12 or 13 senatorial bets in 2013? It’s up to Miriam

Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago's decision will affect Comelec's preparations for the 2013 polls

MANILA, Philippines – Are we going to elect 12 or 13 senators in next year’s midterm elections? It’s up to Sen Miriam Santiago, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes.

Senator Miriam Santiago was elected as a judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC), but she skipped the oathtaking of new members in March—at the height of the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona—due to medical reasons.

It is not clear if and when Santiago will resign as senator and take her oath as ICC judge.

Brillantes said Santiago’s decision will affect the poll body’s preparations for the 2013 automated elections. If she resigns, 13 senators will be elected. If she doesn’t, 12 senators will be elected, he said.

It’s complicated because the elections is automated, said Brillantes.

Baka magkagulo e (It might cause chaos). If Senator Santiago doesn’t resign, 12 senators will be elected. If you vote for 13 under automated elections, overvote ‘yun. Mawawala lahat ng boto. Yun ang rule sa automation,” Brillantes said in a press conference on Saturday, June 23. (Watch Comelec’s video above.)

Brillantes said he hopes that Santiago makes her decision on October 5, Comelec’s deadline of filing of certificate of candidacies. At the latest, Brillantes said the senator should decide “on or before January” 2013.

If Santiago resigns, the 13th senator will only serve her unfinished 3-year term.

The same thing happened in 2001, after the ouster of former President Erap Estrada, when Sen Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan served the unfulfilled term of Teofisto Guingona Jr. Guingona was appointed vice president by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who replaced Estrada as president. – Rappler.com





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