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Ex-Corona prosecutor is Comelec lead counsel vs Poe

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, January 15, named Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim as its lead counsel in the cases filed against it by Senator Grace Poe before the Supreme Court (SC).

Lim served as a private prosecutor in the impeachment trial of dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

In a resolution promulgated Friday, the Comelec decided “to confirm and ratify the authority of Commissioners Arthur D. Lim and Ma. Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon to act as representatives of the Commission on Elections in G.R. No. 221697 and G.R. No. 221698-700 pending before the Supreme Court with Commissioner Arthur D. Lim designated as lead counsel.”

The Comelec had to appoint a lead counsel after the Solicitor General refused to defend the poll body before the SC.

The Solicitor General, instead, is defending the Senate Electoral Tribunal in its ruling that favors Poe. 

The SC scheduled oral arguments on Poe’s case against Comelec on Tuesday, January 19. The oral arguments on the SET case will be set for another date.

Poe, a leading presidential aspirant, is asking the SC to junk the Comelec's decision to cancel her certificate of candidacy for president. 

Scolded by Miriam

Lim was one of the prosecutors scolded by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago during Corona’s impeachment trial in 2012. Santiago threatened Lim with contempt.

The feisty senator berated him because he insisted on including Corona's alleged violation of an anti-corruption law in the articles of impeachment. Santiago also said Lim should stop “screaming” during the impeachment proceedings.

A veteran lawyer, Lim once served as counsel for Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, as well as controversial shipping company Sulpicio Lines Incorporated. (READ: Who is Arthur Lim?)

Lim, a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, belongs to the Sigma Rho Fraternity, whose members include SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. 

In its resolution on Friday, aside from assigning Lim as lead counsel, the Comelec also resolved “to ratify and validate” the comment submitted by Guanzon to the SC on January 7. The Comelec announced this decision on Tuesday, January 12.

Guanzon’s comment triggered a recent controversial exchange in the Comelec. 

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista questioned Guanzon for filing an “unauthorized” comment, while Guanzon retaliated by accusing the Comelec chairman of bias for Poe.

Bautista and Guanzon mended their ties on Tuesday.

Bautista signed Friday’s resolution “subject to continuing discussions regarding the procedure in the filing of pleadings in the Supreme Court and the creation of an ethics committee.” – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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

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