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'Mikey not qualified to seek House seat in 2013'

MANILA, Philippines - Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo of the party-list group Ang Galing Pinoy is no longer qualified to seek a congressional seat in the May 2013 elections, the militant group Bayan Muna said yesterday.

“The rule in the party-list system has always been that the three-term limit applies to the nominee-congressman and not his party-list group,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.

“The intent of the rule is to prohibit the previous practice of a congressman practically monopolizing the position by holding office for decades,” he said.

He said the three-term or nine-year limit prescribed by the Constitution for members of the House of Representatives applies to all, whether elected from legislative districts or party-list organizations.

Colmenares was reacting to a statement of Chairman Sixto Brillantes of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that the poll body was studying whether to impose the three-term limit on party-list nominees or on their organizations.

In the case of Arroyo, elder son of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he is now on his third and presumably last term as a House member.

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He served for two terms as representative of Pampanga’s second district before giving way to his mother and running and winning as representative of Ang Galing Pinoy, which claims to represent tricycle drivers and security guards.

Bayan Muna had filed a disqualification case against Mikey Arroyo, but the Comelec, under its previous leadership, dismissed it.

Colmenares said if the Comelec changes the rule, it would mean that Mikey Arroyo would be qualified to seek a fourth term as a House member.

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