Press Release
June 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos was merely raising a false alarm by warning the 2007 legislative and local elections may not be held if the 2006 national budget is not passed by Congress or is vetoed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Pimentel said Abalos fear is unfounded since Congress can always pass a supplemental budget to cover the expenses for the mid-term elections.

He raised the possibility that the Comelec Chairman may be echoing an administration plan to cancel the 2007 elections if the proposed shift to a parliamentary system of government materializes.

Based on the plan, there will be an Interim Parliament to be composed, among others, of incumbent congressmen and senators whose term of office will be automatically extended upon its expiration on June 30, 2007.

Perhaps that is what they are trying to do. But the truth is, the Senate and House of Representatives can pass a supplementary budget if they will so desire, Pimentel said.

Abalos said the Comelec budget for 2006 includes funds needed by the poll body to prepared for the 2007 elections.

Pimentel said that Congress may consider the passage of a supplemental budget to allocate funds not only for election purposes but also for urgent programs and projects like additional classrooms and teachers under the Department of Education and rehabilitation of youthful offenders that the Department of Social Welfare Development and is mandated to undertake under the newly-enacted Juvenile Justice Law.

According to Pimentel, it is certain that the 2007 election for members of the Senate and House of Representatives will be held as scheduled since the administration-sponsored Charter Change, aimed at establishing a unicameral parliamentary system, is very unlikely to prosper.

In fact, he said both the opposition and administration camps are now gearing up for the forthcoming congressional and local elections and drawing up their lists of possible candidates.

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