Comelec exec’s worst fear is true, says Palace
Malacañang confirmed on Wednesday that President Benigno Aquino III would not be reappointing election commissioner Augusto “Gus” Lagman as the information technology expert of the poll body.
Secretary Ricky Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said President Aquino already “has some names under consideration” as Lagman’s replacement. He said he was not privy to the names on the short list but added that “given the importance of the position, (the Palace) will be able to nominate someone in a short time.”
Carandang said Lagman was removed because the administration had received word from a leader of Congress that Lagman would be rejected if he goes through the congressional confirmation process.
“I was talking to Congressman Neptali Gonzales…. They were fairly confident in saying that Gus Lagman will be rejected by the Commission on Appointments if we insisted on appointing him,” Carandang said in Wednesday’s news briefing in Malacañang.
“And so in consultations with Commissioner Lagman, we decided that instead of having him go through that whole, sometimes painful process only to be rejected, we felt it’s better to just…mutually agree we would just not reappoint him,” he added.
Carandang indicated Lagman was not acceptable to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who chairs the Commission on Appointments.
But Carandang denied that the decision to remove Lagman had anything to do with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, where Enrile sits as the presiding judge.
“This has nothing to do with impeachment. What it had to do was a case where Gus Lagman used to be involved in the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections, where they had a difference of opinion with Senator Enrile,” Carandang said. Norman Bordadora