
Cayetano also noted that Sarmiento had not moved for an investigation of election officials identified with former Election Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.