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SC asked to order Comelec to strictly implement term limit of elected officials

A GROUP of lawyers and registered voters asked the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strictly implement the term limit for members of Congress and local officials. In a petition for mandamus, the petitioners cited that Sections 4 and 7, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution only allows senators and members of the House of Representatives to serve for not more than two and three consecutive terms, respectively. However, they claimed that there have been instances where candidates should have been barred from running for the same position after serving the prescribed term limit and resorting to “hiatus” or “hibernation,” which is not specified in the Constitution. “The plain text of those provisions never mention at all that a senator or a member of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, may be elected for a third term after ‘two consecutive terms’ or for a fourth term after ‘three consecutive terms,’ on the contingency of ‘hibernation’ in between,” the petition read. “The constitutional text of sections 4 and 7 is determinate that reflects the absoluteness of the ban and its being non-contingent on chronological happenstance, such as by ‘hibernating, or taking a respite in between,” it added. The petitioners are lawyers Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao, Mary Wendy A. Duran, Manolito Coronado, Socorro Maricel Namia Nepomuceno, and Cesar Evangelista and Yen Makabenta Antonio Santos and Jef Nalus Aquino. They also asked that their plea be made effective by the May 2022 elections. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

Estrada plunder trial moved to Aug 5


THE SANDIGANBAYAN Fifth Division has reset the trial date of former senator Jose “Jinggoy” E. Estrada to August 5 in connection with his plunder case on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. The anti-graft court deferred the trial scheduled on July 8 after Mr. Estrada’s camp filed a supplemental motion on his motion for reconsideration, which was dismissed. The Sandiganbayan has also granted the prosecution’s request to file a supplemental comment on Mr. Estrada’s motion. “…Five days to file a supplemental comment on the motion filed by the accused Estrada,” said Presiding Judge Associate Justice Maria Theresa V. Mendoza-Arcega. The court’s Fifth Division, in a resolution dated June 13, denied Mr. Estrada’s demurrer to evidence, citing that the prosecution has presented enough to prove his alleged role in transferring the PDAF funds to non-existent non-government organizations managed by Janet Lim-Napoles. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras