COMELEC dismisses petitions; confirms Pimentel’s eligibility

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections First Division has dismissed the petitions against reelectionist Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel for lack of merit.

In a 12 page ruling, the Comelec said Pimentel is eligible to run for Senator in the May 2019 midterm polls.

According to the poll body, the two years served by Pimentel from 2011 to 2013 was only a “tenure” and cannot be deemed as a “term”.

It cited jurisprudence from the Supreme Court (SC), which defined term as the “fixed and definite period of time which the law describes that an officer may hold office”, in the case of Abundo vs COMELEC.

“The SC ruled that the two-year period during which Abundo’s opponent was serving as mayor should be considered as an interruption in his service, which effectively removed Abundo’s case from the ambit of the three-term limit rule,” read the decision.

“Applying the above pronouncements in the instant case by analogy, it is clear that Pimentel has not fully served his first term as a senator, thus the two-term limit does not yet apply to him,” it further read.

In view of the foregoing, the Comelec said Pimentel is eligible to run for senator in the May 2019 elections.

“The petition is dismissed for lack of merit,” read the decision.

Pimentel lauded on Wednesday the dismissal of the petitions against his senatorial bid before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"I am very happy that the Comelec has finally decided on the cases which have served as a Damocles sword over my candidacy," Pimentel said in a text message to reporters Wednesday night.

The poll body ruled that Pimentel "is eligible to run for senator" as it believed that he has not served a full first term.

Pimentel assumed his Senate seat in 2011, after his rival Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri yielded that he won the 12th winning place in the 2007 polls

"With this issue over I can now expect the people to judge my candidacy on the basis of my qualification, achievements, and plans and advocacies," Pimentel, who is now running under the PDP-Laban banner, said.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio earlier filed a petition to deny due course or cancel Pimentel's certificate of candidacy. The other petition was filed by Glenn Chong.

The petitioners questioned the qualification of Pimentel as a senatorial bet as he is already in his second six-year term as senator. (with reports from Vanne Elaine Terrazola) #MatalinongBoto2019