It’s ‘Kissing Lolo’ vs KNP’s Demetriou
- Delon Porcalla () - June 3, 2004 - 12:00am
As the battle between the administration and the opposition in the ongoing congressional canvass heats up, two former Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials are also pitted against each other in the looming legal tussle between the two camps.

Retired Commissioner Manolo Gorospe, who earned the moniker "Kissing Lolo" for an infamous kissing scandal in the mid-90s, will be representing President Arroyo while former Comelec chairwoman Harriet Demetriou, who convicted then Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez and six of his henchmen for the 1991 rape-slaying of UP-Los Baños coed Eileen Sarmenta and her friend Alan Gomez, will be joining the legal team of Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard bearer Fernando Poe Jr.

Gorospe is joining the team of veteran election lawyer Romulo Makalintal, whose "counterpart" in the Poe camp is said to be Sixto Brillantes.

Poe’s lawyers, apart from Demetriou and Brillantes, include former immigration commissioner Rufus Rodriguez, a former law dean at San Sebastian College in Manila.

"I’m not threatened. Wala namang magaling diyan (No one’s good there). We’re all lawyers. It doesn’t mean that she’s better," Gorospe told The STAR.

Gorospe said that he was with the Comelec for seven years, ending in 2000, while Demetriou, a former Pasig City judge, had only a short stint with the poll body, ending in 2001.

"She only occupied the unexpired term of Justice (Bernardo) Pardo. She’s been there for two years," he added.

Demetriou, who was chief presidential legal counsel of deposed President Joseph Estrada, took over the Comelec after Pardo was appointed to the Supreme Court.

Asked about his relationship with Court of Appeals Justice Remedios Salazar-Fernando, with whom he figured in the alleged "kissing incident" in 1995, he replied: "That was never true. We’re in good terms. That has never been an issue during our time (in Comelec)."

Gorospe nevertheless downplayed KNP’s allegations of massive fraud, especially in Western, Central and Northern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where he had served as Comelec officer.

"They are just speculating," Gorospe stressed, explaining that the certificates of canvass the opposition identified as questionable did not actually have corrections or alterations, as shown during the congressional canvassing.

He said he is just wondering why outgoing Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen has been acting strangely now when he was a quiet person when they first met during his Comelec stint in Mindanao.

"He never talked before. He was not aggressive as he is today. But I don’t know what prompted him to do the parliamentary maneuverings," Gorospe said, noting that no other opposition member acted like Dilangalen.

ALAN GOMEZ BUT I CENTRAL AND NORTHERN MINDANAO AND THE AUTONOMOUS REGION COMELEC COURT OF APPEALS JUSTICE REMEDIOS SALAZAR-FERNANDO DEMETRIOU DEMETRIOU AND BRILLANTES DIDAGEN DILANGALEN EILEEN SARMENTA GOROSPE
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