THE House of Representatives on Tuesday night adopted House Resolution (HR) No. 1212, which asks the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to hold a special election to fill the seat formerly held by expelled Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves.
In the same measure, the House certified “to the existence of a vacancy” in the province’s third congressional district.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, and House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan authored the resolution.
The authors said the vacancy in Negros Oriental’s third district was created due to the expulsion of Teves “for disorderly behavior and violation of Section 141 (a) and (b), Rule XX of the Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives, by the requisite vote of two-thirds of all its members as provided for in the Constitution.”
They said the vacancy has left the constituency of the province’s third legislative district “without representation in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines.”
They invoked Section 9, Article VI of the Constitution, which provides: “In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the senator or member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.”
The three House leaders cited the applicable law, which is Republic Act (RA) No. 6645, entitled, “An Act prescribing the manner of filling a vacancy in the Congress of the Philippines.”
The law provides: “In case a vacancy arises in the Senate at least 18 months or in the House of Representatives at least one year before the next regular election for members of Congress, the Commission on Elections, upon receipt of a resolution of the Senate of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, certifying to the existence of such vacancy and calling for a special election, shall hold a special election to fill such vacancy…”
Another applicable law, RA No. 7166 on synchronized elections, states that the special election shall be held “not earlier than six days nor longer than 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy.”
The House resolved to send a copy of HR No. 1212 to the Comelec.
Earlier, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said the poll body was ready to conduct a special election if requested by the House.
“If we will be directed…we will comply with haste,” he said.