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Enrile Jr. named 'caretaker' of Cagayan second district

- Paolo Romero () - December 13, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has designated Cagayan first district Rep. Juan “Jack” Ponce-Enrile Jr. as “caretaker” of the province’s second congressional district pending the holding of a special election there.

In a statement, Enrile said that around noon on Saturday, he received a call from Belmonte confirming the decision of House leaders to entrust to him the congressional affairs and concerns of the people in Cagayan’s second congressional district until such time that a special election could be held.

The position was left vacant with the demise last June 22 of second district Rep. Florencio Vargas due to a lingering illness.

Vargas, 79, a long-time mayor of Cagayan’s Abulug town, was on his third and final term.

“I just received a call from Speaker Belmonte who said that he has chosen me to be the official caretaker representing the second district of Cagayan until such time that a special election could be held,” Enrile said.

“I will endeavor to live up to the expectations of the people of Cagayan and I will do my best to serve both districts to the best of my ability. God bless us all,” he said.

His selection has long been expected, however, given the full backing of his provincemates, including third district Rep. Randolph Ting who earlier informed Belmonte that he was giving way to Enrile.

At a meeting last Dec. 6, the House committee on suffrage chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga approved the passage of House Resolution 377 naming Enrile as caretaker and ad interim congressman for Cagayan’s second district.

Last Sept. 29, the Cagayan provincial board, in Resolution 111-2010, informed Belmonte and other House leaders of their preference for Enrile.

“I am humbled by the trust and confidence bestowed on me by my fellow Cagayanons and I assure them that their interests and welfare are always foremost on my mind,” Enrile said.

Cagayan’s second district comprises the towns of Abulug, Allacapan, Ballesteros, Calayan, Claveria, Lasam, Piat, Rizal, Sanchez Mira, Santa Praxedes, and Santo Niño.  

Earlier, Enrile and Ting filed House Resolution No. 377 seeking a special election in the second congressional district following Vargas’ death a week before the opening of the 15th Congress. 

While the House has yet to approve the resolution, former Cagayan governor Edgar Lara has expressed interest to run for the congressional seat.

“I am definitely running for representative of my district,” said Lara, who himself held the post for three consecutive terms before being elected governor for two terms.

Lara, who lost the governorship to former Alcala town mayor, now Gov. Alvaro Antonio, himself tried to wrest back his old congressional post in last May elections but landed second in a three-cornered fight won by Vargas. – With Charlie Lagasca

ABULUG ALVARO ANTONIO BELMONTE CAGAYAN CAGAYAN AND I CAGAYANONS AND I DISTRICT ENRILE SECOND VARGAS
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