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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 2, 2012
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Negros Comelec ready
if special elections held


The Commission on Elections in Negros Occidental is ready to conduct a special election for a new congressman for the fifth district following the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. if ordered to do so, Provincial Elections SupervisorJessie Suarezsaid yesterday.

Suarez said he has directed the election officers of Himamylan City, and Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Isabela, Moises Padilla and La Castellana towns to prepare their records for a possible special election after a resolution was filed in Congress calling for it.

A special election should be held within 90 days after a congressional seat is declared vacant, Suarez, said, adding that such exercise in the fifth district could cost about P10 million.

The election period will last 45 days, with a campaign period of 15 days, he said.

At present there are only little over 14 months left until the next regular elections for seats in Congress set in May 2013.

House Resolution No. 2171 certifying to the existence of a vacancy in the House of Representatives, particularly in the seat allotted to the fifth congressional district of the province of Negros Occidental following the death of Arroyo Jr., and calling for a special election to fill such vacancy has been filed, Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said Wednesday.

It has been sent to the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms for deliberation, he added.

The remains of Arroyo, who died in London on January 26 after a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver, arrived in Manila Wednesday night and was brought to the Arroyo ancestral home in La Vista, Quezon City, yesterday.

His sister-in-law, former president Gloria Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest, was allowed to attend the wake of the congressman yesterday.

His remains are expected to arrive at the Bacolod Silay Airport late Monday for a two-day wake in the fifth district of Negros Occidental before being returned to Manila for burial at the North Cemetery beside his mother.

Negros Occidental Board Member Melvin Ibañez said Arroyo’s remains will be brought to the fifth district of Negros Occidental on its arrival.

He said the wake that was originally set to held in Binalbagan town may be held in Hinigaran instead. That is because they were informed that a two-day wake would not be allowed at the Binalbagan Catholic church, which is not allowed under a new directive, he said.

However, Fr. Greg Patiño, parish priest of the Catholic Church in Hinigaran will allow a two-day wake at his church, Ibanez added.

Arroyo’s partner Grace Ibuna and his daughters are expected to accompany his remains to Negros Occidental.*CPG

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