Speaker Belmonte to serve as caretaker of Bohol’s legislative district
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte has taken on the task of being the caretaker of Bohol’s second district after the passing of its representative Erico Aumentado on Christmas Day last year.
Belmonte said he has decided to be the caretaker to address the needs of Aumentado’s constituents in the months leading to the May elections.
Aumentado, who chaired the ethics committee, succumbed to pneumonia at a Taguig hospital on Christmas. He was 72. He was laid to rest in his home province earlier this month.
In previous instances where lawmakers passed away or vacated their office, special elections were held to name a replacement if there was still a year to go before the expiration of their term, as provided under the law. Otherwise, a lawmaker would be appointed caretaker, usually from a neighboring province.
As Speaker, Belmonte has the discretion to appoint a caretaker.
Earlier, he appointed Akbayan party list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao as caretaker of Dinagat Islands after Ruben Ecleo was dropped from the rolls because of his graft conviction.
The decision generated controversy because Bag-ao was running as the province’s representative in the May 2013 elections.
But Belmonte had defended his choice, saying Bag-ao hailed from Dinagat Islands. Bag-ao had also said her running as the province’s representative was only “incidental,” and that she accepted the caretaker position because she wanted to help her home province.