MANILA – Returning Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was unfazed with the “quo warranto” petition filed against him seeking to invalidate his victory in last month’s midterm elections.
Pimentel said he chose not to comment on the petition now as it will still be premature with his fresh six-year term as a senator.
“We will answer in due time. Quo warranto means by what authority. If they want me to answer now, then the authority of my office right now is the 2013 elections,” Pimentel said.
Two “quo warranto” petitions were filed against Pimentel on Friday by private citizens Reymar Mansilungan from Mercedes, Camarines Sur and Efren Adan from Manila before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Based on their petition, allowing Pimentel to occupy a third consecutive Senate term will violate the Constitution which only allows individuals to be elected for two consecutive six-year terms as a senator.
Former Congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri was proclaimed the 12th winning senator in the 2007 polls before the Senate Electoral Tribunal ruled in favor of Pimentel’s election protest against Zubiri in August 2011.
The Commission on Elections’ First Division junked two disqualification cases vs. Pimentel – anchored on the same grounds – in a unanimous decision.
“Consequently, it is not enough that an individual has scored three consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been elected to the same position for the same number of times before the disqualification can apply,” it said.
“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,” the Comelec resolution read. /PN