Macalintal says Comelec should hold special election for representative of Las Pinas City

From mb.com.ph:
By Philippines News Agency

MANILA — An election lawyer has said a special election should be conducted for the lone congressional district of Las Pinas City to fill the vacancy left by former Rep. Mark Villar.

According to Atty. Romulo Macalintal, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to act on the post left by Villar, who accepted the position to head the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“Since the resignation of Congressman Mark Villar as representative of the lone district of Las Pinas City on August 1 to accept the position of Secretary of the DPWH, the Comelec has not lifted a finger to call and hold a special election to fill said vacancy,” Macalintal said in a statement.

He added, “Since Villar resigned as congressman of Las Pinas City on August 1, then the special election for his replacement must be called between September 30 which is the 60th day after the occurrence of the vacancy and not later than October 30 which is the 90th day after Villar’s resignation.”

He noted that under Republic Act No. 7166 (Synchronized Election Law), special polls should be held within two months but not later than three months from the time the post has been vacant.

Under Section 4, Paragraph 2, in case of vacancy in the House of Representatives, the Comelec shall “call and hold a special election to fill the vacancy not earlier than sixty (60) days nor longer than ninety (90) days after the occurrence of the vacancy.”

On the other hand, Section 1 of R.A. 6645 (1987 Law on Filling Vacancy in Congress) provides that the special election shall be conducted provided the remaining term of office is “at least one year before the next regular election for Members of Congress.”

“Comelec should take judicial notice of Villar’s resignation and the existence of the said vacancy and should take it upon itself to secure the certification of vacancy from the House of Representatives to fulfill its mandatory duty of conducting the said special election “not earlier than 60 days nor longer than 90 days after the occurrence of the vacancy,” he explained.

Macalintal added, “Actually, Comelec should have done its part as early as September 30 to meet the deadline of holding the special election for replacement of Villar not later than October 30.”

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