Erwin Tulfo takes oath as ACT-CIS Party-list representative


Posted at May 30 2023 09:54 PM

Erwin Tulfo takes his oath as ACT-CIS Party-list representative before House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe. Photo courtesy of ACT-CIS
Erwin Tulfo takes his oath as ACT-CIS Party-list representative before House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe. Photo courtesy of ACT-CIS

MANILA - Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo took his oath as representative of Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party List late Tuesday.

Tulfo replaced Jeffrey Soriano, who resigned in February.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco explained that the Commission on Elections already cleared the way for Tulfo to sit, as it dismissed the disqualification case against the broadcaster turned lawmaker.

"We were informed by the Comelec that case has been dismissed and so we can go ahead with the oath taking. En banc. So anyway the oath of office is a formality one of the requirements that we need, so while wait for the formal notification from Comelec he can take the oath already," Velasco said.

"Once we receive the Comelec letter that he is indeed the nominee, the official nominee to replace...Cong. Soriano 'yun lang kailangan namin in lieu of that ACT CIS has also informed us he is indeed the nominee who has replaced former Cong. Soriano so were just awaiting the formal communication from the Comelec so that he can actually take his office. but the oath taking is just a formality its one of our requirements so pwede nang ituloy yan kasi we were already assured by the Comelec that the letter is a forthcoming and we were furnished a copy of the notice of dismissal of the case against him," Velasco explained.

"So we will go ahead with the oath taking but of course actual occupation of office we will await the formal letter from Comelec okay na oath taking pero 'yun nga 'di pa rin makaka-occupy ng office niya until we receive the Comelec confirmation," Velasco said.

A disqualification case filed against Tulfo is pending at the Comelec en banc.

When asked if his oath-taking is valid, Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair George Garcia said in a message that administering the oath “is an absolute prerogative of the HOR based on their rules and practice” and that “the validity of the oath is an exclusive domain of the HoR based on its internal rules.”

Garcia also said it will depend on the House of Representatives if it will allow Tulfo to perform his duties, adding that Comelec can issue a certification of who is the third nominee after the resignation of the former third nominee pending the motion for reconsideration on the disqualification case.

"Administrative lang 'yun sa part ng Comelec," he added.

Asked if the motion for reconsideration will be rendered moot now that Tulfo has taken his oath and assumed office, Garcia said, “The assumption to office of a member of the HoR in accordance with its internal processes will divest any body of jurisdiction in favor of the HRET," referring to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Garcia added, “Per the Constitution and the case of Reyes vs Comelec, once there is already a member of the HOR (assumed office), all questions involving the elections , returns and qualifications of the members of the HOR shall belong to the jurisdiction of the HRET to the exclusion of any other courts or body. Hence, if that is the case, the issue now becomes legal and the primacy of jurisdiction will take over”.

The Commission on Appointments bypassed Tulfo's appointment as a member of the cabinet. 

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. named Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian as his replacement.

— Reports from RG Cruz and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News