Press Release
March 14, 2022

Newly-appointed Comelec Commissioner Aimee Torrefranca-Neri urged to resign
Drilon warns the commissioner that it won't be smooth sailing for her in the CA given the seriousness of the allegation against her

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M Drilon, a veteran senator and a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), urged newly-appointed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Aimee Torrefranca-Neri to resign in order to save herself, the President and the poll body from embarrassment and unnecessary distraction that could affect the integrity of the 2022 presidential elections.

"The allegations against Commissioner Neri could affect the integrity of the Comelec. Her appointment has created a distraction that can jeopardize the Comelec's constitutional duty to conduct a fair, credible and honest 2022 election," Drilon said in a statement Monday.

Drilon issued the statement as he expressed serious concerns and strong disappointment over certain political appointments made throughout the Duterte administration.

"It has always been my desire and fervent wish that all appointees to government posts should be fit and qualified. Unfortunately, what we have witnessed in the last six years are appointees with questionable competency, professionalism and integrity to serve the government and the country," Drilon said.

"I am telling Atty. Neri that whoever your MBA or May Backer Ako is, he cannot influence the CA to set aside these allegations and confirm your appointment. The Commission on Appointment takes this matter seriously," said Drilon, who chaired four times the constitutional body that confirms or rejects certain political appointments made by the President.

"Ang job vacancy sa Comelec ay commissioner. Klaruhin po natin na hindi po iyon tagakolekta ng komisyon," he added.

Drilon's friendly advice to the new commissioner: "run for your life." This as he warned that it will not be smooth sailing for Torrefranca-Neri given the seriousness of the allegations against her.

"In my 24 years of experience, the CA can be merciless sometimes and rightly so because we will be remiss in our constitutional duties if we do not vet the credentials of the appointees," Drilon said.

Drilon said he is certain that the CA will ask lawyer Ferdinand Topacio to substantiate his allegations that his client Herbert Colangco gave then Justice Assistant Secretary Neri P10 million to "fix" the controversial convict's robbery case before the Supreme Court.

Topacio claimed that when Colanggo was convicted in 2018, Neri allegedly returned only P7 million and the former DOJ assistant secretary kept the P3 million.

Drilon said he is also baffled why Torrefranca-Nerri kept jumping from one agency to another.

"Is that normal? Did Commissioner Torrefranca-Neri undergo a tour of duty" during the Duterte administration?" Drilon said, saying it speaks of the level of commitment and professionalism of Torrrefranca-Neri.

Torrefranca-Neri worked as assistant secretary of the Department of Justice in 2016, deputy commission of the Bureau of Immigration in 2017, and undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2018, and this year as a Comelec commissioner.

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