By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The special elections in Negros Oriental’s 3rd district on December 9 will no longer push through in response to the resolution of the House of Representatives, which called the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “reconsider” the conduct of the polls.
“The [Comelec’s] law department and the en banc decided to cancel the conduct of the special election, and the Commission to discontinue its ongoing preparations for the said special election,” Comelec chairman George Garcia said in a statement yesterday.
Garcia added that “House Resolution 136, which calls for the conduct of the special election was deemed recalled and abandoned upon the passage of House Resolution 154.”
He said that the directives regarding the cancellation have already been sent out to their field personnel.
According to Garcia, the House resolution stated that holding the special polls may have a “negative impact” on the current peace and order situation in Negros Oriental and surrounding provinces.
“We just finished the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. So we are just starting to shift our focus in preparing for the Negros Oriental special polls,” Garcia said.
The House said one of the reasons for the postponement was the filing of a petition for certiorari by expelled Negros Oriental 3rd Representative Arnolfo Teves, Jr. before the Supreme Court.
The congressional seat was left vacant after the House expelled Teves over allegations of disorderly behavior and violation of the code of conduct.
He has not returned to the Philippines after he was accused of being the mastermind in the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo in March of this year.
The postponement was also declared amid the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for the special elections, which started on Monday, November 6, and supposedly until Saturday, November 11.
Three political aspirants in Negros Oriental’s 3rd district have already filed their COCs. These are Navy Colonel Reynaldo Lopez, former Governor Pryde Henry Teves, and incumbent Bacong Mayor Lenin Alviola.
However, their COCs for the 3rd congressional seat have been deemed moot and academic following the cancellation of the special elections./DGB, WDJ