Proclamation of Pimentel questioned
Two quo warranto petitions have been separately lodged in the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) challenging the legality of the proclamation of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III in the May 13 midterm elections.
Third 6-year term
Complainants Efren Adan and Reymar Mansilungan both argued that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had erred when it upheld Pimentel’s victory since it was already his third consecutive six-year tenure, flouting the constitutional limit of two straight six-year terms for senator.
Pimentel first ran and won as senator in 2007, but was only able to assume office three years later after Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri was earlier proclaimed winner of the 12th and last seat in the upper chamber by the election body.
The complainants said the fact that Pimentel was unable to serve his first full term was not a reason to allow him to serve in the 18th Congress.
The Comelec had already rejected two disqualification cases against Pimentel that raised the same arguments before the elections were held last month.
Sought for comment, Pimentel said: “I will just answer it like what we did to the [disqualification cases filed] before the Comelec.”
Pimentel, son and namesake of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., finished 10th in the senatorial race as one of the five candidates of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, which he heads as its president.
In a 21-page complaint, Mansilungan said all individuals seeking a Senate seat should abide by Section 4, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which set the limit on a senator’s term of office.
He said Pimentel’s stature as former Senate president and bar topnotcher should not exempt him from the Charter’s prohibition on term limits.
“[Pimentel] was unlawfully elected as a member of the Philippine Senate for a third consecutive term,” said Mansilungan, who identified himself as a registered voter from Barangay Matoog-toog in Mercedes town, Camarines Norte province.
“[He] was surreptitiously elected as a senator by his refusal to comply with the constitutional prohibition … and will unlawfully become a member of the Philippine Senate … unless ousted by the [SET],” he added.
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