Disqualification case filed vs Koko Pimentel at Comelec
Reelectionist Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is facing a disqualification case over his senatorial bid for the May 2019 midterm elections.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio filed the case against Pimentel before the clerk of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday.
Topacio said Pimentel’s two consecutive terms as senator proscribes him from seeking another term.
“Well, because of the two consecutive term limit as stated in the constitution,” he told INQUIRER.net when asked why he filed the petition.
Topacio explained that Pimentel assumed his first term as senator in 2007. The National Board of Canvassers first proclaimed Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as the 12th winning senator and Pimentel subsequently filed an electoral protest against the former. The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) in August 2011 then ruled in favor of Pimentel, Topacio noted.
This allowed Pimentel to continue Zubiri’s remaining term of two years.
Topacio argued that because of this, Pimentel has already assumed his first term from 2007 to 2013.
“It’s his first term. We should differentiate term from tenure. Term is always fixed…His tenure may have been lacking, but his term is always full because he was the one elected in 2007, not Zubiri,” the lawyer said.
Pimentel was reelected in 2013 and served as Senate President from 2016 to 2018.
Topacio said the senator actually asked him to research about the term limits before filing his candidacy for senator.
“You know, Koko is a good friend of mine, but I’ve already advised him when he asked me to research on the matter that I think…I told him in my humble legal opinion: You are already proscribed from seeking another term because that would be your third term. But, well, he did not heed my advice,” he said.
“And it became my duty as a citizen, as a registered voter and as a member of the Philippine bar to try to uphold what I believe to be the rule of law,” he added.
A decision on the case will be released after a series of hearing as prescribed by the rules of the commission, the lawyer said.
“Maghi-hearing pa iyan (There will be a hearing). Under the rules, that the clerk of the commission will issue a subpoena to Senator Pimentel to answer the petition, so ah Senator Pimentel will file his answer,” Topacio said when asked about the release of the decision on the petition.
Pimentel will then file his counter that will be followed by a conference and other hearings.
“There may or may not be oral arguments and or maybe the Comelec will just require the parties to submit their respective memorandum of agreement,” he added. /ee
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