Lanto a victim of poll protest process, say Maranao colleagues | Inquirer News
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Lanto a victim of poll protest process, say Maranao colleagues

/ 01:23 PM March 11, 2013

Former ambassador and Lanao del Norte Representative Macabangkit Lanto. FILE PHOTO

OZAMIZ CITY — Maranao colleagues of lawyer Macabangkit Lanto have rushed to his defense against allegations he is not fit for the role of Elections Commissioner because of, among others, a tarnished credibility.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has cited that Lanto was stripped by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) of the Lanao del Norte congressional seat that he won in 1992 for poll fraud.

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Lawyer Bayan Balt, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) chapter in Marawi City, however, said that in such case, it was Lanto who fell victim to machinations in the electoral protest process. This was the same explanation Lanto gave reporters.

Lanto claimed that the reversal of his 1992 victory was the work of “corrupt HRET Technical Working Group personnel who connived with members of a powerful clan in Lanao del Norte.”

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In the 1992 polls, Lanto was up against the candidate supported by incumbent Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo who shunned reelection but instead gunned for Lanao del Norte governor.

“Like Sen. Koko Pimentel who was also a victim of election fraud, Lanto is in a better position to implement honest, orderly and peaceful elections while an Elections Commissioner,” Balt said in a statement emailed to the Inquirer.

“He (Lanto) is a lawyer in good standing who also served as IBP governor. President Aquino’s appointment of him is a well-deserved recognition to a person with a distinguished record,” Balt further said.

Balt added that Lanto’s “vast experience in government and the private sector will serve him well in his new job.”

Lanto finished his law degree from the University of the Philippines. He held senior posts in the Departments of Justice and Tourism; had a stint in the foreign service as Ambassador; and was a member of the Mindanao State University (MSU) Board of Regents.

“We highly support President Aquino’s appointment of Atty. Lanto as Elections Commissioner. We deplore some partisan groups and detractors who are engaged in a deadly demolition job to question his sterling qualifications, moral character and integrity,” said lawyer Dimapuno Daturamos, chair of the Regional Reunification Commission of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Daturamos added that “the attacks against Lanto are unfair.”

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“He is a good addition to the Commission on Elections,” said Basary Mapupuno, former Dean of the MSU College of Law.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Lanto himself asked that he be given the chance to prove his worth.

“The appointment (of Lanto) is a great opportunity and a recognition for us Muslims to participate in the formulation and policy directions of COMELEC in the pursuit of electoral reforms,” said Dayang Jumaide-Sangkula, Speaker Pro-Tempore of the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly.

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TAGS: integrated bar of the philippines in Marawi, Macabangkit Lanto, News, Regions
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