Local News: High Court ‘Not Likely to Grant Lawyer’s Petition vs Special Poll’
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) believes that the Supreme Court (SC) will not grant the petition of a noted election lawyer who is planning to stop the June 2 special poll in the 5th District of Negros Occidental.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, in an interview over Bombo Radyo Wednesday, said election lawyer Romulo Macalintal was set to file yesterday a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the SC to stop the special poll.
The special election is expected to fill the post vacated by the late Congressman Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo who died last January in London after a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver.
Jimenez said it is likely that the SC will deny Macalintal’s petition, should he be able to file a TRO.
In a statement, Macalintal described the special poll with a budget of P21.6 million, as "totally imprac-tical and a waste of money, time and manpower resources of Comelec."
He said only four months after the June 2 special poll, or on October 1 to 5, will already be the filing of candidacy for the 2013 polls.
Macalintal added, "If the concern of Congress is to help the constituents of Arroyo then the (P21.6 million) budget for such election could be channeled to the said district."
He said the millions of pesos that could be spent by the candidates in the campaign could instead be donated by them to their constituents in the 5th District.
Macalintal said whoever wins in the said special election could not even contract for public work projects, nor disburse funds since the election ban on this project will start by February 2013.
"If our lawmakers are really that concerned and sensitive to the needs of our people, they should heed the call of Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. not to hold the said election for it is clearly impractical and unneces-sary," Macalintal added.
Brillantes had earlier said he is not in favor of a special election in the 5th District of Negros Occidental as it would be a waste of time, considering that the tenure of Iggy’s successor would only be a year, and it would be an additional expense for the Comelec.
But, Jimenez said Congress has approved a resolution that mandates the Comelec to hold a special election in Iggy’s district, after Congress declared the post vacant.
Jimenez said it is the right of the people of the 5th District to be properly represented in Congress, and it would be unfair for them if they are not accorded this right just because of the issue of funds.
He stressed that the Comelec is only adopting the legal procedures by following the resolution approved by Congress.
Meanwhile, the Comelec has set the election period in the 5th District from April 18 to June 17, during which a ban on firearms and deadly weapons will be observed in Himamaylan City, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Isabela and Hinigaran.
Jimenez said candidates for the post should file their certificates of candidacy on May 14 to 16. The campaign period will run from May 17 to May 31.
So far, only Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol and his nephew, Board Member Emilio Yulo III, have expressed interest in running for congressman. The 5th District has a voting population of more than 200,000.
Provincial election supervisor Jesse Suarez said the Comelec is ready for the special poll. Some election paraphernalia have already arrived last Monday, he said, but he is still awaiting the election forms.
Suarez said the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police are expecting a peaceful conduct of the special poll.*