UNA slams LP for plotting Comelec ‘takeover’

Paterno R. Esmaquel II
UNA slams LP for plotting Comelec ‘takeover’
'I don't respond to these things,' Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II says after UNA accuses Roxas of 'dipping his hands in Comelec'

MANILA, Philippines – The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) slammed the ruling Liberal Party (LP) on Friday, April 10, for allegedly plotting a “takeover” of the poll body to ensure Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II’s victory in the 2016 elections. 

UNA interim president Toby Tiangco said former Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, one of the President’s rumored appointees as Comelec commissioner, “receives orders directly from Roxas.”

Roxas, however, brushed off this accusation. “I don’t respond to these things,” he told reporters in Dagupan City.

Despite Roxas’ denial, Tiangco insisted that Guanzon’s possible appointment shows Roxas “dipping his hands in Comelec.”

Tiangco pointed out that Roxas, a prospective presidential bet of the LP, endorsed Guanzon to the COA and the Supreme Court (SC). 

He added that Guanzon, as COA commissioner, was involved in a plan “to pin down Vice President Jejomar Binay using resurrected issues during his term of Makati City mayor.”

Binay, who is accused of pocketing millions of pesos as Makati mayor, is running for president under UNA in 2016. (READ: Roxas as Binay’s VP? ‘I won’t ally with the corrupt’)

Aquino’s Comelec short list  

May malalim na dahilan kung bakit si Guanzon ang gustong ilagay sa Comelec. Ang malinaw na agenda ay ilaglag ang Bise Presidente sa 2016. Malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw na kasama sa inner circle ng LP si Guanzon,” Tiangco said.

(There’s a deeper reason why he wants to place Guanzon in the Comelec. The clear agenda is to attack the Vice President in 2016. It’s clearer than sunrise that Guanzon is part of the inner circle of LP.)

The Comelec lacks a chairman and two commissioners as the Philippines is nearly a year away from the 2016 elections, when Filipinos will elect President Benigno Aquino III’s successor.

Former Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr and former commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph retired on February 2.

Rappler sources said Aquino’s short list includes Guanzon, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman Winston Ginez, and former SC Associate Justice Adolfo Azcuna.  

Without Aquino’s 3 new appointees, the Comelec is functioning with only 4 commissioners, including Acting Chairman Christian Lim. Its members hope Aquino will soon appoint a chairman and two commissioners to help prepare for the 2016 elections. – with reports from Bea Cupin and Natashya Gutierrez/Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com