BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will not in any way pre-empt the decision of the House of Representatives on the province’s lone congressional seat that was vacated due to the untimely demise of Rep. Maximo Dalog, Sr. after succumbing to alleged failed kidney ailment.
Provincial Election Supervisor Ricardo L. Lampac said it will be premature for some officials of the poll body to be coming out with statements on the matter because the House leadership has not given its definite position on the matter.
“We are not the ones who will decide on what will happen to the vacated congressional seat because our only role in this case is to schedule the conduct of a special election once all legal requirements shall have been complied with by the House leadership,” Lampac stressed.
The Comelec Mountain Province official revealed that once the House of Representatives issues a certificate of vacancy to the vacated post, the poll body will then compute the funding requirements for the special election and submit it to the House leadership for the sourcing of funds and the subsequent downloading of the budget to the Comelec which will in turn schedule the date of the special polls.
Under the rules on the filling up of the vacated congressional seat, a special election will be scheduled in the concerned congressional district within 90 days from the occurrence of the vacancy.
Lampac claimed the House leadership could opt for the conduct of the special election in the province within the prescribed period or the House Speaker could appoint a caretaker congressman to take the cudgels of the deceased lawmaker to attend to the needs of the people of Mountain Province among other matters of local and national concerns.
He called on various sectors in the province to refrain from issuing unnecessary statements that will complicate the situation and instead wait for the decision of the House leadership.
It will be recalled that when the province’s congressional seat was vacated in 2008 due to the untimely demise of the late Rep. Victor S. Dominguez who succumbed to cardiac arrest, the House leadership then appointed Kalinga Rep. Manuel S. Agyao as the caretaker congressman who served the unexpired term of the veteran lawmaker.
The Comelec official emphasized the unofficial pronouncements of various officials regarding the vacated congressional seat tends to confuse the public that is why it is best for everyone to simply await the decision of the House leadership on the issue to put things in order before discussing the issue publicly.
Various sectors in the province are actually divided on the issue because some of them are aggressively pushing for the conduct of the special election to fill up the vacated congressional post while others prefer that the House leadership appoint a caretaker congressman to serve the unexpired term because there was already a precedent in the case of the late Rep. Dominguez.