Pimentel: 13th senatorial winner to serve for only 3 years
- Efren Danao () - May 26, 2001 - 12:00am
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said yesterday that the 13th placer in the May 14 senatorial elections would serve for only three years or until 2004 and not for six years, the regular term of a senator.

He explained that the 13th senator would only be serving the unexpired term of former Sen. Teofisto Guingona, who was appointed vice president last January. Guingona was elected to a six-year term in 1998.

At the same time, Pimentel maintained that the 13th placer could be lawfully proclaimed a senator-elect by the Commission on Elections sitting as National Board of Canvassers.

Former Sen. Arturo Tolentino had claimed that the Comelec could not proclaim 13 winners since there was no law calling for a special election to fill up the vacancy in the Senate.

Pimentel said Tolentino might not have been aware of Republic Act 6645, enacted in 1987, which says either the House or the Senate may call for a special election by simply informing the Comelec through a resolution on the existence of a vacancy in the chamber.

Before the enactment of RA 6645, a specific law was needed every time there was a call for a special election to fill up a vacancy in Congress. With the new law, a mere resolution by either chamber would suffice. A resolution, unlike a law, does not need the concurrence of both chambers.

Legislators explained that since the vacancy applies only to a particular chamber, the concurrence of the other chamber on the filling up of the vacancy need not be secured.

Pimentel said that Senate passed a resolution on Feb. 8 authorizing the holding of a special election simultaneous with the May 14 elections to fill up the vacancy created by Guingona’s resignation.

He explained that the Senate saved the government a lot of expenses in coinciding the election of Guingona’s replacement with the regular Senate election.

During Senate deliberations on the resolution, there were proposals to follow the former practice of fielding specific candidates for the vacancy. The Senate, however, decided that the 13th placer should automatically serve the three-year term.

"Nobody would want to run for a three-year term since the candidate would be spending as much as those running for a six-year term," explained Sen. Sergio Osmeña III.

ARTURO TOLENTINO COMELEC DURING SENATE FORMER SEN GUINGONA NATIONAL BOARD OF CANVASSERS REPUBLIC ACT SENATE SENATE PRESIDENT AQUILINO PIMENTEL JR. SERGIO OSME TEOFISTO GUINGONA
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