Press Release
February 14, 2019

Koko: 'justice served' in COMELEC dismissal of DQ cases

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today welcomed the Commission on Election's decision declaring him eligible to run for senator in the 2019 national elections, saying that "justice was served" when the poll body's First Division dismissed the two petitions for disqualification filed against the lawmaker.

In its 12-page ruling dated February 13, 2019, the COMELEC dismissed two petitions filed against Pimentel "for lack of merit."

The decision further clarified that "Pimentel initially lost the 12th winning senatorial seat during the 2007 elections. He then filed an election protest and was thereafter proclaimed as the 12th duly-elected Senator for the 2007 elections. It was only then that Pimentel began to discharge his duties and function of a Senator. It is clear that Pimentel has not fully served his term, thus the two-term limit does not apyet apply to him."

"We're extremely pleased with the decision, which clears the air of any supposed legal uncertainty that may have been caused by efforts to derail my candidacy," said the senator from Mindanao.

Article VI, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution prohibits senators from serving for more than two consecutive terms. It also sets the length of each term to six years.

In the 2007 national elections, Pimentel was edged out of the 12th and last Senate seat. The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) eventually ruled in Pimentel's favor in 2011, allowing him to serve one year and ten months in the Senate.

The incumbent Senator and President of PDP-Laban has consistently argued that his assumption of the unfinished term was not equivalent to and should not be treated as a full term as intended by the Constitution.

"Simply put, I cannot be considered to have served two terms because an interrupted term that is not due to the action or fault of the elected official should not to be counted as one term. The COMELEC likewise viewed it that way, and ruled correctly according to a proper interpretation of the Constitution," Pimentel stressed.

"With this issue behind us, we can now tackle the issues that really matter, those which affect the lives of over 100 million Filipinos."

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