2025 Philippine elections

Why EMBO residents cannot vote for a congressman in 2025 elections

James Patrick Cruz

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Why EMBO residents cannot vote for a congressman in 2025 elections

EMBO. Students in EMBO schools carry school bags courtesy of the Makati and Taguig LGUs during the opening day of classes for SY 2023-24, on August 29, 2023.

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Residents of the 10 Enlisted Men’s Barrios, transferred by the Supreme Court from Makati to Taguig, will face an empty slot for district representative in their 2025 ballots

MANILA, Philippines – Residents of the 10 Enlisted Men’s Barrios (EMBO) in Taguig City, which were formerly part of Makati, will not be able to vote for a district representative in the 2025 elections.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling that the EMBO barangays belong to Taguig, residents find themselves without a district.

“You cannot vote for the position of congressman because, as of now, the Comelec does not know in which district you belong in the two districts of Taguig,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia said on Tuesday, June 25.

The Comelec, however, clarified that EMBO voters can still vote for national positions, as well as for mayor, vice mayor, and city council candidates.

Garcia said that only Congress has the power to determine which barangays are part of a certain district. The power to create, divide, or abolish a new district lies in the Congress.

Since the laws that created the two districts of Taguig do not include any of the EMBO barangays, a new or revised law will be needed to specify these barangays as part of either district.

With a total population of 375,016, these barangays could also form a district of their own, surpassing the 250,000 population required to establish a congressional district.

The affected EMBO barangays, which were part of Makati’s second district, include Pembo, East Rembo, West Rembo, Cembo, Comembo, South Cembo, Pitogo, Post Proper Southside, Post Proper Northside, and Rizal.

This district is the bailiwick of Representative Luis Campos, the husband of Makati Mayor Abby Binay.

What will happen to Makati’s second district?

With the transfer of the 10 EMBO barangays to Taguig, the second district of Makati will be left with only three barangays: Guadalupe Nuevo, Guadalupe Viejo, and Pinagkaisahan.

Despite having fewer barangays, the residents of Makati’s second district can still vote for a district representative, Garcia said. Section 6 of the Local Government Code says a political subdivision like a district can only be abolished by Congress.

Based on the 2020 Census, Guadalupe Nuevo, Guadalupe Viejo, and Pinagkaisahan have a total population of 38,143 residents – less than the population requirement to form a congressional district.

Recently, Abby, who is on her last term as mayor, picked Campos as her successor. However, Abby’s older sister, Senator Nancy Binay, expressed her interest to run as Makati’s local chief executive.

Abby has yet to decide on her next move, but the Nationalist People’s Coalition wants her to be part of its senatorial slate. Previously, Abby also mentioned she was considering running for mayor of Taguig.

The Supreme Court decision to transfer the EMBO barangays sparked tension between Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and Abby.

During the 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, the Comelec transfered the registration of EMBO voters to Taguig City. – Rappler.com

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James Patrick Cruz

Patrick Cruz is a researcher and writer for Rappler’s governance cluster. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, he covered local governments focusing on Metro Manila.