Comelec junks disqualification cases vs. Pimentel

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FILE PHOTO. Senator Koko Pimentel III on October 11 filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 2019 elections.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday denied the disqualification cases filed against Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, making him eligible to run in the upcoming polls.

In its resolution, Comelec First Division said the senator "has not fully served his term" from 2007 to 2013, "thus, the two-term limit does not yet apply to him."


The cases were filed in 2018 by lawyers Ferdie Topacio and Glenn Chong, who both argued that the senator had exhausted the term limit in the Senate.

Under the law, a senator can only serve for 12 years or two terms, and is not allowed to seek another one.

Pimentel won in 2007, but was only proclaimed in 2011 after winning his electoral protest against Juan Miguel Zubiri. This allowed him to serve for two years. In 2013, Pimentel secured another six-year term.

In a statement, the senator welcomed Comelec's decision on the cases, which he said "served as Damocles sword over my candidacy."

"With this issue over, I can now expect the people to judge my candidacy on the basis of my qualification, achievements and plans and advocacies," he said.

Pimentel is running under the ruling party PDP-Laban and is among the 13 candidates endorsed by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's party-list Hugpong Ng Pagbabago.