House wants special elections to fill Teves seat

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) — The House of Representatives adopted a resolution on Tuesday that called for a special election for the third district of Negros Oriental, the seat of former Rep. Arnie Teves.

House Resolution 1212, authored by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, and House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan, declared a vacancy in the congressional district.

The House expelled Teves from the roll on Aug. 16 for his long absence beyond what was authorized by the chamber, indecent behavior in social media posts, and attempt at seeking political asylum, which is tantamount to abandoning public office.

The Constitution states that in cases of vacancy in the Senate or House of Representatives, a special election may be called. However, the person to fill the vacancy can only serve for the remainder of the term.

The resolution authors cited Republic Act 6645 which provides that an election can be held "at least one year before the next regular election for members of Congress" once the Commission on Election (Comelec) receives a certification of the vacancy.

The House also decided to send a copy of HR 1212 to the Comelec.

In a separate message to reporters on Tuesday, Comelec Chairman George Garcia said it is not feasible to include the special election in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in October.

The earliest this can be held is December 2023, he noted. However, Garcia told CNN Philippines in a separate interview that polls for the congressional district could be held in early 2024.