MANILA, Philippines - Two groups on Thursday opposed the possible appointment of election lawyer Romulo Macalintal as the next chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) said Macalintal's position as a religious conservative is "dangerous" for the position of Comelec chairman.
"Atty. Macalintal may be a good election lawyer but his being a religious conservative and his intolerance to views opposing his are dangerous. We need more progressive or at the very least open-minded people in Comelec," DSWP national chairman Elizabeth Angsioco said in a statement.
She recalled an incident outside the Manila Cathedral in November 20 last year, where Macalintal and members of Prolife Philippines confronted supporters of the reproductive health bill pending in Congress. She said the lawyer's "intolerance, even arrogance" was caught on video.
She said that this early, Macalintal's bias may surface when party-list groups identified with reproductive health advocates apply for the next elections.
"The Aquino administration should be forewarned that such an attitude will likely surface if he gets appointed as Comelec chair," she added.
Poll watchdog Kontra Daya, meanwhile, said Macalintal's appointment to the position would oppose the Aquino administration's quest to investigate the alleged election fraud in 2004.
Kontra Daya's Fr. Joe Dizon said Macalintal's possible appointment does not speak well of the President and his vow to go after the corrupt and achieve closure on issues such as the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal.
Dizon said as former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's election lawyer, Macalintal consistently denied the existence of election fraud during the 2004 presidential elections.
“With Macalintal at the helm of Comelec, would you expect the poll body to cooperate in investigations on election fraud?” Dizon said.
Dizon also said that rumors that Macalintal's nomination is being pushed by the Liberal Party "raises concerns."