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Belmonte: No special polls for Iggy’s seat

/ 07:16 AM February 01, 2012

Bacolod City — House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte on Monday said he saw no real need to hold special elections for the congressional seat of the Negros Occidental 5th district following the death of Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo because of the proximity of the next elections.

Belmonte said that if elections were held three months from now, whoever wins to sit as congressman of the 5th district would have very little time to serve with the next elections set on May 2013.

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Instead, Belmonte said, he could designate a caretaker to attend to the projects and the other needs of the fifth district so that it would not be deprived of what was due it.

The projects supposed to be implemented would continue and there would be consultations with the mayors of the district on their requirements, he added.

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However, Belmonte told the Inquirer in a telephone interview, that although he believed there was no need for a special election, he would consult with his leaders in the House on what action should be undertaken.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that while there were those who want special elections, others believed that it was not necessary.

There might not be enough time for special elections with the regular polls set in May next year, Marañon said.

Congress would have to declare the position of Arroyo vacant, ask Comelec to hold the special elections, and a 45-day election period would be needed, to include the 15-day campaign period, he added.

Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Melvin Ibañez has indicated interest to run if a special election would be held but added that he would consult the mayors of the fifth district first.

On the other hand, both Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6th district) and Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer (Neg Occ., 4th district) said they were willing to take on the job as caretaker.

Meanwhile, former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo refused on Monday to intervene in the bitter dispute between the women involved with his late brother Iggy Arroyo.

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“I don’t want to get in between a squabble between two wives,” said Arroyo in an interview with reporters.

Arroyo was referring to the word war between Iggy’s partner, businesswoman Grace Ibuna, and legal wife, Alicia “Aleli” Morales-Arroyo, who were contesting who should take charge of Iggy’s funeral. Ibuna was at Iggy’s bedside when he died of cardiac arrest last Thursday at private clinic in London.

Iggy’s office staff has already started packing documents, office equipment, furniture and painting at his office at the Batasan complex. Access to Iggy’s office has been limited as its contents could still be the subject of dispute of those he left behind.  /INQUIRER

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TAGS: Elections, Feliciano Belmonte, Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, Special elections
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