MANILA – There were no more hurdles in the reelection bid of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the disqualification case filed against him.
The Comelec’s First Division junked the petitions of lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Glenn Chong since it was proven the Pimentel was unable to fully serve his first term from 2007 to 2013 because of an election protest.
“It is clear that Pimentel has not fully served his first term as senator; thus the two-term limit does not yet apply to him,” it said. “Thus (Pimentel) is eligible to run for senator in the May 13 elections.”
Pimentel, who is running under the ruling PDP-Laban party and also among the 13 senatorial candidates endorsed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, welcomed the Comelec ruling, noting that the cases served as barriers to his reelection bid.
“I am very happy that the Comelec has finally decided on the cases which have served as a Damocles sword over my candidacy. With this issue over, I can now expect the people to judge my candidacy on the basis of my qualification, achievements, & plans and advocacies,” Pimentel said in a statement.
Topacio has filed a disqualification case against the incumbent senator saying that Pimentel cannot run anew for senator as he is already serving his second and maximum allowed consecutive term.
“Senator Pimentel is no longer eligible to run for another term in the Senate,” Topacio said. “Based on the Constitution, Senators are prohibited from serving more than two consecutive terms.”
Pimentel in August 2011 was declared the 12th winning senator in the 2007 elections after a tribunal ruled in his favor in a poll protest against Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
Zubiri resigned before the tribunal’s ruling as witnesses alleged massive poll fraud in Maguindanao. He denied allegations that he knew about the poll cheating. Pimentel was again reelected in 2016./PN