MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is “back to zero” after former ambassador and Lanao del Norte Representative Macabangkit Lanto declined his appointment as commissioner.
“He (Lanto) could definitely help Comelec so it’s unfortunate [he declined],” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, said in a radio interview Monday, following Lanto’s letter to President Benigno Aquino III dated March 9 declining the appointment.
Lanto cited a past electoral fraud case where he lost his seat as the reason behind his decision to decline.
“With deep regret, I respectfully decline my appointment as a member of the Comelec,” Lanto said in his letter. “After a thorough consultation with my family, I have arrived at this decision, owing in large part to the controversy that surrounded my appointment.”
Election lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo had also declined Aquino’s appointment, citing her family’s preference that she remains in the private sector.
“We are back to zero, the result is that no one has been appointed because both declined,” Brillantes said.
He said he was hopeful that there will be an immediate replacement for both Lanto and Sardillo.
An election ban on appointments is set to take effect by March 29.