Comelec chief prefers no special polls for seat vacated by Ignacio Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines—Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday said he prefers that no special elections will be conducted in the fifth district of Negros Occidental to fill up the seat vacated by Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, who died in London last Jan 26.
“If it were up to us, we [are] opposing a special elections. That is our opinion. It’s additional [expense] and time-consuming, and … the tenure [of the successor] would only be a year. So it would be really a waste,” Brillantes told reporters.
The chair said Congress should just appoint a caretaker for Arroyo’s district, which comprises Himamaylan City and the towns of Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Isabela, La Castellana and Moises Padilla.
The Comelec chief, however, said that if the House declares a vacancy and calls for a special election, the poll body would have no choice but to prepare for the democratic exercise.
It was reported last week that the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms will deliberate a resolution asking the Comelec to conduct a special election to fill the vacancy created by Arroyo’s death.
Should the resolution pass this month, the elections may be held by May and the Comelec would be spending about P30 million, Brillantes said.
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7166 or the Synchronized Election Act of 1991 states that when a permanent vacancy occurs in the House of Representatives at least one year before the expiration of the term, the Comelec shall call and hold a special election to fill the vacancy not earlier than 60 days nor longer than 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy.