Koko can still join 2019 Senate race: lawyer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2018 10:11 AM

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Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III can still seek re-election in the 2019 midterm elections, veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Tuesday.

Complainant and lawyer Ferdinand Topacio had argued that Pimentel cannot run for senator anew as he is already serving his second and maximum allowed consecutive term.

During the 2007 elections, Pimentel was narrowly edged out by Juan Miguel Zubiri for the 12th and last Senate spot. Pimentel contested Zubiri's victory, alleging that the latter benefited from wholesale cheating carried out by his party, the United Nationalist Alliance.

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) in 2011 ruled in favor of Pimentel's election protest, allowing him to assume the remaining 2 years of Zubiri's term.

Pimentel was re-elected in 2013.

The Supreme Court has previously allowed politicians to seek re-election despite the term limit rule because they won via election protest, Macalintal told radio DZMM.

Such is the case of former Viga, Catanduanes Mayor Abelardo Abundo, he noted.

Abundo was already a 3-term mayor when he ran for a fourth term in 2013. The Supreme Court said the 3-term limit rule could not be applied to him because he did not complete his second term, which he claimed by unseating his opponent through an election protest.

The Commission on Elections is expected to order the senator to answer the petition. Pimentel and Topacio will then hold a conference and probable oral arguments before the en banc decides on the matter.

If the Comelec junks the case, Topacio said he will elevate it to the Supreme Court.

DZMM, 23 October 2018