By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections has suspended the election of the new Representatives of the First and Second Legislative Districts of the Province of Southern Leyte in the May 13 midterm polls.
This after Congress passed Republic Act No. 11198, which divided the province’s lone legislative district into two, last February.
“As configured, voters of the entire Province of Southern Leyte will vote for one position for Member, House of Representatives. This configuration is inconsistent with Section 1 RA 11198 which reapportioned the Province Southern Leyte from a Lone Legislative District into two legislative districts,” the poll body said in Resolution No. 10513.
“The present configuration can no longer be revised or modified in time for the May 13 elections without jeopardizing the preparations for the election of other positions,” it further read.
In case the position for member, House of Representatives is voted upon in the May 13 elections, all votes for the said position shall be considered ‘stray”, the poll body said.
The Comelec said the incumbent representative of the Lone Legislative District of the Province of Southern Leyte shall continue to represent the legislative district until noon of June 30, 2019.
As for the election of other elective positions in the province such as for Senators, Partylist Representatives, provincial, city, and municipal elective offices, the Comelec said it shall be held as scheduled on May 13.
The election for the new Southern Leyte solons shall be set “within six months” from May 13.
Meanwhile, the party-list seats up for grabs in the midterm elections will already be 61 from 60.
In Resolution No. 10512, the Comelec explained that the reapportionment of the legislative district of Southern Leyte has increased the number of congressmen to 244 from 243.
“… Reflect the increase in the number of legislative districts nationwide to 244; and reflect the increase in the number of party-list representatives to be voted in the May 13 polls to 61,” it read.
Bssed on the 1987 Constitution, party-list representatives shall constitute 20 percent of the total number of members of the House of Representatives.