CEBU CITY -- Representative Benhur Salimbangon still sat as Cebu’s fourth district representative on the first day of the resumption of House session Monday.

Cebu 4th district Representative Benhur Salimbangon sat on his usual seat during the resumption of session. (Angela Casauay)

This, despite the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision hailing former mayor Celestino “Tining” Martinez III as the rightful winner of the congressional race in Cebu’s fourth district.

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But on Monday, Salimbangon’s name remained in the roll call.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles said he has not received the order from the High Court.

“I just read the news in the papers,” he told Sun.Star.

The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal said the House is set to release an opinion on the case and no further hearings will be conducted.

Nograles confirmed that Martinez went to House of Representatives on Monday and even met with him. But the former Bogo mayor was not seen inside the Plenary Hall.

“Yes, we met with the family of all former congressmen and incumbent Liberal Party congressmen in my office this afternoon,” he said.

Salimbangon, in an interview, said Martinez was “probably” in the House but they did not cross each other’s paths.

Salimbangon said Martinez was not allowed to enter the Plenary Hall because he “remains to be a private citizen and not a member of the House.”

Salimbangon’s lawyer Delon Richel Ramon Urot said he saw Martinez in a cafe of the South Lounge but he was not inside the Session Hall.

Sun.Star tried but failed to get Martinez’s reaction.

Salimbangon, who sat in his usual seat in the Plenary Hall, is optimistic that the SC will grant his motion for reconsideration.

The information that Salimbangon was referring to pertains to the number of stray ballots, which is one of the points being questioned in their motion.

“In the protest, it was only 350 stray ballots. Now, it became 5,400 and even if it wasn’t 5,400, if they did not tamper with the election returns and they did not replace the ballots and tamper with the ballots, my margin would have been enough with the 5,400,” he said.

Salimbangon’s lawyers Urot and Sixto Brillantes Jr. filed a letter addressed to Nograles, imploring that Salimbangon’s status as Cebu representative be kept as it is.

According to the letter, the motion moved that the directive to immediately implement the decision be suspended, thereby the resolution on “immediately executory” order is also pending.

They said they have filed a motion for reconsideration and the Supreme Court (SC) decision, declaring Martinez as a congressman is not yet final. They have also attached a copy of the motion for reconsideration.

They pointed out that the SC decision failed to consider Salimbangon’s 60-page comment he filed on December 28, 2009.

The order declaring Martinez as the winner of the May 14, 2007 congressional race in the fourth district of Cebu was promulgated last January 12.

Salimbangon said he was also supposed to deliver a privilege speech, which would have focused on the SC decision and his move to file a motion for reconsideration, but did not push through with it because it was not included in the calendar of business.

He will likely deliver it Tuesday, the second day of the session, Salimbangon said.

Whether Salimbangon could keep his seat while appealing the SC decision now depends on Nograles.

Salimbangon earlier said Nograles has discretion whether to implement the order naming Martinez as the new representative.

Nograles and Salimbangon are allies. They both belong to the administration party, Lakas-Kampi-CMD. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex/With RSA of Sun.Star Cebu)