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October 22, 2018

OVERHEARD: KOKO PIMENTEL NOT QUALIFIED FOR 2019 SENATE RUN

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio raised a very good issue Monday: can Koko Pimentel still run for senator?

His answer is a resounding NO.

Topacio is of the opinion that Pimentel is currently serving his second term as senator. Therefore he would be ineligible to run this 2019 because, if elected, he would then be serving his third term while the Constitution only allows 2 consecutive terms.

2007 Term Served

Pimentel’s first term, according to Topacio, was when he served the remaining term of disgraced Senator Miguel Zubiri who had to resign from the senate amid revelations of massive cheating that allegedly led to his pronouncement as the #12 Senator in the 2007 elections.

Pimentel had filed an election protest against the 2007 election results claiming that in fact it was he who earned the last senatorial slot, not Zubiri. In 2011, after Zubiri resigned, Pimentel took his oath of office as senator for the remaining period of that term.

That period of 11 months, albeit not an entire 6 years, according to Topacio, is considered one term.

When he ran again and won as senator in the 2013 elections, Pimentel began his second term as senator. Therefore he is no longer eligible to run for senator this coming 2019 as that would be his third time to run when the Constitution only allows senators to run for two consecutive terms. The 1987 Constitution is clear: “No Senator shall serve for more than two consecutive terms.”

Term vs Tenure

Topacio also clarified the difference between term and tenure. While Pimentel’s TENURE – the length of time that he actually served as senator – was shorter than six years, he nevertheless still fulfilled serving his first TERM, which began with the 14th Congress in 2007. The Constitution refers to TERM not tenure.

Candidacy

This puts Pimentel in a delicate situation for the 2019 elections.

Topacio in fact filed a disqualification case with the Comelec today (Monday, Oct 22) to question Pimentel’s Certificate of Candidacy for senator, saying it should be denied due course or cancelled due to material misrepresentation on his eligibility.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio files a case in Comelec seeking to disqualify Senator Koko Pimentel from running this 2019 for his third term.

Reactions

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon refused to comment, saying it is a pending case that must be heard by the Comelec en banc.

Netizen Bolarde says that as a bar topnotcher and role model, Pimentel should just wait til the next term.

Meanwhile Pimentel himself says he thinks this is just a nuisance and he would still be allowed to run.

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