Two lawyers asked the Supreme Court on Thursay to nullify a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution setting a special election in the 5th district of Negros Occidental on June 2 to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives created by the death of Representative Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo on January 26.
In a 22-page petition submitted to the Supreme Court, lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Antonio Carlos Bautista said the date of the special election was “illegal because it will be held beyond the period as provided for by law.”
Pending the resolution of their petition, Macalintal and Bautista asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the Comelec from disbursing funds for the holding of the special election.
In a statement accompanying the petition, Macalintal said Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7166, or the Synchronized Election Act of 1991, provides that in case of a special election to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives, it “shall be called and held not earlier than 60 days nor longer than 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy.”
Macalintal explained, “Since Arroyo died on January 26, the earliest date [the] special election could be held was last March 26, the 60th day after the occurrence of the vacancy; and [the] latest date it could be held would be April 25, the 90th day after the occurrence of [the] vacancy.”
The 90-day election period in the 5th district began on Thursday. The Comelec scheduled the filing of certificates of candidacies from May 14 to 15 and the campaign period from May 17 to 31.
The 5th district covers the city of Himamaylan and the towns of Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Isabela, La Castellana and Moises Padilla. Jerome Aning