No special elections to fill up Aquino's Senate seat

May 15, 2010 11:02 pm 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, May 15 – The Commission on Election (Comelec) is unlikely to hold a special election for the position that will be vacated by Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino once he assumes his psot as the Philippines' 15th President.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Spokesman James Jimenez said the law only provides that 12 senators can be elected in every elections.

"Kung 12 lang, 12 lang (If only 12, only 12)," he said.

The Liberal Party’s standard-bearer is on top of the ranking in the presidential race with 13,836,533 votes based on the partial and unofficial tally of the Comelec.

Aquino’s term as a lawmaker is until 2013, as he won the midterm polls in 2007. Each senator has a 6-year term.

Unlike in the 2001 elections, where 13 senators were proclaimed by the poll body with the last position considered as the replacement for then Senator Teofisto Guingona Jr., who was appointed by President Arroyo to be her Vice President.

On the other hand, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said that the case of Guingona was totally different with Aquino's as the vacancy in 2001 rose prior to Election Day while the latter case only came about after the Liberal Party standard bearer won the presidency.

He said that the election of a 13th senator was then legalized by a Comelec resolution, which states that the 13th senator-elect shall serve Guingona's unexpired term of three years.

"Before there was a vacancy at the time of the elections, in the last election when we elected, there was no vacancy for that position… walang resolution dito(there was no resolution) to that effect. And the resolution of the Comelec was only to elect 1 to 12 senators," the election lawyer said.

He said that the Comelec could not fill up Aquino's slot since it cannot declare a special polls.

"In case of vacancy in Senate, there should be a special elections but the special elections should be held simultaneously with a regular elections… Wala ng (there was no) upcoming regular elections where a replacement senator could be elected," Macalintal said.

Other lawmakers, whose term will also expire in 2013, are Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manny Villar, Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Pangilinan, Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Joker Arroyo, and Edgardo Angara. (PNA)

RMA/FGP/utb

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