The daughter of Janet Lim-Napoles, who is linked to a P10-billion pork barrel, Malampaya fund and fertilizer scam, cannot replace the second nominee of the OFW Family Club (OFWFC) party-list group and take a seat in the House of Representatives, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Jo Christine Napoles was not on the list of five nominees that OFWFC had submitted to the poll body before the elections.
Brillantes noted that after OFWFC won two seats in the House, its last three nominees resigned and were replaced by Napoles and two others.
“What’s bad here for me is that when they were campaigning, Napoles was not among the five (nominees). So, people voting for OFW never considered Napoles as one of the nominees,” the Comelec chief said.
“(But) suddenly, they change it,” he added.
Brillantes said he had ordered his staff to dig up Comelec rules to determine if changes like this were allowed after the elections.
“The records of this commission show that … their nominees were Roy Señeres Sr., Johnny Revilla, Roy Señeres Jr. and a fourth and a fifth nominee. There was no Napoles there. Nothing,” he said.
But after OFWFC won two seats in Congress, Señeres Sr. moved to have Revilla disqualified because he supposedly did not renounce his American citizenship.
“In the meantime, (Señeres) Jr. resigned and No. 4 and No. 5 (nominees) also resigned (while) Napoles and two others came in,” Brillantes said.
The Comelec chair said that should the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) unseat Revilla, Napoles would be next in line to get his congressional seat.
“That’s the prerogative of the party-list [group] unless it is a form of term-sharing. (If that’s the case,) we can say it’s not allowed, but so far there is no pending case with us,” Brillantes said.
Asked if he considered the possible replacement of Revilla by Napoles a form of “term-sharing,” the Comelec chief declined to answer.
“If it turns out Revilla is a Filipino, then there is no issue because no one will replace him. But if he is removed, then we will have an issue. Will Napoles be able to sit (in Congress)?” Brillantes said.
He said it would be the Comelec that would decide who should replace Revilla if the HRET unseated him.
“That’s a party-list issue. We will decide on who can replace (him). If the HRET removes number two, then number three will come in (but) it will depend on the circumstances,” Brillantes said.