MANILA – Lawyer for convicted drug lord Herbert Colanggo on Thursday questioned the credibility of new Electoral Commission (Comelec) commissioner Aimee Neri, who they claimed was a “fixer” during her time at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, attorney Ferdinand Topacio said Neri’s appointment could damage the polling organization’s credibility.
“Ibang usapan po ito e. It concerns the character, integrity and depravity of a person appointed to a constitutional body who should have the highest degree of credibility and public trust because he is charged with a very fundamental,” Topacio said.
Topacio said his client Colanggo paid Neri, then a DOJ official, 10 million pesos to “fix” his ongoing case, for which he was ultimately convicted.
Along with the sentencing, Topacio said Neri only returned 7 million pesos to the Colanggo camp, pocketing the remaining 3 million pesos.
Herajen Colanggo, Herbert’s daughter, tried to collect the remaining 3 million from Neri last year, but Neri had her arrested for “extortion”.
Topacio said the money owed by Neri to the Colanggos was not their priority.
“Let me be clear. It is not the question of whether the money was returned or not, it is a minor issue in this case. The issue in this case is the act of a public official who claims to be able to fix cases in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Topacio explained that he will speak with his client if he opposes Neri’s confirmation before the Nominations Committee.
Neri maintained his innocence and would respond to Topacio’s accusations in the appropriate forum, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
“Comm. Neri of course assures the public that all of these accusations are unfounded and ultimately will be proven false,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said Neri would face his critics if they blocked his nomination to the polls.
“I raised the matter with Comm. Neri herself and she assured me that she was prepared to deal with these charges in the appropriate forum, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for that to happen eventually. .”
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