MANILA—An election lawyer said the 13th candidate that got the highest votes in senatorial race in the May 2016 national and local polls cannot assume the seat that will be vacant at the Senate.
Atty. Romulo Macalintal explained that the 13th placer did not won the polls since only 12 senators were declared as winners.
“The 13th placer cannot assume the vacant post because the 13th placer did not win last May,” he said.
The lawyer added, “Only 12 won. The 13th placer was also a loser.”
Macalintal noted that there is no succession rule for the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress.
“No succession rule for Senate and House of Representatives,” he said.
The issue on succession surfaced after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to head the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Once the senator assumed his new post, there will be a vacant seat in the senate.
Under the law, the replacement will only be determined through the conduct of a special poll.
But, Macalintal said that special poll should be held simultaneous with the next national polls.
“With due respect to Comelec, the Senate cannot call for special election for Cayetano’s replacement because such special election should be held “simultaneous with the next succeeding regular election” as provided under Sec. 4 of RA 7166 or the synchronized election law,” he explained.
However, Macalintal noted that the next regular election will be in May 2019 and “by that time Cayetano’s supposed term will already expire.”
The senator was elected in 2013.
He added that the case would be different if Cayetano was elected last year.
“It would have been different if Cayetano was elected in 2016 polls where his term will end 2022 where his remaining term could be the subject of special election in a regular polls in 2019,” Macalintal said.