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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, May 4, 2012
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SC pressed to stop
5th district polls


Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal yesterday filed an urgent motion before the Supreme Court reiterating his call for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the Commission on Elections from further activities and disbursement of funds in connection with the special election in the fifth district of Negros Occidental on June 2.

Macalintal maintained that the holding of the special election on June 2 is beyond the period allowed by law.

“The TRO is also intended to warn all potential candidates in the special election that they run at their own risk with full knowledge of the pendency of my petition questioning the legality of the election and that their candidacies may be affected should the Supreme Court decide in favor of my petition,” he told the DAILY STAR.

The special election is being held to fill a vacancy in Congress following the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. (Neg. Occ., 5th District) in London on January 26 after a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver.

Jessie Suarez, provincial election officer of Negros Occidental, said the COMELEC is more than half way done with the preparations for the June 2 elections.

In fact we are already sending the lists of Board of Election Inspectors and Canvassers for the June 2 special election to the COMELEC, Suarez said.

He said COMELEC forms for the June 2 polls, except for the official ballots, have arrived in Negros Occidental.

A command conference on security for the special election, to be attended by COMELEC officials from Manila, is set at the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City on May 10, he said.

“We should not deprive the fifth district residents of the privilege to choose their representative,” Suarez added.

So far, those who have signified their intention to run for congressman of Negros Occidental are Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol and his nephew, Board Member Emilio Yulo III.

The petition to stop the special election was filed by Macalintal against the COMELEC and the House of Representatives through speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Only recently, it was reported that Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile and Abono party-list Rep. Emmanuel Ortega II “asked Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., to just designate a caretaker in the fifth district of Negros Occidental.," Maclintal told the SC.

Enrile said that “the caretaker will be the one to distribute appropriated funds for projects and also represent the constituents of the district.”

And, as early as March 25, 2012, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting through its chairperson and former Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa expressed its opposition to the special election, saying: “It is highly unconscionable, impractical and senseless to hold special election on June 2 for the position left vacant with the death of Rep. Iggy Arroyo. The PPCRV sees no public good or service for such special election,” Macalintal added.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2013 elections will take place on Oct. 1 to 5, barely four months after the June 2 special election Congress wants to happen, Macalintal noted.

For practical considerations, and to prevent the apparent waste of public funds, the June 2 polls should be called off, he added.*CPG

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