Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, paragon of probity, has put the confirmation of another Commission on Elections commissioner on hold for “conflict of interest.”
At the Commission on Appointments hearing earlier this week, Cayetano blocked the confirmation of Comelec commissioner Christian Lim because he “has many more questions.”
Chief among those questions, apparently:
During the day’s hearing, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano asked Lim on the status of the Comelec’s investigation into alleged poll fraud during the 2010 elections.
Which, is a good thing to ask since he was allegedly a victim of election fraud in 2007. Not a good thing to ask when your wife, who won by a lead of less than 2,500 is the subject of an election protest.
Tinga has said in his election protest that the narrow lead of Cayetano could be traced to alleged discrepancies in the election results “received, transmitted and canvassed” by the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) using the Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) laptops and the election results generated by the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines.
In a press release based on yesterday’s CA hearing, Cayetano said the Comelec commissioner “must explain ‘conflicts of interest’.”
This conflict of interest was Lim’s inhibition from a joint panel formed by Comelec and the Department of Justice to investigate alleged election fraud in 2004 because he used to work for Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo while she was running for president.
But Lim did not inhibit himself from deliberating on a resolution to remove Comelec director Ferdinand Rafanan from the joint panel and the commission’s law department.
“So technically, you did not really inhibit yourself from anything that has to do with the investigation of the 2004 elections?” Cayetano pointed out.
Well, yes. Technically. Looking beyond the technicality, though, Lim deliberated on a decision to remove a Comelec director from the panel and not on the merits of anything that would have connected his former boss to the alleged fraud. He was doing his job as a commissioner, basically. He did not (as far as we know) trash evidence related to the fraud or anything like that, he did not try to talk to witnesses to get them to recant their statements. He deliberated on an administrative matter.
But still, technically, Cayetano is right.
He goes on:
The minority leader also questioned Lim’s motives for removing Rafanan from the probe despite the former law department head’s reputation of being independent.
“Isn’t it true that one of the reasons why he was removed is because he also reported some wrongdoings of other commissioners?” he asked.
Now that may be true. But the question could be asked of you as well: “Isn’t it true that the reason you are blocking the appointments of Comelec officials [he tried, and failed, to block the confirmation of Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.] is because your wife is facing an election protest in Taguig City?”
That’s probably not true, for a given value of true, but who knows? Considering how every other press release from his office has been about the Comelec, it’s not difficult to come to that conclusion.
Listen, sir, you can’t play the conflict of interest card when you yourself have a conflict of interest here. Your wife is a party in an election protest and you have been hitting at Brillantes, who has inhibited himself from the case, for conflict of interest but have not had the courtesy to do the same. Sure, that may be for show, but at least he has the courtesy pretend to be fair.