Local news: Guv: Petition vs Special Poll ‘Might Be Politically Motivated’
Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. yesterday said he is inclined to agree with Grace Ibuna who earlier said that the petition against the holding of a special election in the 5th District of Negros Occidental "might be politically motivated."
Ibuna, long-time partner of the late congressman Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo, said Saturday that the petition filed by Romulo Macalintal, a known election lawyer, to stop the special poll could be politically motivated.
Ibuna had said she perceived the move "as being dictated by some people who will stand to benefit from a no-election," although she did not name names.
Maranon said perhaps Ibuna knows the real score because she is an "insider."
Macalintal is the election lawyer of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Iggy’s sister Ma. Lourdes "Marilou" Arroyo-Lesaca earlier expressed his intention to run in the special poll but had backed out of the race, after allegedly falling short of the residency requirements of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Macalintal, through his lawyer Antonio Carlos Bautista, filed last Thursday before the Supreme Court a petition to stop the June 2 special poll in the 5th District saying "it is illegal because it will be held beyond the period as provided for by law."
In a 22-page petition, Macalintal said Section 4 of Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized National and Local Elections Law, provides that special elections to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives "shall be called and held not earlier than 60 days nor longer than 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy."
"Since Arroyo died on Jan. 26, the earliest date such special election could be held was last March 26 – the 60th day after the occurrence of the vacancy…The latest date it could be held would be on April 25 – the 90th day after the occurrence of such vacancy, pursuant to the provision of RA 7166," his petition read.
Maranon added that the petition is a "legal question."
But the governor said he is hoping that the Supreme Court acts immediately on Macalintal’s petition so that government will not spend more money if it decides to stop the election.
Provincial election supervisor Jessie Suarez said the Comelec has already spent almost half of the P21.6-million budget allocated for the holding of the special election.
Maranon said since the Comelec had spent some money for the special poll already, he hopes that the poll will push through.
As for the stand of the United Negros Alliance (UNA), which endorsed the candidacy of Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol, he said the coalition is waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on the petition.*DBDangcalan