Case against Padaca no impediment, says election lawyerBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The graft case against former Isabela governor Grace Padaca is not an impediment to her appointment to the Commission on Elections, according to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
“It’s not an impediment to her appointment since she has not yet been convicted by final judgment,” Macalintal said.
Padaca, 49, is facing arrest over graft charges which she said were politically motivated. She had refused to post bail to protest the way the case was filed against her. But with her new appointment, Padaca said she may now need to post bail.
Padaca is accused of awarding to a nongovernmental organization in 2006, while still Isabela governor, a contract to manage a P25-million credit facility for rice farmers, without public bidding. She has argued that bidding was not required, that the contract was approved by the provincial board, and the government was not adversely affected by the deal.
President Benigno Aquino III appointed Padaca to replace information technology expert Augusto Lagman who failed to get confirmation from the congressional Commission on Appointments.
“If candidates who were already convicted and in prison could still run pending resolution of their appeal, with more reason to the case of Padaca, the trial of which has not yet even started,” he added.
Macalintal also explained that Padaca’s candidacy in the May 2010 gubernatorial race did not bar her from sitting as a member on the Commission on Elections.
The Constitution states that the chair and six commissioners of the poll body must not have been candidates for any elective position in the “immediately preceding elections,” among other requirements.
“The constitutional prohibition on prior candidacy in the last election does not apply to her because the last election was the October 2010 barangay elections where she was not a candidate,” Macalintal said.
Malacañang earlier expressed confidence that Padaca could perform the job “competently and without fear or favor” even if she’s fighting a graft case before the Sandiganbayan antigraft court.