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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 8, 2012
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Decision on special
polls out next week

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg., Occ., 3rd District) yesterday said the decision on whether a special election for a new congressman of the fifth district of Negros Occidental will be held will be out next week.

“Next week we will know for sure,” Benitez told the DAILY STAR.

The fifth congressional seat became vacant after the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. in London on January 26 after a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver.

Benitez authored House Resolution 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 and calling for a special election to fill such vacancy.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte told the DAILY STAR the resolution is now pending before the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.

Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said while he has no objection to a special election to give the people the right to chose their congressman, there might not be enough time to hold it, with the regular elections set on May next year already.

The Commission on Elections announced this week that the filing of Certificates of Candidacy for the May 13, 2013 polls is on October 1 to 5 this year.

Isabela Mayor Francis Malabor, Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol and Himamaylan Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon yesterday said they will be amenable to whatever Congress decides – to hold a special election, or appoint a caretaker for the fifth district while waiting for the regular elections in May next year.

Malabor, however, said the mayors of the fifth district had earlier signed a position paper stating that they favor a special election.

It really depends on the House, although the filing of CoCs for the regular polls is set for October 1 to 5 already, Bascon said.*CPG

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