The people of the fifth district of Negros Occidental should be asked whether they want the special elections on June to go on or not, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in Bacolod City yesterday.
Colmenares was reacting to the petition filed before the Supreme Court by lawyer Romulo Macalintal seeking to stop the special polls in the 5th District.
The special election is being held to fill the vacancy left by Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr., who died of cirrhosis of the liver in London on January 26.
Colmenares said Macalintal, like anybody else, has the right to file petitions in the SC but the people of the 5th District should also be consulted on whether they want the special election to continue or not before a Temporary Restraining Order is issued.
“If the people of the 5th District want to proceed with the special election, so be it, because it is their right to suffrage”, Colmenares said.
Macalintal said that he is filing the petition to stop the election on the grounds that it violates the required period within which to hold the election and that the special election should be held 90 days after a congressional seat becomes vacant.
He said that since Arroyo died on January 26 it should be held on April 25 at the latest and not June 2, which is 128 days later.
Macalintal added that it is impractical to hold an election in June for one position, that will cost the COMELEC P21.6 million to benefit only a few politicians when the regular elections are set in May next year already.
Macalintal used to be the lawyer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the sister-in-law of the late congressman.
He, however, emphasized that he is filing his petition as a Filipino taxpayer for legal and practical reasons to prevent the waste of public funds.*APN