3rd District Special Elections in Negros Oriental Cancelled
The 3rd district of Negros Oriental will remain without an own congressman in the House of Representatives after Comelec cancelled the special election which were set for December 9, 2023.
The special elections in Negros Oriental for the third district congressional seat will no longer push through on Dec. 9, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday, in light of an action by the House of Representatives. Comelec Chairman George Garcia said the chamber passed House Resolution 154 that recalled an earlier resolution that called for a special district election.
Special Elections cancelled in 3rd district of Negros Oriental
The congressional seat was left vacant after the House expelled Arnolfo Teves Jr. for his “disorderly behavior and for violation of the Code of Conduct of the House of Representatives.” Teves has refused to return to the country to face accusations that he masterminded the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.
“We submit that House Resolution No. 136 which calls for the conduct of the election, special election for the third legislative district of the province of Negros Oriental is deemed recalled and abandoned upon passage of House Resolution No. 154,” Garcia said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“In recognition of the legislative power of Congress, the (Comelec) law department and the en banc decided to cancel the conduct of the special elections in the third legislative district of the province of Negros Oriental, and for the commission to discontinue its ongoing preparation for the said special elections,” he added.
Peace and Order Situation in Jeopardy
Asked for the reasons behind the decision, Garcia said the new resolution stated that holding a special election may have a “negative impact on the peace and order situation” in the surrounding areas of the province.
“They did not specify the negative impact, but it came from them… we have district representatives so that the poll of each district will be easily conveyed to the national level.”
Garcia said Negros Oriental 2nd district Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria introduced the resolution to shelve the special election. He added that it was adopted by the House of Representatives.
The House decision was made on Tuesday and the Comelec was informed about it Wednesday morning, Garcia said. The House expelled Teves for his continued absence without leave and his pursuit of political asylum in Timor-Leste. It said such acts are as good as abandonment of public office. The Anti-Terrorism Council also designated Teves as a terrorist in connection with the killing of Degamo.
COCs for Special Elections already filed
The special elections were cancelled after COMELEC extended the COC filing period. Hours prior to the scrapping of special elections for the third congressional district of Negros Oriental, former Gov. Pryde Henry Teves filed on Wednesday morning his certificate of candidacy. Two other candidates filed their COC with the Commission of Elections (Comelec) on the same day — retired Col. Reynaldo Lopez and Bacong Mayor Lenin Alviola.
The poll body earlier extended the filing of COCs to Nov. 11 from the previous Nov. 6-8 schedule, just to have the special elections cancelled thereafter.