‘Caretaker’ to assume House seat vacated by Gatchalian

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
âCaretakerâ to assume House seat vacated by Gatchalian
Rex Gatchalian
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Pending a special election in Valenzuela City, a caretaker will be temporarily assigned to the congressional seat vacated last week by newly appointed Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian.

Interviewed by “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News the other day, Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman Rex Laudiangco said House Speaker Martin Romualdez has the prerogative to temporarily assume Gatchalian’s representation of the 1st District of Valenzuela.

Romualdez can also assign an incumbent member of the House of Representatives as a caretaker of the congressional seat.

Meanwhile, the Comelec is waiting for a House resolution on the situation that would be the “trigger document” for the poll body to conduct a special election in the city.

“To be clear about it, what Sec. 9 of Article 6 of the Constitution is saying, in case there is a vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be held to fill that vacancy and that the senator or the member of the House elected should only serve for the unexpired term,” Laudiangco said.

The Comelec official said that it is the House that would decide on whether to hold a special election or designate a caretaker for a vacant seat in its chamber.

Congress will have to issue a resolution on the declaration of vacancy, the calling for a special election and the allotment of budget for the special election, he said.

“So, these are the three things we’re looking at... if there is a resolution from Congress declaring vacancy, the calling for special elections and providing funds for the special elections,” Laudiangco, speaking partly in Filipino, said.

Citing the case of the 7th District of Cavite, Laudiangco said it is Romualdez who has been serving as caretaker-representative of the congressional district since Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla was appointed Department of Justice secretary.

The special election for Remulla’s district will be held on Feb. 25.



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