MANILA - Two senators on Tuesday gave opposing views about President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of election lawyer George Garcia at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Garcia was former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s lawyer, when he questioned the 2016 election victory of Vice President Leni Robredo, which was eventually junked by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Prior to this, Garcia also served as the counsel of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel II on the "quo warranto petition" before the Senate Electoral Tribunal filed by a political opponent.
Garcia also defended Senator Grace Poe, when she faced a disqualification case during the 2016 presidential race.
In a text statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Robredo’s running mate, has expressed his “serious concern” regarding Garcia’s appointment.
Pangilinan said: “Yes it is a serious concern. His (Garcia) impartiality is unfortunately suspect.”
But for Pimentel, the “key” to the issue is on whether the “lawyer” can detach himself from those that he once served, to his being an objective “judge” who will soon handle cases.
Garcia “has no choice but to be professional about his new role,” Pimentel said.
“I believe he can do it. Actually he should do it. For the sake of his name his reputation as well as that of his family. He should make his family friends former clients law office partners and employees and town mates, proud of him. And judgement day will come after the term,” Pimentel said.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If there is a will there is a way. If he wants to be remembered well as one of the best election law practitioners then he should perform to the best of his ability and be true to his oath to decide objectively based on facts law and truth,” he added.
Newly appointed election officers will be judged by history on how they perform their duty, Pimentel said.
“We will be watching their every move and will be quick in reporting these to the Filipino people,” Pimentel assured the public.