Comelec junks disqualification cases vs. Pimentel

MANILA The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday dismissed the disqualification cases filed against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for lack of merit.

In a 12-page decision, the Comelec 1st Division said the lawmaker is eligible to run in the May 13 mid-term polls contrary to the claims of petitioners Ferdinand Topacio and Glen Chong.

In view of the foregoing, Pimentel is eligible to run for Senator in the May 2019 NLE (national and local elections). Wherefore, the petition is dismissed for lack of merit, it said.

The decision cited jurisprudence from the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Abundo vs. Comelec, which defined term as the fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an officer may hold office.

The SC ruled that the two-year period during which Abundo's opponent was serving as mayor should be considered as an interruption in his service, which effectively removed Abundo's case from the ambit of the three-term limit rule, the Comelec said.

Applying the above pronouncements in the instant case by analogy, it is clear that Pimentel has not fully served his first term as a senator, thus the two-term limit does not yet apply to him, it added.

The petitioners said Pimentel is no longer allowed to run in the senatorial post as he is already in his second term.

Pimentel ran for senator in the 2007 polls and lost to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who was declared as the 12th senator.

Pimentel filed an electoral protest against Zubiri before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). In August 2011, the SET proclaimed Pimentel as the duly-elected senator.

The senator also ran in the 2013 elections and was elected to another six-year term. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency