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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, May 11, 2012
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June 2 polls all set
despite bid for TRO

The Commission on Elections commissioners have reached a consensus en banc to proceed with the June 2 special election for a new congressman of the fifth district of Negros Occidental despite a petition pending before the Supreme Court to stop it, COMELEC Commissioner Armando Velasco said yesterday.

Velasco said the consensus was reached Tuesday, noting that the COMELEC has already spent P3 million of the P21.6 million allotted for the special election.

We have already started preparations for the June 2 election, it would be a waste to call it off at this time, he said.

But the COMELEC will comply with whatever the SC orders, he added.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal has a pending petition before the SC for a temporary restraining order to stop the COMELEC from further activities and disbursement of funds for the fifth district special election.

Macalintal maintains that holding the special election on June 2 is illegal because it is beyond the period allowed by law.

Velasco, who was in Bacolod City, said the COMELEC, by holding the June 2 election, is just implementing a resolution of the House of Representatives.

House Resolution 2171 adopted as HR 00248 March 12, certified the existence of a vacancy in the House of Representatives, following the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. on January 26, in the fifth congressional district of Negros Occidental, and called for a special election to fill it.

The special election should be held 90 days after a congressional seat becomes vacant, and since Arroyo died on January 26 it should be held on April 25 at the latest and not June 2, which is 128 days later, Macalintal told the SC.

The COMELEC, on the other, hand said the special election should be held 90 days from the time the House declares a congressional seat vacant.

“It would be a loss on our part not to proceed since we have already spent P3 million for the special election,” Velasco said, adding that if the election, on the other hand, is called off, the COMELEC will have savings from what will remain from the P21.6 million allotted for the special election.

The votes in the June 2 special election will be manually counted and the results will be known in about 36 hours, he said.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for congressman of the fifth district is set May 14 to 16.

Among those who have announced their intent to run for the post are Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol and his nephew Board Member Emilio Yulo III.*CPG



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