New Comelec commissioner Garcia says to inhibit from cases involving ex-clients

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2022 04:40 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2022 10:18 PM

Election lawyer George Garcia takes oath Comelec
Election lawyer George Garcia takes oath as Comelec commissioner, March 8, 2022. Domingo Licuanan Jr./Comelec

MANILA (UPDATED) — Veteran election lawyer George Garcia on Tuesday sought to dispel concerns on conflict of interest following his appointment to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), where some of his former clients have pending cases. 

"Para sa akin naman that’s part of lawyering... But I will be inhibiting from all the cases that I handled," Garcia told reporters. 

"And number 2, 'pag may mga kaso rin na palagay ko kahit di ko hina-handle ngayon, pero dahil naging clients ko before o nagkaroon ako ng relationship before in my professional capacity, I’m going to take no part," he continued. 

(For me, that's part of lawyering. But I will be inhibiting from all the cases that I handled. And number 2, if there are cases that I'll handle now, but they involve former clients or I had a relationship before in my professional capacity, I'm going to take no part.) 

Earlier in the day, Malacañang confirmed the appointments of Garcia and Aimee Neri as Comelec commissioners, and Saidamen Pangarungan as Comelec chairman. 

Garcia represented former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr's in his poll protest against 2016 rival Vice President Leni Robredo. 

Garcia disclosed he was also a lawyer at some point for presidential contenders Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 

"Pinakaimportante lang is to implement election law as honestly as possible and at the same time doon lang ako kung ano ang tama, doon lang ako lagi pupuwesto," he said. 

(What is most important is to implement election law as honestly as possible and at the same time, I will side with what is right, that is where I will always stand.)

Garcia said he would discharge his functions with strict adherence to ethical standards. 

"Pinatunayan ko naman lagi sa inyo before, I will always exercise prudence, due diligence and definitely the highest standard, the highest ethical standard kasi para sa akin mas malaki naman po yung sakripisyo ko dito ngayon... Para na lang sa bayan talaga," he said. 

(I have proven to you before that I will always exercise prudence, due diligence and definitely the highest standard, the highest ethical standard because for me, I will be making a bigger sacrifice now. It's really just for the country.) 

Meanwhile, Marcos' camp congratulated Garcia for his appointment to the Comelec.

“Congratulations to Attorney George Garcia on his appointment as Commissioner of the Commission on Election," said Marcos spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez after a campaign rally in Santa Maria, Bulacan. 

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