Who will represent Cavite's 7th District when Rep. Remulla joins Marcos Cabinet?

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Who will represent Cavite's 7th District when Rep. Remulla joins Marcos Cabinet?
This photo taken March 23, 2020 shows the House of Representatives in a special session to tackle proposed measures to grant President Rodrigo Duterte with additional powers to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR / Felicer Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Crispin "Boying" Remulla (Cavite) would prefer special elections for the legislative district that he will be leaving when he joins the justice department as its head, saying having someone in the seat for the 7th District would mean another ally for Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the presumptive president-elect, at the House of Representatives.

Elections Commissioner George Garcia on Monday explained that if Remulla becomes Department of Justice chief, that would create a vacancy in the 7th District of Cavite. This would open two scenarios: A special election that would require a law calling for it or the designation of a caretaker legislator from a nearby district.

How the vacancy will be filled will be up to the leadership of the House of Representatives in the 19th Congress, Garcia added. As things stand, Rep. Martin Romualdez (Tacloban City) — a cousin of Marcos — has been touted as the next House speaker.

"We will wait for the Congress. If the Congress will say ‘we will fill up the position, conduct a special election,’ we will conduct the special election," Garcia said.

Although Garcia said that caretaker legislators would likely come from a nearby district, that has not always been the practice. 

Rep. Eric Go Yap (ACT-CIS), whose family is based in Quezon City, was designated caretaker of Benguet's legislative district after the death of Rep. Nestor Fongwan Sr. in 2020. Yap has since been elected Benguet representative in the May 9 polls.
One more ally

Remulla said he he has seen vacancies filled through special elections and by the designation of caretakers and said he was not worried about the process. He said, though, that he would prefer that the district have its own representative.

"I would prefer that someone will take up my seat in the district because that is important as support to the president. That's one more congressman for the president, someone to help the president," Remulla added in Filipino.

The province of Cavite delivered 1,121,108 million votes for Marcos in the May 9 elections. Vice President Leni Robredo only secured 497,630 votes in the latest unofficial tally.

But Remulla said Marcos' win in Cavite — where the Remullas remain one of the powerful political clans — should not be linked to his being offered a Cabiner position.

"I ran to serve as representative but if the president calls you, how can you say no to the nation when you can help them?" he told reporters in Filipino.

The tandem of Marcos and Sara Duterte-Carpio — presumptive vice president-elect — saw the coming together of the country's most prominent political clans, including the Arroyos and the Estradas.

Political analyst Michael Yusingco, a senior research fellow at the Ateneo Policy Center, said in an earlier Philstar.com report that powerful political clans backing the tandem may stir up fears of an authoritarian government since Congress — which is supposed to serve as a check on the Executive branch — is also where political dynasties dominate.

"[Marcos] will find himself in a political environment very similar to the one enjoyed by the dictator, Marcos, Sr. And because he has chosen not to engage with the public-at-large, Marcos, Jr. has practically done nothing to dispel this fear," Yusingco also said.  —  with reports from Kaycee Valmonte





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