Pimentel: ‘My only term is the 2013-2019 term’
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, who is poised to retain his post following the May midterm elections, debunked claims that Senator JV Ejercito may eventually take the 12th spot due to his alleged violation of the Senate’s term limits.
Pimentel issued the statement when sought to respond to newscaster Jay Sonza’s tweet that Ejercito would eventually make it to the top 12 because “Koko will definitely be disqualified.”
“The law says two terms in succession only,” Sonza wrote, noting that Pimentel won in 2007 and was reelected in 2013.
But Pimentel insisted he has only served a single term and that he has yet to serve for two successive terms as a senator.
In a statement Tuesday, Pimentel argued that his assumption of the unfinished term was not equivalent to and should not be treated as a full term as intended by the Constitution.
“Supreme Court says that if the tenure of an elected official is not for the complete term of office (and non-completion is not caused by the official concerned) such service or tenure is not to be counted as a term for purposes of the term limit provisions in the Constitution,” he said.
“Apply that to my situation. (In) 2007-2013 term of office, which I began to serve only in Aug 2011, cannot be considered as one term for purposes of the two-term limit for senators and the Constitution. My only term is the 2013-2019 term. Hence so far only one term,” he added.
The PDP-Laban president is currently at the 10th spot of the Senate race while Ejercito is a spot out of the winning circle, according to Commission on Elections’ latest tally.
In the 2007 national elections, Pimentel was edged out of the 12th and last Senate seat. However, the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) eventually ruled in Pimentel’s favor in 2011, allowing him to serve one year and 10 months in the Senate.
Article VI, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution prohibits senators from serving for more than two consecutive terms. It also sets the length of each term to six years. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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