Based on the 1987 Constitution, Pimentel said it is clear that he has not served two full terms as senator.
Geremy Pintolo
Koko Pimentel says law on his side to seek reelection
Helen Flores, Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday the law is on his side when it comes to his eligibility to run for reelection next year. 

Based on the 1987 Constitution, Pimentel said it is clear that he has not served two full terms as senator.

He cited Article VI, Section 4 of the Constitution, which states that the term of senators is six years and “shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon of the 30th day of June next following their election.”

Pimentel noted that lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, in the disqualification case against him before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), cited just one part of that article of the Constitution, which states that “no senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms.”

“Some people just refuse to understand what is clearly written in the Constitution. There are two paragraphs, he (Topacio) focused on the second paragraph,” Pimentel said.  

“The first defines the word ‘term.’ The term starts on June 30 following the election. The term is six years. So you apply that to my situation. I became senator in August 2011. Is that the June 30 after the election of 2007?” he added.

In the 2007 senatorial election, Pimentel placed 13th behind now Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Pimentel filed a protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and won to assume his place in the Senate in August 2011.

“The Constitution, the law and jurisprudence are on my side. Well regarded legal minds known for their expertise in election law have likewise chimed in; they agree with my position: I can run for reelection,” Pimentel said. 

He cited the opinion given by one of the country’s prominent election lawyers, Romulo Macalintal, that the first years of his term should not be counted.

Pimentel also denied the claim of Topacio that he sought the lawyer’s advice regarding his situation. 

“There is no truth to attorney Topacio’s statement that I consulted him about the legal issues surrounding my candidacy. I have never asked attorney Topacio for any legal opinion in my entire life. There is a very short list of election lawyers I would consult regarding this matter, and he is not on it,” Pimentel said. 

Nevertheless, he welcomed the petition, which he said “will pave the way for this issue to be settled so we can focus on the issues that really matter to our people.” 

Pimentel argued that the two cases cited by Topacio in his petition – Aratea v. Comelec and Latasa v. Comelec – were inapplicable to his situation.

“In the Aratea case, the candidate really served three consecutive terms and was even disqualified by a final judgment in a criminal case. In the Latasa case, the three-term municipal mayor ran again for a fourth term when the municipality became a city,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel said that his lawyers would ask for a summary dismissal of the petition of Topacio, “as the Constitution and the law, jurisprudence and the basic concept of fairness all support our position that I can still run again for senator in the May 2019 elections.”

Macalintal backs Koko   

In an interview with dzMM, Macalintal expressed belief Pimentel did not complete his first term as senator. 

“He can still run. His victory in the electoral protest cannot be considered a complete term,” the lawyer said.

“While he was waiting for the ruling on his protest, he could not be considered an elected official yet,” Macalintal, who is also running for senator under the opposition coalition, added.

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS AQUILINO “KOKO” PIMENTEL III COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
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