Pimentel may call for special polls for Cayetano replacement – Comelec
MANILA — It is up to the Senate if it will seek a special election to replace Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who has been named as foreign affairs secretary by President Duterte.
The Commission on Elections said it would be the call of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III whether to declare Cayetano’s position in the Senate vacant.
“In case a legislator leaves his seat, the chamber’s leadership has the authority to declare a vacancy and call for a special election. This is not the Comelec’s task,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
Earlier, President Duterte announced the appointment of Cayetano, his ally and running mate in the 2016 national elections, as the next secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
This means that Cayetano will have to give up his seat in the Senate, which he won in 2013. Cayetano is four years into his second term as senator, which is supposed to end in 2019.
The fact that the incoming DFA secretary’s term as senator would end in two years would have an effect on whether he would be replaced through a special election or not, Jimenez said.
“Usually taken into consideration is the length of time the seat will remain vacant in case no special elections are called. If, as in this case, the legislator’s term is set to expire in 2019, it is reasonable to expect that it will have some bearing on the final decision,” he said.
Under Republic Act 7166 or the law providing for synchronized national and local elections, the Comelec may hold a special election to fill a permanent vacancy in the Senate or House of Representatives at least one year before the expiration of the term.
The law’s section 4 provides that: “however, in case of such vacancy in the Senate, the special election shall be held simultaneously with the succeeding regular election.” SFM/rga
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