THE government’s legislative and judiciary branches clashed as the electoral case of former Bogo mayor Celestino Martinez and incumbent Cebu 4th District Representative Benhur Salimbangon still goes unresolved.
The Solicitor-General on Tuesday filed a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court (SC) regarding its decision declaring Martinez as the true winner of the 2007 congressional race in Cebu’s fourth district, said Cebu 2nd district Representative Pablo Garcia.
“Our communication from the solicitor-general said that there ought to be no oath-taking because as far the HRET is concerned in that office, Representative Salimbangon has won,” added Garcia.
This came after Makati City Representative Teddy Boy Locsin made a manifestation on the floor, saying that he hoped Martinez could take his oath Tuesday evening or Wednesday.
“I note that we shall have a grace to concede the winner when the winner has been declared... Other people will suspect that we don't want to give him what remains of the pork barrel,” said Locsin.
He added that Martinez's family has been waiting for three days for him to be sworn in.
Garcia meanwhile said the SC decision is still subject to the consideration of the HRET, which is the tribunal authority in election disputes.
Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (1991) states that “the Tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives.”
“The decision of the Supreme Court after the inquiry of judgment will have to be referred to the court of origin and it is the HRET that will inform the house pursuant to its rules about the final decision,” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, House rules state that any member of the Congress must take oath before the Speaker in an open session.
Martinez took an oath before the Speaker last Wednesday night but has not done so before the plenary. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)